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The Effects of COVID-19 on Certified Workplace Safety Committees

By April 8, 2020 August 7th, 2020 Tidbits & Tricks

Organizations in Pennsylvania with a Certified Workplace Safety Committee typically practice safe habits, have increased productivity, and experience reduced lost time due to injuries. They also reap the benefits of a 5% discount on their Workers’ Compensation insurance premium.

If your organization has an active Certified Workplace Safety Committee, you may be concerned about the effects that social distancing and COVID-19 have on state mandated committee requirements.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry has posted the following information which may address questions regarding these mandates:

COVID-19 Safety Committee FAQs

Can our safety committee miss monthly meetings during the COVID-19 crisis?
The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation commends all employers for making the safety of their employees a priority – especially when dealing with COVID-19. The Bureau recognizes what an asset a safety committee can be during a crisis. However, we will not view the lack of in-person safety committee meetings as an issue of non-compliance. When evaluating compliance with the regulations, the safety committee process is evaluated for a three-year period. The inability to hold meetings during this defined crisis period will not impact that evaluation. In addition, we do not intend to require employers focused on getting operational again to double-up on safety committee meetings.

What happens if all committee members do not receive their annual training?
Annual training can be conducted anytime during the safety committee’s policy period. Training is not required to be the last step prior to submitting a renewal application. As a result of the COVID-19 crisis we understand that many safety committees will be unable to meet to receive the training. Health and Safety will continue offering the certification at least once a week throughout the COVID-19 situation. Committee members can register for certification training by going to the PATHS training calendar at www.dli.pa.gov/PATHS. Once registered, you can log in from home as long as you have a cell phone, tablet or computer with internet access. In instances where all committee members are not trained we will not view the lack of training as an issue of noncompliance.

Will there be any extensions to the certification deadline to get our initial or renewal application submitted?
We encourage everyone to attempt to submit their applications via HandS within the regulated timeframe of 90-30 days prior to the policy renewal for initial applications and 90-15 days prior to the policy renewal for renewal applications. We understand that the evolving COVID-19 situation is affecting everyone’s ability to maintain normal operations; for this reason we will allow for late submissions of safety committees that have deadlines that fall during the defined crisis period. Once your company resumes daily operations contact BWC, Health & Safety at RA-LI-BWC-Safety@pa.gov.

Additional information regarding PA Workers’ Compensation Services can be found HERE

As always, it is best to consult with your Seltzer agent regarding changes to your policy or questions regarding your current coverages. At the Seltzer Group, we are here to answer any questions you may have about initiating and managing a workplace safety committee. We are also here to answer questions about all the credits and discounts available on your Workers’ Compensation policy. Our team can be reached at 888-366-1000.