COVID-19 Antibody Tests: What’s the Deal?

A big part of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic has been testing and contact tracing: finding out who has the virus, who they may have given it to, and preventing them from spreading it. Tests have been tough to find due to short supply but we are now seeing “cheap” testing options starting to appear on the market. Some medical professionals claim that inexpensive tests are inaccurate – and maybe even dangerous because of the risk of incorrect results.

In some ways, this is true; cheap antigen tests are often only tested on samples with a high viral load. That means there’s a LOT of virus in the sample, making it easier to trigger a positive result. Or they are only tested on patients who actually have symptoms of COVID-19. That’s not a great indicator either, since they’re not testing asymptomatic people too. The FDA has giving Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) out all over the place to try and combat the spread of the virus, allowing less-than-accurate testing to enter the field. This creates confusion about the veracity of results and more fear among people.

So what about the Clarity COVIBLOCK Rapid Tests that HB NEXT is now selling?

COVIBLOCK Rapid Test Kit

COVIBLOCK Rapid Tests have been shown to be 95% accurate, virtually eliminating false results. At about $32/test kit, they’re very affordable for the average business or consumer. The tests are manufactured in Finland by American company Clarity Diagnostics. They check for both IgG and IgM COVID-19 antibodies to help determine whether or not the patient has been infected (here’s a great explanation of IgG and IgM antibodies). Remember how those other “cheap” tests have primarily been tested on samples with high viral load? We know that in real life, businesses need reliable results even when counts are low in a sample, or when a patient doesn’t have any symptoms. The COVIBLOCK can do all that – and can give you results in about 10 minutes.

HB NEXT is now selling COVIBLOCK test kits in boxes of 20 for $640 (plus shipping); that’s about $32 per test and you can order online. Your employee health nurse or another qualified medical professional should be the person administering the tests to employees. HB NEXT can help with this if you don’t have a nurse on staff by providing one for you! This is a full-service offering to help keep your business up and running as you navigate this wild ride. Combined with our Clear2 mobile app and thermal scanning kiosk, COVIBLOCK Rapid Tests can get you back to what you do best.

We’ve got your back; let us know how we can help you.


National Safety Month Update & Promotions

National Safety Month Overview

Everyone faces hazards and potential dangers in their lives. Whether you face them while working at your job or in your personal life, there is always a risk of injury. HB NEXT understands that safety is a top priority which is why we are raising awareness for National Safety Month. June is the National Safety Council’s(NSC) National Safety Month. The goal of National Safety Month is to try and reduce injuries and fatalities caused by some of the less focused on hazards. Over the duration of June, the NSC will put special emphasis on one safety topic each week. The order for this year goes as follows:

Week 1: Mental Health

Week 2: Ergonomics

Week 3: Building a Safety Culture

Week 4: Driving

Free Materials 

The NSC provides free public materials about each topic such as posters, articles, social media graphics, and more. They also provide additional 5 Minute Safety Talks for their members. The NSC raises money for the National Safety Council SAFER effort, which aims to address the safety needs of the Nation’s workforce now and in a post-pandemic environment. 100% of all donations from now to June 30 go to the SAFER effort and the NSC will match up to $25,000 worth of donations.

To access NSC’s free materials, please click HERE.

Complimentary Safety Manual Reviews

HB NEXT would like to share our expertise to improve more workplaces all around the country. As a promo for National Safety Month, HB NEXT is offering all companies a Complimentary Review of their safety manual. In addition to this, we are offering $100 off of new OSHA compliant safety manuals. To submit your manual for review, simply fill out the form and upload your manual HERE.  Or, Contact Us and ask for a complimentary safety manual review by emailing


In addition to the complimentary safety manual reviews, HB NEXT is also offering buy 1 get 1 half-off on OSHA 10 hour training through the month of June. Click HERE to view our class calendar and register using coupon code BOGOHALF.

NUCA Trench Safety Stand Down

The National Utility Contractors Association(NUCA) has declared June as Trench Safety Month. For the last 4 years, the NUCA has held the Trench Safety Stand Down. This year they are holding it from June 15 – 19. The Trench Safety Stand Down is a series of organized events held by the NUCA over the entirety of the week. These events are used to emphasize the message of safety around jobsite trenches and excavations through seminars, safety training, and other activities.  To learn more about NUCA or the Trench Safety Stand Down visit there website HERE.

OSHA Safety Stand Down Postponed

OSHA also holds a Stand Down for Fall Prevention, as it is the cause of the most fatalities in construction, every year. This year, due to COVID-19, it has been postponed to an unknown date post-pandemic. In 2019, more than 47,000 employees participated in the Stand Down. They are expecting to beat that number this year as their community grows.  To learn more about OSHA or the Stand Down to prevent falls in construction visit there article HERE.

OSHA’s COVID-19 Changes

COVID-19 Responses

With the changing ideas and growing knowledge about COVID-19, OSHA has been putting new precautions into effect. One of the first changes is making COVID-19 a required, recordable disease under OSHA’s record keeping requirements. They reversed the April 10th announcement of not requiring employers to track on-the-job COVID-19 cases. The cases only must be recorded if the disease is diagnosed/confirmed by the CDC, or is work-related.


Is it a work-related Illness?

One of the first steps an employer should take if a case is confirmed is asking the afflicted employee how they believe they contracted the disease and discuss any activities that could have lead to the illness. Outside of asking the employee you can also determine if its work-related by looking at the environments around the time of contracting the disease. If many cases develop in your employees at the same time or if the employee became sick after extended contact with a customer or with the general public, then the disease is likely work related. If the employee is the only worker to contract the disease or if they spend time outside of the site with someone (family members, significant other, close friend) who has COVID-19, then the disease is likely not work related.


Updated Interim Enforcement Plan

Employers must report all work related fatalities within 8 hours and work-related hospitalizations within 24 hours. Employers must also report any fatalities that occurred within 30 days of a work-related incident. OSHA will determine if an inspection or an R.R.I. is required after receiving a fatality report. If the hospitalization or fatality was related to COVID-19, then each AD should evaluate the potential risk level of spreading diseases on the site. If a CSHO identifies a workplace with potential exposure and determine an inspection is needed, they must contact supervisors and the Office of Occupational Medicine and Nursing. COVID-19 inspections will be considered novel cases.


Workplace Risk Levels

High risk jobs have a high potential for exposure. This includes, but is not limited to, jobs at hospitals that are treating COVID-19 patients, nursing homes, emergency medical centers, emergency response facilities, places where home care and hospice are provided,  settings that handle  human remains, biomedical laboratories, and medical transport. Medium risk jobs have frequent or close contact with people who may be infected but are not confirmed. This includes jobs that work with the general public, high-density work places, and meat and poultry processing. Low risk jobs are those that don’t require contact with people who have or are thought to have been infected. These jobs have minimal interaction with the public and other co-workers.

Complaints, Referrals, and R.R.I.s

In high-risk workplaces, fatalities and imminent danger exposures related to COVID-19 are prioritized for inspections. Any complaints about lack of proper PPE for high risk jobsites should be inspected and if deemed appropriate a non-formal phone/fax investigation could be used. If there is an on-site fatality or imminent danger event and the proper resources for an inspection are not available, then a remote investigation will be used until the resources for an onsite inspection can be found. Formal complaints for medium or low risk jobsites will not require an on-site inspection. Employer-reported hospitalizations will be handled using a R.R.I. in most cases. Workers that request inspections, are complaining of COVID-19 exposure, or reporting illness may be covered under one or more of the whistleblower statutes.


Inspection Scope, Scheduling, and Procedures

High-risk job sites will be the focus of inspections if any complaints, referrals, or employer-reported illnesses are found. CSHOs inspecting sites should be familiar with the CDCs prevention guidelines and any individual characteristics and underlying conditions deemed by the CDC to increase the risk for severe illness from COVID-19(being 65 years of age or older, being immunosuppressive, or having a history of smoking). CSHOs will be provided with the proper equipment and supplies to perform an inspection. CSHOs will be encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine if and when they become available.

If the inspection of a high-risk site can be conducted without visiting the location in person, then all steps must be taken for CSHOs to avoid such exposure. For example, the opening conferences can be done over the phone or with uninfected personnel. Before taking a walkaround inspection the CSHO should:

  • Determine whether the employer has a written pandemic plan
  • Review the facilities procedures for hazard assessment
  • Review medical records related to worker exposure incidents.
  • Review the respiratory protection program
  • Review Employee training records
  • Determine if the facility has airborne infection isolation rooms

After an inspection, CSHOs must wash their hands with soap and water, decontaminate supplies and equipment using bleach wipes, dispose of all used, disposable PPE and decontamination waste on site, or bag and clean later.

As we continue through this time of uncertainty, feel free to Ask an Expert with any question and concerns.

From all of us here at HB NEXT, stay safe.

Managing COVID-19 Compliance with SafetyCloud

New Service Offerings and Complimentary Software for COVID-19 Compliance Management

As a leader of workplace safety and compliance, HB NEXT has been working aggressively to create solutions that allow our Essential Services clients to continue work while managing the complexities of COVID safety.  This past week we launched on-site COVID screening protocols for 10 sites across the Southeast and our new COVID compliance module for our SafetyCloud software is planned to launch as early as this week, offered free for all SafetyCloud customers.

With the announcement that the State of Georgia will begin reopening this Friday, there is a feeling that things may finally start to get back to normal. While this is great news for many, business owners and managers are faced with another daily challenge, managing COVID-19 in the workplace.

In March, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a list of 16 measures that Critical Infrastructure Entities must implement in their operations to mitigate the exposure and spread of COVID-19 among its workforce. These items include screening and evaluating workers, sanitizing and hand washing, prohibiting group gatherings, implementing signage, and allowing teleworking for all possible workers. These measures won’t stop here, and we can expect that these 16 measures are just the beginning of a new norm that will evolve in a post COVID-19 economy.

COVID-19 has infiltrated and upended businesses across the U.S., and now as the economy begins to reopen, companies and managers are given the dauting task of ensuring the virus does not infiltrate its employees and customers. This task is not to be taken lightly as OSHA announced that any confirmed COVID-19 case is categorized as an OSHA recordable incident. This is a scary thought for business owners in construction that rely on a good EMR for landing jobs and keeping insurance premiums as low as possible. So, now businesses must scramble to ensure they are complying with new regulations, keeping the right documentation, and protecting their workers.

HB NEXT On-Site COVID Screening and Software Solutions

To assist our clients with these new regulations, we have already been supporting clients with policy development and implementation, as well as on-site worker screening and social distancing inspections. But, now we plan to roll out a COVID-19 compliance module that will be featured in our newly revamped SafetyCloud Software platform. The module is designed to track the scanning of each worker (on jobsites or in offices), conduct COVID-19 daily inspections, train workers, track sign-offs on new policies, and aggregate data for compliance and management.

This COVID-19 Compliance Module will be offered for FREE to all our SafetyCloud and Compliance Partner customers as a sign of our dedication to protect our clients and ensure compliance across their organizations. We will also be offering a complimentary single-location subscription to all new customers as well, beginning as early as Monday, April 27th in alignment with the State of Georgia’s reopening.

As we enter an uncertain time in a post COVID-19 economy, HB NEXT will continue to provide and implement solutions that will protect our clients and improve their operations.

If you would like to learn more about SafetyCloud or a complimentary single-location subscription, please contact us today | 770-619-1669.


Why Ethics and Attitude are the Most Effective Tools You’ll Ever Use on the Job (and, maybe, in life)

This article was featured in The Georgia Contractor’s latest issue.  Click Here to read the issue in its entirety.

My exposure to construction over the past several years has been life changing.

Part of this exposure, for me, was accidental. The remainder was, and continues to be, 100% of my own volition. Given my penchant for reading and writing -combined with a strong preference for the enjoyment of these activities to occur within climate-controlled environments- the construction industry was not what I had in mind for myself when I arrived at a career crossroads some years ago. Yet, here I find myself, still involved in the industry, still learning about it, and still hungry to grow within it.

My first official construction project was not large, nor was it my own; but my attitude won me an opportunity to work on a covered tool shed project with an experienced builder. It provided me with a chance to learn, a chance to earn, and a sense of accomplishment that I could enjoy both individually, and as part of a team. I also assembled a veritable lexicon of construction tool terminology and industry jargon, nursed many sore muscles (many muscles, indeed), made a few mistakes; but, most importantly, went home intact each day. The following summer, because of my work ethic, that same builder gave me another opportunity to work on a couple of additional small projects. (I’m guessing my attitude wasn’t too terrible, the previous year). These experiences, while limited in their scope, helped to shape my outlook on life, my personal philosophy on hard work, and to discover a deeper understanding of safety, both in an occupational sense and a personal sense.

Now, while construction is where my passion lies, I’m not naïve to the fact that someone reading this might have zero interest pursuing a career in the construction industry. Or, may already be progressing along a promising career path. This message is for you, too.


It all starts with the person in the mirror.

When we consider that most projects require some set of tools to get a job accomplished, it’s easy to forget that not all tools brought to the job, are ones that we can physically hold in our hands. In fact, two of the most important tools we will ever have in our personal and professional lives reside not in equipment belts or supply rooms, but in our heads; and, also, in our hearts. As a human race we develop these tools differently and at different rates. Directed, influenced, and in many ways, sculpted by our own life experiences, the attitudes we exhibit in our interactions with people -guided by an internal ethical and moral ‘compass’- have tremendous potential to set life changing events into motion, both positive and negative in nature. Metaphorically speaking, for many, life moves alongside this developmental spectrum with an unlimited bandwidth. Since personal and professional growth are never guaranteed to occur on identical or parallel schedules, many find in life that they must mature personally before they can advance professionally. The rate and degree of that developmental progress is unique to each person, almost like a behavioral (and emotional) fingerprint. 

What does ethics really mean to me?

Ethics are essentially principles by which we operate or live. They are necessary for many environments to maintain harmony and equity. They represent the written (and sometimes, unwritten, yet universally recognized) rules which govern our behaviors in situations where we are required to interact either courteously or professionally, with and around other people. A strong foundation in ethics can promote and accelerate career advancement; and, can also bode well for job security. It can also promote the longevity of healthy, productive, and mutually beneficial relationships. Living by a code of personal integrity, showing respect for elders (parents, educators, workplace veterans, military veterans), adherence to safety rules, regulations and procedures, these are all ways in which we demonstrate our personal code of ethics.

These examples of simply being a decent human, require no expense of personal energy or finances.   

Ethics are also lessons taught in homes, schools, and businesses around the world. It is truly a universal subject.    

We begin taking lessons on ethics early in life, often before we recognize it’s happening. You can take academic courses on business ethics, legal ethics and the like, well into adulthood; but it is parents who typically lay the groundwork. Some provide their children with a solid ethical foundation, where others are less capable of doing so. The safety net, we hope, are families; and, equally important, the educational systems through which we learn how to function in the world around us. Public schools, private colleges and universities, technical schools and vocational academies, don’t just teach subjects and skills. They teach ethics, too.  In conjunction with -but, unfortunately, sometimes in lieu of- the parents, educators can help carry that torch, keeping that beacon of hope for the future of society shining brightly.

On a personal level, many of us got our first lessons in professional work ethic around the household. I can personally recall -with little fondness, I might add- a magnitude of ethics lessons from my childhood, commonly referred to today, as household chores. This theme continued for me throughout adolescence and into young adulthood, with schoolteachers and professors building upon that ethical inventory through a seemingly endless barrage of projects and homework assignments. Does any of this sound familiar?

Have you ever missed the bus or arrived late to school or work because of oversleeping? Missed out on an opportunity because of procrastination? Sometimes, we can even teach ourselves lessons in work ethic (including the critical importance of time management).     

There may be a more mysterious reason than we all realize, behind why the words attitude, aptitude, and altitude, are separated by just one letter in the alphabet. It is often thought that by making small, deliberate changes, one can eventually affect a world of difference. The angle of your career (or life) trajectory could change dramatically with a subtle adjustment in your attitude, or a small improvement to your work ethic. Maybe you need to study a new topic or learn a new skill to earn a promotion; or re-read a book section before taking a make-or-break exam. Just remember that next step along your path to success might not reveal itself before your attitude and ethics illuminate the road ahead. It may not be readily apparent; but you’ve been preparing for that next goal in your life for years, already.

So, what are you waiting for???

By: Ryan Boling, Director of Training, HB NEXT


Complimentary COVID-19 Action Plan

HB NEXT understands the impact of the COVID-19 in the workplace.  So in order to reduce the impact of COVID-19 we want to give you some complimentary COVID-19 preparation tips.

Stay Informed

Stay abreast of guidance from federal, state, local, tribal, and/or territorial health agencies. Follow federal and state, local, tribal, and/or territorial (SLTT) recommendations regarding development of contingency plans for situations that may arise as a result of outbreaks, such as:

  • Increased rates of worker absenteeism.
  • The need for social distancing, staggered work shifts, downsizing operations, delivering services remotely, and other exposure-reducing measures.
  • Options for conducting essential operations with a reduced workforce, including cross-training workers across different jobs in order to continue operations or deliver surge services.
  • Interrupted supply chains or delayed deliveries.

Protecting Workers

For most employers, protecting workers will depend on emphasizing basic infection prevention measures. As appropriate, all employers should implement good hygiene and infection control practices, including:

  • Promote frequent and thorough hand washing, including by providing workers, customers, and worksite visitors with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, provide alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick.
  • Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Provide customers and the public with tissues and trash receptacles.
  • Discourage workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible.
  • Maintain regular housekeeping practices, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, equipment, and other elements of the work environment. When choosing cleaning chemicals, employers should consult information on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved disinfectant labels with claims against emerging viral pathogens. Products with EPA approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use of all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, PPE).

Proper response to the current pandemic is vital for all our clients.  We want to provide you with a comprehensive COVID-19 Safety Guideline document to help protect you and your company.  If you have any questions about proper practices or guidelines contact us right away.

Click Here to Download Complimentary COVID-19 Safety Guidelines

FMCSA Updates

FMCSA Announces Raise In Random Drug Test Percentage From 25% To 50%

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announces an increase in the minimum annual percentage rate for random controlled substances testing for drivers of commercial motor vehicles which require a CDL. Starting 2020, 50% of the average number of driver positions will be drug tested as opposed to the previous year’s 25%.

The rule change is in response to the percentage of positive drug test results from the past year surpassing the 1% mark. A provision in the 2001 final rule titled “Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing” requires the FMCSA administration to increase the minimum random testing percentage rate when percentages of positive tests reach above 1%.

FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

As many already know, the Drug Clearinghouse put in place by the FMCSA on January 6, 2020 has gone into effect. This requires all employers of CDL drivers to be registered on FMCSA’s Drug Clearinghouse. The increase of the minimum random required drug test percentage is NOT related to anything regarding the Drug Clearinghouse.

What does the Clearinghouse mean for employers?

A company must be registered before it can hire any CDL driver after January 6, 2020.

In addition to new hires, all current CDL drivers must be have their information submitted through the FMCSA Clearinghouse.

Each query will cost a company $1.25 and require certain release forms. Failing to comply with the new regulations may result in fines and penalties.

To View the Final Rule, CLICK HERE

The FMCSA has also released the following statement:

“If you are an employer currently experiencing technical difficulties accessing the Clearinghouse and are unable to conduct required pre-employment queries, you may hire a driver using solely the procedures set forth in 49 CFR 391.23€. Once FMCSA has determined and announced that users are able to access the Clearinghouse, pre-employment queries must also be conducted as required by section 382.701(a).”

If your company needs assistance or has questions about Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse or the new Drug Testing Requirements, please Ask HB NEXT, or call us directly at 770-619-1669.

What is a SWPPP?

The term SWPPP Stands for Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan.

As the term says, it is a plan to prevent pollution of storm water. They are required by the federal Clean Water Act and various State laws to try to reduce pollution via stormwater. They are broken up into 3 major industries: Construction, Industrial, and Municipal.  They all require a plan for preventing and/or reducing storm water pollution from those industries. A SWPPP addresses all pollutants and their sources, including sources of sediment linked to construction, construction site erosion and all other activities associated with construction. These can include things such as regular inspections, reporting, storm water sampling, effluent limits, installation and maintenance of best management practices (BMP’s), etc. They may also require industry specific training/qualifications for personnel who are involved with the SWPPP design and implementation.

To read up more on this topic, visit our SWPPP Page or you can simply Contact Us and we can answer any questions you might have.