White House Identifies Plumbers as ‘Essential Critical
Infrastructure Workers’ in Guidance for Response to COVID-19
Washington, D.C. (March 19, 2020) — The President and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have issued a Coronavirus Guidance for America identifying plumbers and other tradespeople as “essential critical infrastructure workers” as our nation responds to the threat of COVID-19.
In a DHS memorandum issued by Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) Director Christopher C. Krebs, CISA announced development of an initial list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers “to help state and local officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security.”
The list identifies those professions deemed essential to continued critical infrastructure viability and advises such workers to continue normal operations, appropriately modified to account for Centers for Disease Control (CDC) workforce and customer protection guidance.
“Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences,” are specifically recognized on the list, which may be viewed here.
IAPMO recently published a guidance for plumbing professionals working under the threat of COVID-19 authored by Peter DeMarco, Executive Vice President of Advocacy and Research for The IAPMO Group. That white paper may be viewed here.
“Our industry has known for many decades that its contribution to society is essential to global health,” said IAPMO CEO GP Russ Chaney. “This new guidance, to state
and local officials from the White House, validates that our industry is vital to the United States. Our highly skilled plumbers have been deemed essential to the nation’s ability to function and
recognized as people on whom we can all depend in normal times or a global crisis.”
For more information on IAPMO and its proactive initiatives in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, direct your web browser to www.iapmo.org.
COVID-19 Workplace Guidance
PHCC National Association has received numerous inquiries related to the current health crisis in America. While no one knows every detail related to this novel virus, the following are some suggested actions a contractor could use in their business. If in doubt, the local health authority would be a good resource to verify a business’s procedures.
In the event of a general lockdown of the citizens of the United States, plumbing and HVAC professionals may be considered essential services. If a business is in an area that has mandated the population to stay home, it would be best to contact the local health authority to ascertain a ruling on the workers status of being essential.
Keep informed of accurate health information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and OSHA.
When a business receives a call to a client facility, some screening questions could be asked:
• Is anyone in self-quarantine at the building?
• Has anyone in the building come back from international travel recently?
• Has anyone in the building had direct exposure to COVID-19?
• Are there any active cases of COVID-19 in the building?
Maintain a healthy workplace:
• Engage in social distancing
• Require self-quarantine for those with some risk exposure
• Require sick workers to stay home
• Maintain a clean environment, clean and disinfect surfaces
• Require use of appropriate PPE
• Create a plan of action and communicate to employees
Wash hands frequently with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds, hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60% alcohol is an acceptable alternative.
Wash hands immediately after removing gloves.
Avoid touching facial areas with unwashed hands.
Keep informed of accurate health information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
When on a jobsite, clean and disinfect surfaces to be worked on, use PPE that is justified for the risk exposure. Cleaning and disinfecting information is available from the CDC Website.
Understand the risk category of the work and use appropriate PPE as found starting on page 14 of OSHA’s Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.
Follow all directives of Federal, state, or local authorities.
Remember, this is a rapidly evolving situation, practices could change over the course of the next several weeks. Stay informed, be vigilant, and most of all, stay safe.
Federated Insurance Response to Coronavirus
As a valued client, we want to personally share how Federated Insurance is proactively taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID‐19, or coronavirus. We are a company committed to risk management and enhancing client success, and our highest priority is supporting the health and safety of you, our employees, and our communities. Please know that the entire Federated team stands beside you and all of the 38,000+ businesses we have the privilege to serve during these uncertain times.
Our Risk Management Culture
Here at Federated, we are modeling and implementing the following precautionary measures:
We have enhanced hygiene and cleaning protocols in our offices
We have limited visitors to our offices, as well as outside meetings
We have enacted social distancing practices in all of our offices
We have restricted non‐essential business travel and are limiting in‐person meetings
We are enacting special employee paid‐leave policies to help ensure continuity of pay in the event of illness or uncontrollable work absences
We are deploying technology solutions to help ensure communication and operations are maintained
As always, our marketing representatives are available to serve your needs
Federated has had a pandemic response plan in place for several years and our established Business Continuity Team is working diligently to help ensure you receive the same high quality customer experience you have come to expect as the coronavirus pandemic unfolds. We are committed to supporting your business during this event and providing continuity of service. However, as is true for every business, we may need to adjust communication methods in the days ahead. Conversations that traditionally take place in person may need to be handled via a phone call or email. Please know that this is strictly for your safety and the safety of our employees at this time, as Federated remains committed to face‐to‐face relationships of trust with policyholders.
Pandemic‐Related Losses and Insurance Coverage
We recognize this is an unsettling time for our clients and understand that you may have insurance questions related to the coronavirus. For questions regarding coverage, first look to your insurance policies. If you believe you have sustained a compensable loss, please report the claim to Federated via our website.
We regret that we cannot respond to hypothetical inquiries. Whether your policies apply to a given situation depends on many factors, including the relevant facts, the applicable laws, and the specific wording of the policies issued to you. Federated will investigate all claims in accordance with the facts of each case, and the policy language. As always, it is our goal to continue to provide prompt, fair, and equitable claims resolution and service. Coverage depends on the type of policies you purchased and your individual circumstances.
As a valued policyholder, our Risk Management Resource Center is available to take your calls. Since the initial outbreak of the coronavirus, they have been assisting business owners throughout the country with questions about written pandemic policies and procedures, recommended response plans, communications to employees, as well as specific wage and hour questions. Call today to visit with one of our expert risk consultant professionals in the Risk Management Resource Center at 1‐888‐FED‐4949 and ask for a risk consultant between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. CST.
If you are seeking current updates pertaining to coronavirus, assembled below for your convenience are relevant topic links to trusted authorities like the CDC, OSHA, FEMA, and the Department of Labor:
CDC ‐ Coronavirus ‐ Interim Guidance for Business and Employers
OSHA ‐ How to Maintain Operations During a Pandemic
CDC ‐ Business Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist
FEMA ‐ Pandemic Influenza Continuity of Operations
US Department of Labor ‐ Coronavirus Resources
We will continue to monitor the coronavirus situation closely and plan to follow guidance of local, state, and national health authorities. We wish you, your employees, and their families the best as, together, our nation rises to this new challenge.
Chairman and CEO
At Federated Insurance, It’s Our Business to Protect Yours.®
Published Date:March 24, 2020