ILTA Sends Letter to OSHA Detailing Moves to Protect Workers During COVID-19 Pandemic
Outlines Plans to Comply with OSHA Guidance
May 6, 2020
Lee Anne Jillings, Acting Director
Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management
Patrick J. Kapust, Acting Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs
U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20210
TRANSMITTED VIA EMAIL
Dear Acting Director Jillings and Acting Director Kapust:
Founded in 1974, the International Liquid Terminals Association represents more than 85 companies operating liquid terminals in all 50 states and in over 40 countries. Our members’ facilities provide critical links between all modes of transportation for liquid commodities, such as crude oil, petroleum products, chemicals, renewable fuels, fertilizer, vegetable oils and other food-grade materials that are central to the U.S. economy. Terminals provide essential logistics services that spur trade both within the United States and connect the U.S. economy with overseas markets. ILTA’s membership also includes about 400 companies that supply equipment and services to the terminal industry.
Terminals are part of the energy supply chain, providing needed logistics and storage for the transfer of bulk liquids from one mode of transportation to another, including the loading of tanker trucks to make “last mile” deliveries to retail fuel facilities. Terminal workers have been identified as critical infrastructure essential workers by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
We very much appreciate OSHA’s April 10 enforcement guidance about recording cases of COVID-19 and your recognition that employers other than those involved in health care, emergency services and corrections will have difficulty determining workplace exposure to and infections of COVID-19. Community exposure to the virus is so pervasive that it would be nearly impossible to determine if a person was exposed on the job or elsewhere, unless employees were sequestered from all extra-workforce interactions.
Members of ILTA plan to follow CDC guidelines as closely as possible depending on each individual activity to mitigate the potential for exposure of their employees to COVID-19.
The measures employed will be based on the potential for exposure at each facility and for each employee. Due to the current severe limits on the availability of effective PPE it may be nearly impossible to provide effective PPE to essential terminal employees.
ILTA’s members will send home for self-quarantine or refer to appropriate health care professionals, employees displaying any symptoms consistent with or a having received a positive test for COVID-19. There are several criteria being used by our members to determine when it is safe to return to work. Those include a 72-hour waiting period following the cessation of active symptoms (e.g., temperature of 100 degrees or more, difficulty breathing and cough), upon the certification of a medical doctor, physician assistant, nurse practitioner or similarly trained health care professional, or following cessation of symptoms and receiving a negative COVID-19 testing result, following a testing protocol approved and conducted by a qualified health care professional. A person testing positive for COVID-19 without any active symptoms may return to work after 7 days following the first positive test and must observe 6 ft physical distancing and wear a face mask for a minimum of 3 days.
Employees having close contact consistent with CDC guidelines with a co-worker, family member or anyone else who exhibits active symptoms of or who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. Employees are also required to report to their immediate supervisor close contact with family members demonstrating symptoms or having tested positive for COVID-19.
ILTA members will only record cases of COVID-19 as on-the-job illnesses that can be definitively linked to workplace exposure to the virus. Our position is that adherence to the CDC’s mitigation procedures outlined above will assure to the greatest extent practicable that on-the-job exposures are limited. Members may take additional measures that will enable them to confirm or rule out workplace exposure.
We believe what we have outlined above is in alignment with your April 10 enforcement guidance. Our members remain committed to protecting their workforce and need the certainty provided by the guidance that if they take all reasonable actions they will be protected from assertions of failure to properly record workplace illnesses or maintain safe workplaces.
Vice President Regulatory Affairs