OSHA Posters & Info: COVID-19 guidance for the workplace

For employers, particularly those providing essential services, the United States Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has issued a new poster listing steps all workplaces can take to reduce the risk of exposure to coronavirus.

The poster highlights 10 infection prevention measures every employer can implement to protect workers’ safety and health during the coronavirus pandemic. Safety measures include encouraging sick workers to stay home; establishing flexible worksites and staggered work shifts; discouraging workers from using other workers’ phones, desks and other work equipment; and using Environmental Protection Agency-approved cleaning chemicals with label claims against the coronavirus.

Copies of this and other new OSHA documents can be found on the OSHA website.

Travel authorization letter template

In most states or locales where non-essential businesses have been told to close, or in the case of curfews, employees of essential businesses may be asked to show evidence of their employment within those essential businesses when traveling to and from work.

TAM has created a template for a COVID-19 Essential Employee Authorization Letter to assist. If your employees or drivers do not have such a letter they should. If you feel you need to update or formalize what you are already utilizing, click here to download the template (.DOCX format).

Massachusetts RMV COVID-19 webinar playback available

Last week TAM was fortunate to have officials from the Massachusetts RMV present a webinar on issues impacting your commercial activities. They also made themselves available to answer questions. Lots of good information was provided, and the RMV has made the video and audio of the call available if you were unable to attend or would like to review.

A simple registration process is required to view and listen to the call. Keep in mind the information was current as of April 1, and information has been changing daily.

The content of the webinar starts approximately 4 minutes into the presentation.

While the RMV did their best to provide answers to live questions, the information provided is not “official policy” and the RMV is reviewing all the responses to ensure accuracy. If you have questions, contact us and we can forward your question to the RMV.

Instructional Video: What drivers need to know about COVID-19

Professional drivers are on the front lines of this global COVID-19 pandemic, providing critical supplies to the nation.

ITI’s new course COVID 19: What Drivers Need To Know helps drivers understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, how it could affect their work and safety, and steps to keep themselves and others safe.

The Trucking Association of Massachusetts wishes to thank Instructional Technologies for allowing us to share this important video.

The course contains the most up-to-date information from the CDC on the symptoms of COVID-19, preventing spread of the virus and what to do if you get sick. It also deals with driver-specific concerns, including…

  • High Touch Areas
  • Regulatory Changes
  • Rest and Roadside Services
  • Distracted Driving
  • Lifestyle Changes
  • Reliable Sources

The full course video is included below.

How to qualify for COVID-19 CARES Act loan and grant options

There are many ways that companies will be able to tap into federal assistance through the CARES Act. It is important to note that all sectors are urging federal agencies to expedite their regulations to ensure impacted businesses can access loans immediately and processes will evolve. More detailed application guidelines are set to come up by the end of the week.

Assuming that that happens we will schedule a call next week to review the process and answer any questions you may have. We will continue to seek more specific information and provide it as it becomes available.

In general note…

  1. There are several different SBA loan programs that appear will be available. One key program is called the “Paycheck Protection Program” and was put in place by the CARES Act.
  2. The loans will be issued by banks as part of the existing SBA 7(a) loan program, so applications will be done through a bank.
  3. Some medium-sized businesses that are normally not eligible for SBA loans may be eligible for these PPP loans. The CARES Act makes them available to all businesses with 500 or less employees eligible, even if they aren’t eligible for normal SBA loan programs.
  4. The PPP loans will have have forgiveness built in , specifically the amount spent on operating expenses during an 8-week period after the loan is received. Payroll, rent, utilities, mortgage interest are all part of the formula.

Massachusetts RMV to host COVID-19 webinar April 1

The RMV is hosting a webinar for TAM Wednesday, April 1 (tomorrow) at 1:30 p.m. ET. They will provide a brief update regarding the evolving situation with COVID-19 and what changes are being made at the RMV to support our interests.

The majority of the session will be dedicated to questions and answers. I encourage you all to ask any questions you may have. Colleen Ogilvie, Deputy Registrar of Operations, will host the call, and several members from the RMV commercial business unit will be on hand to answer questions.

You will receive a direct email from “RMVAtlasSupport” with a link to register for the webinar, you can also register now online.

After you register, you will receive a confirmation email, and prior to the webinar you will receive log-in information via email.

TAM launches United Way campaign

The positive responses, posts, likes and words of encouragement provided by literally thousands of you (and growing daily) on our behalf has been overwhelming. The Trucking Association of Massachusetts (TAM) and Truckers all across Massachusetts, the country and the world are actively working 24/7 to deliver much needed food, medical supplies, life saving medicine and the necessities of life to millions of people daily. I could not be more proud to work in an industry that takes pride in doing what needs to be done. The sense of pride that runs deep in all truckers hearts is never more pronounced than in a time like this, a time like we have never seen before. Taking a quote from one of our members “THIS IS OUR TIME” and we will not let you down.

Please consider giving what you can. We appreciate the words of encouragement and please keep them coming but also consider making a donation of much more than words. Your donation will go directly to the United Way to help needy families across Massachusetts during these trying times. The Truckers Association of Massachusetts is a non-profit organization that has been proudly representing the Trucking industry for over 100 years.

Support our efforts by supporting our cause.

CDC self-quarantine guidance for greater NYC transportation & delivery workers

On March 26, the CDC clarified their guidance concerning transportation and delivery workers who had traveled through, or work in the area.

When we issued the self-quarantining guidance for greater New York City residents leaving this area, it was out of an abundance of caution to help protect U.S. areas with lower levels of COVID-19 spread. In line with our recommendations for other essential critical infrastructure workers, this guidance does not apply to critical transportation and delivery workers who are desperately needed for New York residents to continue their daily lives and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Truck drivers and other people driving into the city to deliver needed supplies should stay in their vehicles as much as possible as supplies are loaded and unloaded, avoid being within 6 feet of others as much as possible when they exit their vehicles, and move to electronic receipts if possible. If these drivers need to spend the night in the greater New York City area, they should stay in their hotel rooms or sleeper cab, when available, to the extent possible and continue to practice social distancing. Drivers who take these precautions should not need to self-quarantine when they leave the greater New York area, unless self-quarantine is recommended by state or local officials for all residents in the areas where they live.

Truck drivers and other workers who obtain or deliver needed supplies who live in the greater New York area may continue to work both within and outside of the greater New York area but should stay at home and practice social distancing according to instructions of state and local officials when they are not working. While they are working either within or outside of the greater New York area, they should stay in their vehicles as much as possible, avoid being within 6 feet of others as much as possible when they exit their vehicles, and move to electronic receipts if possible.

See the complete statement from CDC online.

RMV enforcing no walk-in policy

While the RMV has instituted a no walk-in policy please keep in mind the following regarding commercial and CDL activities:

  • Commercial (CDL/CLP) Transactions and B2B/IRP Services the Milford and Wilmington RMV Service Centers will remain open to exclusively perform walk-in commercial transactions for CDLs and permits (CLPs), and CDL road tests continue to be administered. Drop-off only services for B2B and IRP transactions will continue to be accepted at the Milford, Springfield, and Wilmington Service Centers.
  • 60-Day Extension of Commercial and Non-Commercial Credentials All Class D, Class M, and Class DM driver’s licenses, ID cards, Learners’ Permits, and commercial driver’s licenses and permits (CDLs/CLPs) with an expiration date between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020, have had a 60-day extension applied to their credential, with the exception of customers whose end of stay in the United States is the same as the expiration date on their driver’s license, ID card, or Learner’s Permit. Customers eligible for these extensions should wait to visit an RMV Service Center to renew after the State of Emergency has concluded. CDL Medical Certificates (Med Certs) expiring after March 1 will also have a 60-day extension applied to prevent license downgrades and elective medical visits, as well as alleviate demand on medical providers, during the State of Emergency.

Survey: Research to quantify trucking impacts from COVID-19

The following message and survey request is from the American Transportation Research Institute. They are encouraging TAM members and all commercial drivers to complete the survey.

Industry Survey Seeks Operating Impacts from Drivers, Fleets

Minneapolis, MN – The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) and the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association Foundation (OOIDA Foundation) are conducting a joint research study to understand the numerous impacts that the Coronavirus pandemic is having on trucking operations. The research focuses heavily on a survey that solicits critical input from truck drivers and motor carrier staff who are encountering Covid-19 impacts such as limited shipper access, changing distribution patterns and traffic-related issues.

“This survey will help us confirm what we know anecdotally,” said Tom Weakley, Director of the OOIDA Foundation, “that the trucking industry is leading the charge in responding to food and medicine shortages among other critical supplies. We need everyone’s input on this effort.”

Anyone involved in trucking operations is urged to respond.

“Our goal is to complete the data analysis as quickly as possible, as it can provide important guidance to public and private decision-makers. The Covid-19 pandemic is a moving target, and we can’t afford to design policies and supply chains around guesswork,” said Dan Murray, Senior Vice President at ATRI.