Legislature(2019 - 2020)Anch LIO Lg Conf Rm

07/08/2020 09:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
09:00:48 AM Start
09:00:56 AM Presentation(s): Worker Safety During the Covid-19 Pandemic
11:09:06 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Joint with House Health & Services Committee
+ Presentation: Worker Safety During the Covid-19 TELECONFERENCED
Pandemic
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
                         JOINT MEETING                                                                                        
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
      HOUSE HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                     
                       Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                        
                          July 8, 2020                                                                                          
                           9:00 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Zack Fields, Co-Chair                                                                                           
Representative    Jonathan    Kreiss-Tomkins,   Co-Chair    (via                                                                
 teleconference)                                                                                                                
 Representative Andi Story (via teleconference)                                                                                 
 Representative Steve Thompson (via teleconference)                                                                             
 Representative Sarah Vance (via teleconference)                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Tiffany Zulkosky, Chair (via teleconference)                                                                    
 Representative Ivy Spohnholz, Vice Chair                                                                                       
 Representative Harriet Drummond (via teleconference)                                                                           
 Representative Geran Tarr (via teleconference)                                                                                 
 Representative Sharon Jackson (via teleconference)                                                                             
 Representative Lance Pruitt (via teleconference)                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Grier Hopkins                                                                                                   
 Representative Laddie Shaw                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Matt Claman                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kelly Merrick (via teleconference)                                                                               
Representative Mike Prax (via teleconference)                                                                                   
Representative Chris Tuck (via teleconference)                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION(S):  WORKER SAFETY DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DEBORAH KELLY, Statewide Director                                                                                               
IBEW NECA Apprenticeship Program                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the presentation on worker                                                              
safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
RASHAAN PERRY                                                                                                                   
Unite Here Local 878                                                                                                            
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the presentation on worker                                                              
safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
JOE KNOWLES, Director                                                                                                           
Labor Standards and Safety Division                                                                                             
Department of Labor and Workforce Development                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ELAINE BANDA, Chief of Consultation and Training                                                                                
Alaska Occupational Safety and Health                                                                                           
Labor Standards and Safety Division                                                                                             
Department of Labor and Workforce Development                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the presentation on worker                                                              
safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BRANDON FIELD, Senior Enforcement Officer                                                                                       
Alaska Occupational Safety and Health                                                                                           
Labor Standards and Safety Division                                                                                             
Department of Labor and Workforce Development                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the presentation on worker                                                              
safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REBECCA HIMSCHOOT, Elementary Science Specialist                                                                                
Sitka, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during  the presentation on worker                                                             
safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MARK CATLIN, Industrial Hygienist                                                                                               
MDC Consulting and Training                                                                                                     
Columbia, Maryland                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during  the presentation on worker                                                             
safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
KELLY TSHIBAKA, Commissioner                                                                                                    
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during  the presentation on worker                                                             
safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
KATE SHEEHAN, Director                                                                                                          
Division of Personnel and Labor Relations                                                                                       
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during  the presentation on worker                                                             
safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
TERRI GERSTEIN, Director                                                                                                        
State and Local Enforcement Project                                                                                             
Labor and Worklife Program                                                                                                      
Harvard University                                                                                                              
Brooklyn, New York                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during  the presentation on worker                                                             
safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
JOELLE HALL, Director of Operations                                                                                             
American  Federation   of  Labor   and  Congress   of  Industrial                                                               
Organizations                                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during  the presentation on worker                                                             
safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:00:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR ZACH FIELDS called the  joint meeting of the House State                                                             
Affairs  Standing  Committee  and  the House  Health  and  Social                                                               
Services   Standing    Committee   to   order   at    9:00   a.m.                                                               
Representatives   Thompson  (via   teleconference),  Vance   (via                                                               
teleconference),  Kreiss-Tomkins  (via teleconference),  Drummond                                                               
(via  teleconference), Tarr  (via teleconference),  Zulkosky (via                                                               
teleconference), and  Fields were present  at the call  to order.                                                               
Representatives   Jackson  (via   teleconference),  Pruitt   (via                                                               
teleconference),  Story   (via  teleconference),   and  Spohnholz                                                               
arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
^PRESENTATION(S):  Worker Safety During the COVID-19 Pandemic                                                                   
  PRESENTATION(S):  Worker Safety During the COVID-19 Pandemic                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:00:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS announced  that the only order  of business would                                                               
be a presentation on worker safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:02:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEBORAH  KELLY,  Statewide  Director,  IBEW  NECA  Apprenticeship                                                               
Program,  informed the  committee that  the federal  Occupational                                                               
Safety and Health Administration  (OSHA) allows states to develop                                                               
statewide occupational  safety and  health plans,  which involves                                                               
enforcement, as  well as developing additional  safety and health                                                               
standards as needed.   She noted that 22 states  have full plans,                                                               
including Alaska.  Alaska Occupational  Safety and Health (AKOSH)                                                               
runs the state's workplace safety  and health enforcement and can                                                               
develop unique  standards, via regulation, according  to Alaska's                                                               
specific needs.   OSHA  provides oversight  to ensure  that AKOSH                                                               
continues to  be as  effective as its  federal counterpart.   For                                                               
AKOSH, developing  a new occupational  health or  safety standard                                                               
requires progressing  through Alaska's regulatory process.   When                                                               
a new standard is established,  she said, AKOSH adopts it through                                                               
the state's  regulatory process and  must submit changes  to OSHA                                                               
within 60 days.   AKOSH is also required to  provide a comparison                                                               
to any existing federal standards,  so OSHA can determine the new                                                               
standard's  effectiveness.   She noted  that during  that review,                                                               
the new  standard is active  and enforceable in  Alaska; however,                                                               
if OSHA  identifies deficiencies, it  works with AKOSH to  find a                                                               
solution.   She said the  process might  be long, but  it doesn't                                                               
delay AKOSH from implementing new standards.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. KELLY  continued to explain  that Alaska's safety  and health                                                               
standards  are  contained  in  the  Alaska  administrative  code,                                                               
indicating that  AKOSH follows Alaska's  Administrative Procedure                                                               
Act.  She noted that for  emergency situations, the state can use                                                               
the emergency  regulation process,  which allows  new regulations                                                               
to  be implemented  quickly.   In that  case, the  public process                                                               
occurs after adoption  if the state wants to  make the regulation                                                               
permanent.    If  a  proposed   standard  would  affect  multiple                                                               
industries,  she recommended  that  AKOSH  consult with  industry                                                               
experts  to ensure  the standard's  effectiveness.   She  further                                                               
noted that  model standards  and examples  from other  states can                                                               
help in creating workable standards.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:06:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RASHAAN PERRY, Unite Here Local  878, said with tourism and local                                                               
gatherings at a  minimum, the local hospitality industry  is in a                                                               
tough  situation.   He reported  that the  hotel he  works at  is                                                               
attempting  to  keep  staff  and  patrons  safe  with  masks  and                                                               
decontamination   stations    located   within    the   property.                                                               
Additionally,  the   hotel  restaurant  initially   attempted  to                                                               
implement  social distancing.   He  emphasized the  importance of                                                               
prevention in reducing  the spread.  He explained  that the hotel                                                               
is home to  many people in quarantine; however,  some are leaving                                                               
the property and not following the  rules, which are set by their                                                               
employers,  not  the  hotel  itself.   He  advocated  for  strict                                                               
prevention  criteria and  clear, consistent  quarantine protocol.                                                               
He questioned  what action  to take when  prevention fails,  or a                                                               
positive case  is identified  during the  quarantine period.   He                                                               
opined  that   management  is   not  handling   those  situations                                                               
adequately.    Instead,  the response  is  chaotic  and  possible                                                               
exposures  are  not  investigated  properly.   He  said  patrons'                                                               
positive tests  are not reported  to workers who might  have been                                                               
exposed,  allowing  them  to unknowingly  return  home  and  risk                                                               
infecting their  families.  He recommended  sending those workers                                                               
home  to self-quarantine  until they  get tested.   He  urged the                                                               
legislature  to create  a clear  standard  for handling  positive                                                               
tests in  the workplace  and noted  that it  is often  the lowest                                                               
paid workers who  are exposed.  He maintained that  when a COVID-                                                               
19  case  is  identified,  frontline workers  need  guidance  and                                                               
clear,   consistent  workplace   standards.     He  stated   that                                                               
prevention is important, but its not enough.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:13:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS pointed  out  that AKOSH  has  the authority  to                                                               
promulgate standards for COVID-19 workplace  safety.  He asked if                                                               
the  Department of  Labor and  Workforce  Development (DLWD)  has                                                               
promulgated any  standards and if  not, what the  threshold would                                                               
be, in  terms of the number  of infections or deaths,  before the                                                               
department would issue those standards.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:13:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOE  KNOWLES,  Director,  Labor Standards  and  Safety  Division,                                                               
Department  of   Labor  and  Workforce  Development,   said  DLWD                                                               
welcomes  the opportunity  to speak  to  AKOSH's activities  thus                                                               
far.  He deferred to Elaine Banda for further explanation.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR   FIELDS   surmised   that   the   department   is   not                                                               
contemplating COVID-19 safety regulations  at this time; however,                                                               
consultation and training  is available to assist  employers.  He                                                               
asked if that's correct.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. KNOWLES confirmed that.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:15:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ELAINE  BANDA,   Chief  of  Consultation  and   Training,  Alaska                                                               
Occupational  Safety  and  Health,  Labor  Standards  and  Safety                                                               
Division, DLWD,  explained that AKOSH provides  three services to                                                               
public and private employers.   She noted that AKOSH cannot enter                                                               
an establishment without  prior invitation by an  employer.  Upon                                                               
receiving a  request for consultation,  she said, AKOSH  asks the                                                               
employer  for specific  areas  of concern.    She indicated  that                                                               
lately, 90  percent of  employers are interested  in what  can be                                                               
done to protect their employees.   Subsequently, AKOSH visits the                                                               
establishment to  assess the situation  and look for  hazards and                                                               
potential areas of  improvement, followed by a  written report of                                                               
their  findings and  recommendations.   She noted  that it's  the                                                               
employer's responsibility to implement  the recommendations.  She                                                               
reported that  currently, AKOSH has seven  safety consultants and                                                               
two  industrial hygienists  in the  field.   She  said they  have                                                               
traveled  across the  state to  assist  employers with  workplace                                                               
safety.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  asked how many  workplaces AKOSH has  visited to                                                               
perform COVID-19 related consultations.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. BANDA estimated  70-80 in the third quarter alone.   She said                                                               
there is a  conversation about COVID-19 in every  workplace.  She                                                               
noted  that   OSHA  provided   training  on   performing  virtual                                                               
consultations.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS  asked how  many  employers  currently exist  in                                                               
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. BANDA said  she does not know.  She  reiterated that AKOSH is                                                               
prohibited  from  visiting  a  site  without  an  invitation  and                                                               
request for service.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:21:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS asked  if  AKOSH has  the  authority to  require                                                               
employers  to inform  their employees  of  workplace exposure  to                                                               
coronavirus  despite  the   absence  of  promulgated  regulations                                                               
related to COVID-19.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:22:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.   KNOWLES  said   the   collaboration   of  enforcement   and                                                               
consultation  have worked  to alleviate  concerns from  employees                                                               
who  contact the  division about  activities in  their workplace.                                                               
He deferred to Brandon Field for further explanation.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:23:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRANDON  FIELD, Senior  Enforcement Officer,  Alaska Occupational                                                               
Safety and  Health (AKOSH), Labor Standards  and Safety Division,                                                               
DLWD, stated that AKOSH has  a system for conducting coronavirus-                                                               
related    inquiries   and    educating   employers    on   their                                                               
responsibilities  in  hopes  of  producing  voluntary  compliance                                                               
rather  than initiating  an  on-site inspection.    He said  many                                                               
existing  regulations  directly   affect  conditions  related  to                                                               
COVID-19,   such    as   respiratory   protection,    or   hazard                                                               
communication  for the  utilization of  chemicals for  sanitizing                                                               
the workplace.   He  referred to the  general duty  clause, which                                                               
stipulates that  employers are responsible  for providing  a safe                                                               
and healthy work  environment for their employees.   He said that                                                               
clause has been used for  situations where there's not a specific                                                               
standard.   He noted  that standards are  often generic  to allow                                                               
for effectiveness  in numerous  scenarios.   He pointed  out that                                                               
OSHA has  issued a number  of specific guidelines  for industries                                                               
identified  as  high-hazard  or  significantly  impacted  by  the                                                               
pandemic,  including establishments  like poultry  processors and                                                               
health  care facilities.    He explained  that  when assessing  a                                                               
workplace,  AKOSH contacts  the employer  to learn  the workplace                                                               
procedures and provide pertinent  information and guidelines.  He                                                               
reported that many employers feel  overwhelmed or confused by the                                                               
amount of  available information.   He  added that  employers are                                                               
often unaware  of certain requirements or  are following outdated                                                               
recommendations.       He   said   after    communicating   their                                                               
responsibilities,  employers  often  exhibit a  quick  change  in                                                               
behavior.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS  sought  to clarify  whether  the  general  duty                                                               
clause  would protect  a worker  who was  retaliated against  for                                                               
protesting an employer's  refusal to share results  of a positive                                                               
COVID-19  test,  or  for  refusing  to  show  up  to  work  in  a                                                               
manifestly unsafe work environment.   He asked Ms. Kelly to speak                                                               
to  why   DLWD  would  want  to   promulgate  specific  standards                                                               
pertaining to COVID-19.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:28:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KELLY  reiterated  that  the   general  duty  clause  offers                                                               
protection when there is no standard.   She added that the burden                                                               
on the  department to establish  a general duty  clause violation                                                               
is challenging by design.   She explained that specific standards                                                               
make enforcement and compliance  easier because it establishes an                                                               
expectation and provides a standard  that employees and employers                                                               
are held  to.  She added  that written guidelines are  better for                                                               
agencies and  the effected industries  so they can take  steps to                                                               
follow the standards.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:29:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR   sought  clarification  on   the  interface                                                               
between  agencies regarding  the  provision and  use of  personal                                                               
protective equipment (PPE).                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:32:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  FIELD   stated  that  current  AKOSH   regulations  obligate                                                               
employers to  provide the PPE  that they require  their employees                                                               
to wear  in the  workplace.   He noted  that the  availability of                                                               
that PPE  has been  the subject  of national  discussions, adding                                                               
that reuse of PPE has been a  result of the shortage.  He further                                                               
clarified  that  AKOSH  can perform  investigations  through  its                                                               
whistleblower program  if an employee  is retaliated  against for                                                               
raising concerns about  workplace health or safety.   He said the                                                               
whistleblower program  falls under a separate  statute within the                                                               
safety  and   health  standards   that  prevent   employers  from                                                               
retaliating against  employees for  attempting to  exercise their                                                               
health and safety rights.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:34:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  asked what the  recourse is for  an employee                                                               
who is not being provided with the required PPE.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. FIELD explained that the  employee can contact AKOSH and file                                                               
a complaint.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  anecdotally reported  that some  health care                                                               
workers are  not being provided with  proper PPE.  She  said it's                                                               
unfortunate  that  some workers  are  not  as protected  as  they                                                               
should be.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS agreed,  adding that  if ER  doctors don't  have                                                               
access  to PPE,  other frontline  workers probably  don't either.                                                               
He  asked   Ms.  Kelly  if  DLWD   should  consider  promulgating                                                               
standards  specific   to  COVID-19  and  what   the  department's                                                               
approach should be.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:36:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KELLY said  specific  standards can  create  clarity in  the                                                               
workplace.  Nonetheless, she pointed  out that developing a solid                                                               
set  of standards  that affect  every industry  is a  challenging                                                               
task that  requires the right  amount of resource  investment and                                                               
expertise to develop standards that  create a safer workplace for                                                               
all  the diverse  industries that  exist in  Alaska.   She opined                                                               
that for  the standards to  be effective,  they would need  to be                                                               
basic  or  involve a  vast  amount  of  input from  the  impacted                                                               
industries.    One  basic framework  to  consider  for  workplace                                                               
protection,  she  said,  is  through   the  hierarchy  of  hazard                                                               
control, which  includes five levels:  elimination, substitution,                                                               
engineering  controls, administrative  controls,  and  PPE.   She                                                               
noted  that PPE  should be  the last  line of  protection because                                                               
it's fallible.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:41:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE asked if employees  are required to disclose                                                               
a coronavirus-related medical condition to their employer.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.   KELLY  said   she  could   not  provide   Health  Insurance                                                               
Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) expertise.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. KNOWLES echoed Ms. Kelly.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:43:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE  asked  how   an  employer,  after  testing                                                               
positive  for   COVID-19,  should   communicate  that   to  their                                                               
employees.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. KELLY  said that question  illustrates the complexity  of the                                                               
issues that  employers are currently struggling  with, because it                                                               
requires thorough knowledge of OSHA and HIPAA protections.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:45:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ZULKOSKY  inquired  as to  AKOSH's  involvement  with  the                                                               
administration's Unified  Command regarding how to  set standards                                                               
for  employee notification  when  an individual  is considered  a                                                               
close contact of a known  positive case.  Additionally, she asked                                                               
if  AKOSH  provided  input on  workplace  exposure  and  employee                                                               
notification for the governor's statewide reopening plan.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:46:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. KNOWLES said  the division has not had  direct involvement in                                                               
either scenario.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ZULKOSKY  sought to  clarify whether  the division  has had                                                               
any communication  with the administration about  future plans or                                                               
best practices as the state reopens.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. KNOWLES said not to the best of his knowledge.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ZULKOSKY opined  that with surging statewide  cases and the                                                               
intention  of reopening  the economy,  there should  be a  direct                                                               
line of communication  with the governor's Unified  Command.  She                                                               
said  an  opportunity  to  coordinate would  allow  many  of  the                                                               
current issues to be addressed.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  directed attention to  a letter from  the Alaska                                                               
Correctional  Officers   Association  (ACOA)  [included   in  the                                                               
committee   packet],  which   discussed   testing  and   employee                                                               
notification in correctional  facilities.  He said  the letter is                                                               
worth   referring   to   because   it  mentions   many   of   the                                                               
aforementioned  issues.    He offered  his  belief  that  further                                                               
guidance   for  employers   regarding   COVID-19  procedures   is                                                               
necessary.   He pointed out  that without  established standards,                                                               
DLWD  must rely  on  a  general duty  clause  when an  employee's                                                               
safety is  at risk, which requires  a higher burden of  proof and                                                               
puts the department in a tough position.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:50:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REBECCA  HIMSCHOOT, Elementary  Science  Specialist, stated  that                                                               
the  Department of  Education and  Early  Development (DEED)  has                                                               
offered  guidance  by  providing   a  webinars  series,  entitled                                                               
"Alaska's  Smart  Start,"  which  shares information  on  how  to                                                               
prepare school districts for the  upcoming school year.  She said                                                               
there's  been  a lot  of  controversy  surrounding the  issue  of                                                               
reopening  schools and  how to  do so  safely.   The Smart  start                                                               
series stemmed  from a document  that all districts  are required                                                               
to submit, which outlines their  plans for reopening.  The series                                                               
highlights three  levels of risk:  high risk for  remote learning                                                               
only; medium and  low risk depending on the level  of COVID-19 in                                                               
the community.   She explained that with over 500  schools in the                                                               
state, finding  one solution that  works for all  is challenging.                                                               
She  said  this is  the  first  time she's  experienced  teachers                                                               
"fearing for  their lives" regarding  their return to work.   She                                                               
commended  DEED for  its guidance  during  this time.   She  said                                                               
questions  remain about  which teachers  are at  risk and  how to                                                               
accommodate those risks.  She  noted that the guidance changes on                                                               
a daily basis.  She added  that without a statewide mask mandate,                                                               
there   cannot  be   a  statewide   mandate   to  open   schools.                                                               
Furthermore,  she  opined that  it  would  be unjust  to  require                                                               
teachers  to  be  in  the classroom  unless  there  are  mandated                                                               
precautions.     She   offered  several   suggestions  that   she                                                               
characterized as essential, including  a nurse in every building,                                                               
counselors,  small  class  sizes, and  touchless  sanitizers  and                                                               
toilets.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:55:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. HIMSHOOT also questioned how  remote education would work for                                                               
those children who cannot return  to school.  She emphasized that                                                               
the  long-term  consequences  of   exposure  to  coronavirus  are                                                               
unknown.    She  said  there's  increasing  evidence  that  small                                                               
children  do not  contract  COVID-19  or if  they  do, show  mild                                                               
symptoms;  however,  that  does  not mean  that  adults  couldn't                                                               
contract  the  virus  from  surfaces  they  have  touched.    She                                                               
indicated  that   the  best  part  of   an  in-person  education,                                                               
collaborative  group problem  solving,  won't be  possible.   She                                                               
also  pointed  out that  providing  PPE  to Alaska's  most  rural                                                               
communities  could be  challenging and  expensive.   To conclude,                                                               
she emphasized the high level  of concern amongst educators.  She                                                               
said teachers want to go back  to their students safely, but they                                                               
do not want to be forced.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:00:30 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MARK CATLIN,  Industrial Hygienist, MDC Consulting  and Training,                                                               
informed  the   committee  of   his  twenty-year   background  in                                                               
workplace  protection issues  pertaining to  infectious diseases.                                                               
He noted  that he has been  consulting on those issue  during the                                                               
pandemic.    He  said  that  in  2009,  he  participated  in  the                                                               
development,  passage, and  implementation of  California's state                                                               
standard,  which is  the only  existing  standard that  addresses                                                               
coronavirus.   He  noted that  California's standard  has been  a                                                               
model for the  OSHA standard as well as other  states.  While the                                                               
pandemic is  unprecedented, he  explained, there  are experiences                                                               
to  draw on  from issues  with building  ventilation systems  and                                                               
human  health.   The  energy conservation  efforts that  occurred                                                               
with buildings in  the 1970s and 1980s led to  indoor air quality                                                               
problems that  were solved with  source controls  and ventilation                                                               
solutions.  During that time, Alaska  was at the forefront of the                                                               
research and development  of those solutions because  of the cold                                                               
weather and energy  issues in the state.  He  commended Ms. Kelly                                                               
for  mentioning  the hierarchy  of  hazard  control, which  is  a                                                               
fundamental   basis  for   approaching  problems   in  industrial                                                               
hygiene.  He explained that  eliminating the hazard can't be done                                                               
in  the  current situation  until  an  effective vaccine  exists;                                                               
however,  there are  viable  options in  terms  of buildings  and                                                               
ventilation  solutions.   One,  he said,  is  source control  and                                                               
accordingly, universal  masking.  He  pointed out that  masks are                                                               
not  a respiratory  protection  device, but  they  do reduce  the                                                               
amount of  virus going into  the air.  Additionally,  he remarked                                                               
that  surgical  masks and  other  facial  coverings are  not  100                                                               
percent  effective.   He  reported that  the  Center for  Disease                                                               
Control  and  Prevention  (CDC)   and  the  State  of  California                                                               
recognize  the coronavirus  as  an  airborne disease,  indicating                                                               
that employees who work indoors  should be separated by more than                                                               
six  feet because  if the  virus is  expelled into  the air  from                                                               
people breathing, speaking, coughing,  or sneezing, the virus can                                                               
remain  airborne for  several hours  traveling via  air currents.                                                               
He  said  engineering  controls that  address  the  operation  of                                                               
ventilation systems  are another  way to  confront the  source of                                                               
transmission and to reduce potential exposure to the virus.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:05:54 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. CATLIN emphasized the importance  of HVAC system verification                                                               
for  building  owners.    He   noted  that  there  are  no  legal                                                               
requirements  by  AKOSH  or  other  agencies  that  require  HVAC                                                               
systems  to  be  monitored,  maintained,  or  updated,  but  it's                                                               
important for  them to function  properly.  Once the  HVAC system                                                               
is working  as designed, he  recommended operating the  system 24                                                               
hours  each day,  including weekends,  to reduce  any coronavirus                                                               
that might be in the  air.  Additionally, he recommended allowing                                                               
the system to  let as much outside air in  as possible to provide                                                               
more  dilution  and  ventilation.    He noted  that  there  is  a                                                               
requirement  for  higher  level  filters  for  air  that's  being                                                               
recirculated; however,  the introduction of those  filters causes                                                               
disruption of  the ventilation system  if the HVAC system  is not                                                               
designed  for them.   He  recommended  considering temporary  and                                                               
localized air  filtration systems that  could be placed  around a                                                               
workplace.   Furthermore,  some  have considered  the  use of  UV                                                               
light and ion  generation technology that might  have the ability                                                               
to affect  coronavirus, but he cautioned  against installing them                                                               
without  looking  at  the evidence  of  their  effectiveness  and                                                               
safety.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:09:52 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CATLIN acknowledged  the importance  of coordinating  proper                                                               
expertise and  experience from different viewpoints.   In Alaska,                                                               
he said,  that could mean  coordinating state  employees, unions,                                                               
building managers,  building operators,  AKOSH, and  experts from                                                               
the University of  Alaska to develop clear  guidance and programs                                                               
to address  the problem.   He opined that an  enforceable minimal                                                               
standard  from OSHA  is important  because it  provides employers                                                               
with  guidelines  and allows  for  enforcement  when they  aren't                                                               
doing the  right thing.   He  added that if  the State  of Alaska                                                               
could develop a  useful program, it could be a  model for private                                                               
sector employers in the state.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:12:01 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
KELLY TSHIBAKA, Commissioner,  Department of Administration, said                                                               
the [coronavirus]  pandemic has  had a  tremendous impact  on all                                                               
Alaskans.  She maintained that  Governor Dunleavy is committed to                                                               
ensuring  the  health  and safety  of  the  approximately  15,000                                                               
government  employees  while  ensuring continuity  of  government                                                               
operations  and protecting  the Alaskans  that they  serve.   She                                                               
stated that since  the outbreak of COVID-19 across  the U.S., the                                                               
state  of  Alaska  has  taken  several  steps  to  achieve  those                                                               
objectives.  The  state made an unprecedented  shift in telework,                                                               
increasing the number of teleworking  employees from 100 to 6,000                                                               
in just  a few weeks.   She  commended the Office  of Information                                                               
Technology staff  for their support in  facilitating that effort.                                                               
Expedited training  was also provided  to over  1,500 supervisors                                                               
on  how  to  manage  telecommuting employees.    Additionally,  a                                                               
coronavirus leave  policy was  issued to  provide paid  leave for                                                               
employees  affected  by   COVID-19  or  quarantine  requirements.                                                               
Within office  environments, new practices were  adopted, such as                                                               
the use  of Microsoft Teams  for video conferencing  and DocuSign                                                               
for   electronic  signatures   on  documents.     Softphone,   an                                                               
application that  enables users to  make and receive  phone calls                                                               
over the  internet, was  also implemented.   Barrier  guards were                                                               
installed in office locations, prioritized  by those that provide                                                               
services to  the public, and additional  janitorial services were                                                               
added in state buildings to  augment normal janitorial contracts.                                                               
Furthermore,  DOA's Division  of Personnel  held weekly  meetings                                                               
with union  leaders and representatives.   Facemasks and required                                                               
PPP, as  determine by  Department of  Health and  Social Services                                                               
(DHSS), was provided for each  workplace.  Guidance was issued to                                                               
all  buildings  leased  and  owned  by  the  state  on  cleaning,                                                               
disinfection,  and  decontamination  protocols.   Work  schedules                                                               
were staggard  to create greater  social distancing at  places of                                                               
work  in  accordance with  CDC  and  DHSS standards.    Statewide                                                               
policies   and  communications   were  also   drafted,  such   as                                                               
distributing  mental  health   resources,  handwashing,  elevator                                                               
distancing fliers  and guidance based on  the federal coronavirus                                                               
leave   law.     Additionally,   there  is   coronavirus-specific                                                               
workplace safety  requirements, including adoption  of guidelines                                                               
approved by  DHSS, which  is consistent with  CDC guidance.   She                                                               
continued to  convey that new  business methods  were implemented                                                               
to  limit public  access by  leveraging technological  solutions,                                                               
like  online  transactions,  automated  appointments,  and  doing                                                               
business over  the phone.   She said  the state has  continued to                                                               
provide government services while  protecting state employees and                                                               
Alaska citizens.   Going  forward, she  indicated that  DOA would                                                               
continue   to  maximize   workplace  safety   by  promoting   and                                                               
supporting telework and  technology to meet business  needs.  She                                                               
further  noted that  the department  is  conducting facility  use                                                               
analyses to determine  the best way to use  workspace to maximize                                                               
employee  safety.   Additionally,  she  said,  hand sanitizer  is                                                               
being provided throughout office  locations and cleaning supplies                                                               
are available  for employees  in common  areas.   Also, employees                                                               
are to stay  home if they experience COVID-19  symptoms.  Lastly,                                                               
she  said  the  department  is  providing  continuing  education,                                                               
training on  COVID-19, and best  workplace practices  during this                                                               
time.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:19:11 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   DRUMMOND  pointed   out  that   the  state   and                                                               
communities  are  spending  a  great deal  of  money  on  contact                                                               
tracing.  However, she recalled  an instance when contact tracing                                                               
failed  and  a public  announcement  was  made  by the  mayor  of                                                               
Anchorage, listing a  number of bars and  public facilities where                                                               
people had been  potentially exposed to COVID-19.   She asked how                                                               
contact tracing  interfaces with  the workplace and  other public                                                               
locations.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:20:58 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  TSHIBAKA  said  there  was  a  bulletin  issued  in                                                               
February by  the U.S.  Department of  Health and  Human Service's                                                               
Office for Civil Rights (OCR),  entitled "HIPAA Privacy and Novel                                                               
Coronavirus,"  which dictates  what information  can be  released                                                               
about the diagnosis of a  patient.  She offered her understanding                                                               
that  DHSS and  hospitals adhere  to that  bulletin's guidelines.                                                               
She continued to explain that  DOA is not regularly informed when                                                               
an  employee  tests positive  for  COVID-19  unless the  employee                                                               
conveys  the information,  or  the  epidemiology team  determines                                                               
that  reporting  the diagnosis  is  necessary.   She  shared  her                                                               
belief that  the mayor's announcement  was a result of  the later                                                               
for the purpose of identifying further contacts.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:23:20 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   SPOHNHOLZ  inquired   about  DOA's   efforts  to                                                               
collaborate  with employees  to  address  their workplace  safety                                                               
concerns pertaining to COVID-19.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA deferred to Kate Sheehan.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:23:44 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
KATE  SHEEHAN,   Director,  Division   of  Personnel   and  Labor                                                               
Relations, Department  of Administration,  said the  division has                                                               
been in  constant contact with  unions and employees.   She noted                                                               
that when a  union is contacted by an employee  with questions or                                                               
concerns, the  union contacts the  division for  further enquiry.                                                               
She  said   that  the  division   is  working  with   unions  and                                                               
supervisors on various issues every day.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SPOHNHOLZ  sought  further clarification  on  the                                                               
issues being  identified by  employees and  their representatives                                                               
and how the division solves those problems.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SHEEHAN  said  it  varies   from  issues  with  telework  to                                                               
complaints about an individual not  wearing a mask in the office.                                                               
She listed various solutions provided  by the division, including                                                               
staggering   travel,   issuing  policies,   implementing   online                                                               
booking,  closing offices,  and  executing CDC  compliance.   She                                                               
reiterated that  the issues  and how they  are addressed  vary by                                                               
location and type of work.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:26:31 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS asked  for the timeframe in  which the department                                                               
notifies employees  of a  positive test.   He  also asked  who is                                                               
notified.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:27:12 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SHEEHAN  explained that  when  an  employee tests  positive,                                                               
contact tracing  is initiated and  every employee who  might have                                                               
been in  contact with  that individual  is notified;  offices are                                                               
subsequently shutdown  and a thorough sanitization  is performed.                                                               
She noted that  when an office is closed  for cleaning, employees                                                               
can work from home or administrative leave is paid.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  asked if "coming  in contact"  includes everyone                                                               
in a shared ventilation system.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. SHEEHAN said she does not know and deferred to DHSS.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:28:50 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  asked how many state  buildings have ventilation                                                               
systems  that share  air between  offices and  therefore, require                                                               
enhanced  filtration  and  an  introduction  of  outside  air  to                                                               
minimize the risk of COVID-19 [transmission].                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:29:47 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISIONER  TSHIBAKA said  she  does not  know  and deferred  to                                                               
Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF).                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  noted that AFSCME's written  statement [included                                                               
in  the   committee  packet]   includes  a   recommended  minimum                                                               
filtration value.   He asked  the department to follow-up  on the                                                               
number of state HVAC systems  with adequate filtration to capture                                                               
coronavirus particles and  what the state is doing  to update the                                                               
systems without that capacity.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:30:44 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS referring to the  mention of UV light technology,                                                               
inquired    about   DOA's    consideration   of    nontraditional                                                               
disinfectant beyond manually applied sanitizers.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:31:19 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. SHEEHAN  said the guidance thus  far has been related  to EPA                                                               
approved  surface disinfectants,  such as  Clorox bleach,  Lysol,                                                               
and  hydrogen  peroxide.   She  offered  to  explore  alternative                                                               
ideas.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS  asked  if  DOA  issued  telework  guidance  for                                                               
consistent telework standards  across departments.  Additionally,                                                               
he asked  for the  department's performance  metrics in  terms of                                                               
reducing the number  of total employees that must  report to work                                                               
in person and how DPA plans to achieve that.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  TSHIBAKA  explained  that  DOA  issued  a  telework                                                               
policy in 2019 for the  entire state government, which applies to                                                               
the  coronavirus pandemic.   She  said that  policy has  been put                                                               
into  effect  for  state  departments  during  this  time.    She                                                               
reiterated that  the department has helped  supervisors adjust to                                                               
managing a remote workforce.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:33:39 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  sought clarification  on the  department's long-                                                               
term  goals for  telework regarding  the percentage  of employees                                                               
teleworking on a sustained basis.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA  stated that  DOA doesn't set  measures for                                                               
the other state departments, later  adding that she is unaware of                                                               
a quota  or goal percentage.   She further explained that  DOA is                                                               
identifying obstacles that  require people to come  into work and                                                               
is trying  to automate them  to maximize the number  of employees                                                               
who can telework long term.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:36:15 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  questioned whether building  managers understand                                                               
that  six feet  provides positive,  but not  adequate, protection                                                               
given how aerosolized  particles move indoors.  He  also asked if                                                               
the department is communicating that information.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA deferred to DHSS.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:36:43 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX  observed that restaurants in  the North Pole                                                               
community are  not opening because  they cannot afford  to comply                                                               
with existing guidelines.  He  asked if anyone is considering how                                                               
to enable businesses to stay open during the pandemic.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:38:45 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  inquired  about the  volume  of  concerned                                                               
employees  contacting   the  Division  of  Personnel   and  Labor                                                               
Relations.    She  also  asked   what  the  mask  policy  is  for                                                               
employees.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:40:16 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. SHEEHAN  said it's hard  to speak to  the volume.   She added                                                               
that the division addresses "something"  daily.  Regarding masks,                                                               
she said they  are strongly encouraged.  She  reiterated that DOA                                                               
provides masks and the required PPE in all its offices.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:41:48 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
TERRI GERSTEIN,  Director, State  and Local  Enforcement Project,                                                               
Labor  and Worklife  Program,  Harvard  University, informed  the                                                               
committee  of   her  previous  work  experience   as  the  deputy                                                               
commissioner in the New York Department  of Labor, as well as the                                                               
labor bureau  chief in  the New  York Attorney  General's Office.                                                               
She  said  today,   her  testimony  would  focus   on  how  state                                                               
governments can  protect workers during this  unprecedented time.                                                               
She  indicated  that   there  are  a  variety   of  actions  that                                                               
localities  and  states have  taken,  such  as issuing  executive                                                               
orders that impose requirements  for masks, PPE provision, social                                                               
distancing, and other  protections.  She said  state agencies and                                                               
officials  could  also   adopt  enforceable  coronavirus-specific                                                               
workplace  safety standards  for employers.   Additionally,  they                                                               
could enact  greater protections to prevent  employer retaliation                                                               
against  workers  who  raise concerns  about  workplace  hazards;                                                               
enact  paid sick  leave requirements  that fill  gaps in  federal                                                               
law; and enact measures to  enable greater access to unemployment                                                               
insurance or workers' compensation.   Furthermore, state agencies                                                               
and officials could  require employers to devise  and post safety                                                               
plans to  protect workers and  the public from exposure,  as well                                                               
as  require employers  to report  clusters of  COVID-19 to  state                                                               
health  departments.   She provided  numerous examples  of states                                                               
and  localities   that  have   taken  those   actions,  including                                                               
Emergency Executive  Order 20-54 issued by  Minnesota's governor,                                                               
Tim  Walz,  which   allows  workers  to  refuse   to  work  under                                                               
conditions  that  present imminent  danger  of  death or  serious                                                               
physical harm.   She shared  another example  of an order  by the                                                               
secretary  of the  Pennsylvania Health  Department that  requires                                                               
businesses to establish protocols in  the event of exposure to an                                                               
individual who has tested positive for COVID-19.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:51:19 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.   GERSTEIN  emphasized   the   importance  of   strengthening                                                               
protections  against  worker  retaliation   by  employers.    She                                                               
explained  that  fear  of retaliation  could  stop  workers  from                                                               
speaking  up   against  workplace   hazards,  which   during  the                                                               
pandemic,  endangers  the  workers  themselves, as  well  as  the                                                               
public due  to the risk  of community  spread.  For  this reason,                                                               
she said, a few  jurisdictions have strengthened anti-retaliation                                                               
laws.   She noted  that OSHA  has an  anti-retaliation provision,                                                               
but it  has a short  statute of  limitations and lacks  a private                                                               
right  of action;  therefore, the  state  and local  laws make  a                                                               
difference in protecting workers.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GERSTEIN  turned   attention  to  paid  sick   leave.    She                                                               
referenced the  federal Families First Coronavirus  Response Act,                                                               
which requires  certain employers to  provide paid sick  leave to                                                               
workers or expanded  family medical leave for  reasons related to                                                               
COVID-19;  however,  the  federal   act  excludes  many  workers,                                                               
including those  who work  for companies  of over  500 employees.                                                               
She restated  that some  states and  localities have  passed paid                                                               
sick leave laws  to fill in those gaps.   She noted that Colorado                                                               
passed  a modest  paid sick  day  requirement through  regulation                                                               
using a statute  that gives the Colorado Department  of Labor and                                                               
Employment broad authority to promulgate  rules "when the welfare                                                               
of the state  of Colorado demands that workers  be protected from                                                               
conditions  of  labor that  have  a  pernicious effect  on  their                                                               
health and  morals and  it is  therefor declared  that inadequate                                                               
wages  and   unfit  sanitary  conditions  of   labor  exert  such                                                               
pernicious effect                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:53:47 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GERSTEIN  stated that  unemployment  insurance  has been  an                                                               
important safety net  for millions of people who  have lost their                                                               
job  during the  pandemic.   Under  most state  laws, anyone  who                                                               
refuses suitable work cannot  claim unemployment insurance, which                                                               
currently  raises   the  question   of  whether   unsafe  working                                                               
conditions  are  considered  "suitable  work."   To  ensure  that                                                               
people are  not forced into  unsafe working  conditions, numerous                                                               
states   have  issued   executive  orders   or  guidelines   that                                                               
articulate   broader  UI   eligibility  for   coronavirus-related                                                               
reasons.  She  added that some states have  facilitated access to                                                               
workers' compensation  by amending  laws to include  a rebuttable                                                               
presumption that  workers got  infected at  work.   Illinois, for                                                               
example,  enacted  the  rebuttable  presumption  in  relation  to                                                               
COVID-19 infection for all essential  workers.  Additionally, she                                                               
pointed out  that some states  are obligating businesses  to plan                                                               
ahead by  requiring employers to fill  out a form that  details a                                                               
plan  to keep  workers safe  in the  event of  an exposure.   She                                                               
opined  that  providing  a  templated  form  gives  a  systematic                                                               
roadmap  to   employers  for  considering  the   risks  in  their                                                               
workplace.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:57:52 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Gerstein   provided  several  miscellaneous   measures  that                                                               
localities  have  taken, including  hazard  pay  for gig  economy                                                               
workers  and worker  retention and  right  of recall  ordinances.                                                               
She pointed out that laws  are ephemeral unless made real through                                                               
robust   and  effective   enforcement.     She  highlighted   the                                                               
importance of publicizing enforcement  actions.  She referenced a                                                               
recent  study  by  a  Duke   professor,  Matthew  Johnson,  which                                                               
examined the  impact of OSHA  press releases on  employers within                                                               
the same industry  and geographic area.   Professor Johnson found                                                               
that  publishing  OSHA  findings   and  violations,  as  well  as                                                               
issuance of penalties, led to  significant improvements in worker                                                               
safety  and  health.    The   study  concluded  that  there  were                                                               
significantly fewer worker injuries as  a result of press release                                                               
issuance.  She emphasized the  necessity of a proactive media and                                                               
a strategic communications plan  regarding enforcement to protect                                                               
workers.  To  conclude, she said workers are  terrified to return                                                               
to work.   She added that  the worker safety and  health issue is                                                               
currently a  national crisis.   She offered  her belief  that for                                                               
economies to  reopen, workplaces must  be safe, given  the nature                                                               
of  community  spread.    Keeping  workers  safe  is  a  critical                                                               
function of state government, she said.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
11:01:19 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
JOELLE  HALL,  Director  of Operations,  American  Federation  of                                                               
Labor  and   Congress  of  Industrial   Organizations  (AFL-CIO),                                                               
acknowledged that  workers and employers are  confused right now.                                                               
She opined  that there's a lack  of clarity on how  employers and                                                               
workers should respond to the  identification of a positive case.                                                               
She recommended  implementing a clear  standard for  spaces where                                                               
employees  congregate,  such  as   break  rooms.    She  strongly                                                               
encouraged  the state  to  promulgate  regulations pertaining  to                                                               
enforcement  and   to  increase   inspections.     She  suggested                                                               
implementing   every   action    discussed   by   Ms.   Gerstein.                                                               
Additionally,  she  opined  that Alaska  needs  stronger  unified                                                               
communications  going   out  to  workers  and   employers.    She                                                               
highlighted the  importance of clarifying  the role of  the basic                                                               
protections of masking,  hand washing, and sanitizing.   She said                                                               
right now, standards are not  clear.  She encouraged establishing                                                               
a return-to-work  policy that  includes workers  who work  in the                                                               
effected facilities, not just management.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
11:06:48 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JACKSON  inquired  as  to  the  states  with  the                                                               
highest union density.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. HALL  answered Hawaii and  New York.   She noted  that Alaska                                                               
has slipped to number four on the list behind Washington.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   JACKSON   opined   that   Alaska   has   already                                                               
implemented requirements  for safe environments.   She added that                                                               
there is still more to do.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
11:08:48 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  reviewed the  need for  a clear  and enforceable                                                               
standard from  AKOSH, aggressive and public  enforcement, as well                                                               
as a clear "right to know" for people exposed in the workplace.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
11:09:06 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
State  Affairs  Standing  Committee   meeting  was  adjourned  at                                                               
[11:09] a.m.