Brothers and Sisters: As we navigate our way through this difficult time, we are committed to being a steady, guiding hand in this emergency, including continuing to uncover information to share with all of you. As the situation evolves, we will adapt to continue to provide information by posting it here. Also stay informed via the Florida Department of Health and the UBC COVID-19 Information Center. - Yours in Solidarity, EST James Banks
Q. Does wearing a medical/surgical mask or cloth face covering cause unsafe oxygen levels or harmful carbon dioxide levels to the wearer?
A. No. Medical masks, including surgical masks, are routinely worn by healthcare workers throughout the day as part of their personal protective equipment ensembles and do not compromise their oxygen levels or cause carbon dioxide buildup. They are designed to be breathed through and can protect against respiratory droplets, which are typically much larger than tiny carbon dioxide particles. Consequently, most carbon dioxide particles will either go through the mask or escape along the mask's loose-fitting perimeter. Some carbon dioxide might collect between the mask and the wearer's face, but not at unsafe levels. Like medical masks, cloth face coverings are loose-fitting with no seal and are designed to be breathed through. Workers may easily remove their medical masks or cloth face coverings periodically (and when not in close proximity with others) to eliminate any negligible buildup of carbon dioxide that might occur. Cloth face coverings and medical masks can help prevent the spread of potentially infectious respiratory droplets from the wearer to their co-workers, including when the wearer has COVID-19 and does not know it.
Facts about masks: OSHA generally recommends that employers encourage workers to wear medical masks or cloth face coverings at work to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. OSHA recently issued frequently asked questions (FAQ) guidance to address inaccurate claims that these masks and face coverings cause unsafe oxygen or harmful carbon dioxide levels for the wearer. Get the facts here.
Face mask maintenance: Face masks are a part of everyone’s life right now, including construction job sites. If you wear a reusable cloth face covering, it’s important to keep it clean. Per OSHA, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides guidance on washing face coverings: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wash-cloth-face-coverings.html. OSHA also suggests following those recommendations, and always washing or discarding cloth face coverings that are visibly soiled. Read more tips and information about cloth face coverings here: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/covid-19-faq.html#cloth-face-coverings and here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html. OSHA released a new video and poster (shown on the right) that shows how to properly wear and remove a respirator. The video and poster are also available in Spanish.
How to stay healthy on the job: As more of our members get back on the job, we know safety measures like keeping 6 feet apart are challenging. But it is important to practice social distancing and protect yourself in other ways like:
Eligible UBC members can now use the UBC International Training Fund's Learning Management System to take two online courses: ICRA: Best Practices in Health-Care Construction and COVID-19 Preparedness Qualification. UBC members who are trained in ICRA provide much needed expertise in this crisis to ensure that proper protocol is followed and proper containment measures are being taken. In the COVID-19 course, members learn how to protect themselves, their fellow workers, and stop the spread of COVID-19. Upon completion of either course and test, a member’s Training Verification Card (TVC) will list that training. Check out the information and registration details for these courses, here: https://www.carpenters.org/resource-hub/for-our-members. You'll need a computer or tablet to take the course. Contact your Local Union's Council Representative and he or she will help you get started. Find your Representative by clicking here: http://www.flcrc.org/Locals.xml. Registration Tips:
Suicide Prevention: Help is just a phone call or text away. Don't wait. Your life is worth it: http://www.flcrc.org/Module/News/NewsDetail/Suicide_Prevention:_Help_is_one_call_or_text_away?id=127
Track COVID-19 in your own county: The Harvard Global Health Institute released a new tool that allows you to see a COVID-19 risk rating of green, yellow, orange, or red for the county where you live. Check it out: https://globalepidemics.org/key-metrics-for-covid-suppression/.
10 Common myths about COVID-19: https://www.infectiousdiseaseadvisor.com/home/topics/prevention/10-myths-about-covid-19/
How to Keep Your Kids Busy While at Home: Here’s a good list of free activities for kids while at home because of school closures: https://kidsactivitiesblog.com/135609/list-of-education-companies-offering-free-subscriptions/
How to effectively use hand sanitizer: Never substitute washing your hands for hand sanitizer, as hand washing is more effective than hand sanitizer. But this doesn’t mean hand sanitizer isn’t useful. There are plenty of times when a sink and soap aren’t available, which makes hand sanitizer the next best option. It’s important to know how to use it effectively. Rather than squirting it in your hand and quickly rubbing your hands together, you need to take time to properly use hand sanitizer. To effectively use hand sanitizer: Make sure all dirt and grime are removed first; Apply a dab of hand sanitizer to the palm of your hand, about the size of a dime; Rub all areas of both hands for at least 30 seconds, or until the hand sanitizer is dry, so your skin can effectively absorb all of the hand sanitizer. This includes rubbing your palms, fingers, nails, and the backs of your hands; Wait for your hands to dry before touching anything else.
What if I or my family members have symptoms?
What are common symptoms of the Coronavirus (COVID-19)? COVID-19, also called “Coronavirus,” is a flu-like illness. The most common symptoms are fever, fatigue, cough, and shortness of breath.
How Do I stay healthy? Slowing the spread of this virus is the best strategy to keep our members and their families healthy. Please follow these guidelines:
I’m freaking out. What should I do?
Is there any good news to focus on?