Michigan State University Extension releases COVID-19 Hazard Assessment and Mitigation Program (CHAMP) e-tool to support the agriculture industry

The MSU Extension CHAMP e-tool will assist farms and businesses involved in agriculture with developing a written COVID-19 control plan.

Three people standing in a field during sunset

Addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigating the spread of the novel coronavirus, the virus that causes the infectious disease COVID-19, in the agriculture industry requires business owners and operators to be agile and forward thinking. An essential industry well versed in biosecurity and food safety, few agriculture operations were prepared to address a pandemic that was a threat to their workforce.

Understanding this, Michigan State University Extension formed a team focused on supporting the industry in this effort through the development of e-tools and programming that facilitate activity by business owners and operators to both prevent transmission amongst their workforce and address rapidly changing regulatory requirements aimed at protecting the health of workers and the public. This e-tool is designed for use by farming operations and associated businesses of all size and types.

The MSU Extension COVID-19 Hazard Assessment and Mitigation Program (CHAMP) was developed as a flexible, easy to use e-tool to assist the Michigan agriculture community in assessing risk for spread of COVID-19 in their operations. Using CHAMP will help the agriculture community identify, develop, and implement appropriate and meaningful exposure control strategies tailored to protect workers and the public (customers) consistent with business operations, and to comply with Michigan requirements for essential and open businesses under the current executive orders.

Information and guidance presented has been adapted and compiled from federal, state, and local sources including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA), and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).

Virtual trainings that correspond with the MSU Extension CHAMP e-tool will help guide users through the process of developing a preparedness response plan consistent with requirements under Michigan’s executive orders. Participants who attend these trainings will be able to use the e-tool to conduct a hazard assessment using an approach that aligns with OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 guidance document and follows an established strategy for risk mitigation using a recommended hierarchy of controls.

Users who wish to attend a live virtual training, which will be hosted using Zoom technology, can register by clicking on the link for either Session 1 July 2, 2020 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. or Session 2 July 9, 2020 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. A recorded webinar will also be made available for those unable to attend a live virtual session.  To accompany the recorded sessions, two Q&A sessions have been scheduled: Session 1 July 14, 2020 from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. or Session 2 July 16, 2020 from 10 a.m. -12 p.m. Click on the preferred link for registration.

For assistance with developing COVID-19 preparedness response plans using the MSU Extension CHAMP, please contact Melissa Millerick-May or Beth Ferry .

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