COVID-19, IRHB Regulated Community Guidance (Effective April 1, 2020)

In response to inquiries regarding regulatory requirements, licenses, permits/variances, certifications, notifications and inspections due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the following is implemented effective Wednesday, April 1, 2020 through Tuesday, June 30, 2020 (or as otherwise directed).

IRHB Regulated Community Guidance:

In this unprecedented time, please know that the IRHB is working hard to keep business as usual and provide support to our regulated community and the general public.  Due to the evolving COVID-19 impact on travel and general operations, we recognize there may be limitations and restrictions which affect the ability to meet certain regulatory requirements.  We ask for your patience and understanding as we provide as much flexibility as possible while ensuring continued protection of public health.

 

Asbestos and Lead Section – Asbestos Renovation and Demolition Notification

  • IRHB staff will continue to process all notification submittals; however, applicants should expect slight delays due to reduced staffing.
  • Applications and additional information should be submitted via mail or email instead of in person whenever possible to promote social distancing. Receipts will be mailed to the authorized individual named on the application.
  • Additional questions and status requests may be directed to:

Tom Lileikis, Asbestos and Lead Section Supervisor  [email protected]    Ph. (808) 586-5800

Asbestos and Lead Section – Certification, Accreditation and Registration

  • IRHB staff will continue to process all new applications and renewals; however, applicants should expect slight delays due to reduced staffing.
  • Appointments must be made ahead of time to ensure that a staff member is available to process your application and issue your credentials.  In addition, no individuals will be allowed into the office, unless an exam was scheduled.
  • Any questions on the status of certifications, accreditations, etc. may be directed to:

Tom Lileikis, Asbestos and Lead Section Supervisor [email protected]   Ph. (808) 586-5800

Asbestos and Lead Section – Inspections

  • The IRHB has temporarily postponed all outer island inspections due to travel restrictions and will be limiting non-critical Oahu inspections.
  • Complaint-driven and life-safety inspections will be reviewed and conducted on a case-by-case basis.

 

Indoor Air Quality Unit – AC/Ventilation Form-1 Permit and Plan Review

  • IRHB staff will continue to process all Form-1 permit applications; however, applicants should expect slight delays due to reduced staffing.
  • Applications and additional information should be submitted via mail or email instead of in person whenever possible to promote social distancing.
  • Walk-ins for exempt plan review are still accepted, but you are advised to call ahead to ensure a reviewer is available.
  • Additional questions and status requests may be directed to:

Daryn Yamada, IAQ Unit Supervisor  [email protected]    Ph. (808) 586-4700

Joshua Marvit, AC-Ventilation Specialist  [email protected]    Ph. (808) 586-4700

Indoor Air Quality Unit – Inspections

  • The IRHB has temporarily postponed all outer island inspections due to travel restrictions and will be limiting non-critical Oahu inspections.
  • Complaint-driven and life-safety inspections will be reviewed and conducted on a case-by-case basis.
  • Specific indoor air quality questions and complaints may be directed to:

Shawn Haruno, IAQ Specialist  [email protected]    Ph. (808) 586-4700

Indoor Air Quality Unit – Guidance on Indoor Air and the Operation of HVAC Systems During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets and spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).  In addition, transmission from direct person to person contact, indirect contact with contaminated high-touch surfaces, and through the hands to the mucous membranes may also be significant factors.  For these reasons, the following basic principles appear far more important in preventing transmission than anything related to HVAC systems: (additional information on how to protect yourself and others can be found on CDC’s website here.)

  1. Wash your hands often.
  2. Avoid close contact.
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  4. Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  5. Cover coughs and sneezes.
  6. Clean and disinfect.
  7. Monitor your health.

 

That being said, modifications to non-healthcare building HVAC system operation may be implemented in an effort to further reduce airborne exposures.  These include increasing outdoor air ventilation, improving central air and other HVAC filtration, keeping systems running longer hours, adding portable room air cleaners, maintaining temperature and humidity as applicable to the infectious aerosol of concern, and bypassing energy recovery ventilation systems that leak potentially contaminated exhaust air back into the outdoor air supply.  It is important to note that none of these measures should be implemented without first consulting with your HVAC design or maintenance engineer.  Recommendations for healthcare buildings and further general guidance on the operation of Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems can be found on the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) website.

Additional information on indoor air and Coronavirus can be found at EPA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About the Coronavirus

 

Noise Section – Permits and Variances

  • IRHB staff will continue to process all new permit and variance applications, as well as extension requests and amendments; however, applicants should expect slight delays due to reduced staffing.
  • Applications should be submitted via mail instead of in person whenever possible to promote social distancing. Receipts will be mailed to the authorized individual named on the application.
  • Extension requests and amendments may be submitted either by mail or email.
  • Additional questions or status checks may be directed to:

Shawn Haruno, Acting Noise Supervisor  [email protected]   Ph. (808) 586-4700

Noise Section – Inspections

  • The IRHB has temporarily postponed all outer island inspections due to travel restrictions and will be limiting non-critical Oahu inspections.
  • Complaint-driven and life-safety inspections will be reviewed and conducted on a case-by-case basis.
  • All noise permit and variance holders shall ensure they are adhering to their allowed activity hours and conditions.

 

Radiation Section – Facility and Service Licenses

  • IRHB staff will continue to process all new and renewal license applications; however, applicants should expect slight delays due to reduced staffing.
  • Applications should be submitted via mail instead of in person whenever possible to promote social distancing. Receipts will be mailed to the authorized individual named on the application.
  • License amendments may be submitted either by mail or email.
  • For dental and veterinary facilities expiring on March 31, 2020, a grace period has been instituted. Renewals should be submitted via mail as soon as possible and postmarked no later than April 30, 2020.
  • Facilities that cannot schedule medical physics or area surveys due to impacts on travel and facility operations should read the additional guidance below or contact our office for further instruction.
  • Additional questions and status requests may be directed to:

Daryn Yamada, Radiation Section Supervisor  [email protected]   Ph. (808) 586-4700

Radiation Section – Inspections

  • The IRHB has temporarily postponed all outer island inspections due to travel restrictions and will be limiting non-critical Oahu inspections. This includes all MQSA inspections performed under FDA contract.  For further information on MQSA inspections, please see guidance here:  MQSA Inspection Information Related to COVID-19
  • Complaint-driven and life-safety inspections will be reviewed and conducted on a case-by-case basis.

Radiation Section – Medical Physics Calibration and Surveys

In response to the increasing limitations of medical physicists’ access to imaging facilities, we are providing guidance for the initial/annual medical physicist equipment survey requirements specified in Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR), Chapter 11-45 as outlined below.  Inquiries regarding extensions to federal or accreditation requirements should be directed to those entities (Mammography guidance below is from FDA and is provided for information purposes only).

  • Mammography Equipment Surveys – Facilities for which the annual medical physicist survey falls within the time period January 2020 to June 2020, FDA intends to automatically grant a two-month extension (from the FDA 14-month timeframe) for the facility to complete the annual survey.  A request for an extension does not need to be filed with FDA. Guidance here: MQSA Inspection Information Related to COVID-19

Additional questions may be directed to:  Terri Jones, FDA Radiological Health Representative at [email protected]

  • CT and Fluoroscopy Equipment Surveys – Annual surveys covered under HAR 11-45, Subchapter 6 are extended to 16 months from the date of last equipment evaluation. Facilities needing a longer extension and those who are unable to obtain required physics or acceptance testing on new/repaired units are asked to contact the State for further guidance.  Individual requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • Radiation Therapy Equipment Calibration/Surveys – Initial and annual surveys covered under HAR 11-45, Subchapter 14 may be extended. Facilities needing an extension and those who are unable to obtain required physics or acceptance testing on new/repaired units are asked to contact the State for further guidance.  Individual requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • Area Radiation Surveys – Surveys required under HAR 11-45-34 may be extended and facilities should contact us for further guidance. Individual requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • Additional questions and state extension requests may be directed to:

Daryn Yamada, Radiation Section Supervisor  [email protected]   Ph. (808) 586-4700

 

Radiologic Technology Board (RTB) – Licensure

  • IRHB staff will continue to process all new and renewal license applications; however, applicants should expect slight delays due to reduced staffing.

In response to potential shortages of radiologic technologists and the possible need to provide emergency relief as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, temporary exemptions are being addressed relative to the licensing requirements specified in Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), Chapter 466J and HAR, Chapter 11-44.  The following has been implemented effective April 16, 2020 through Governor Ige’s Executive Order 20-04 and remains in effect for the emergency period, unless terminated by separate proclamation, whichever shall occur first:

  • To the extent necessary, this exemption allows out-of-state radiologic technologists or those previously licensed pursuant to Chapter 466J, HRS but who are no longer current and active, to practice in their appropriate field in Hawai’i without a license, provided that the individual meets the following minimum criteria:
    • Currently registered and in good standing with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) in radiography, radiation therapy technology, or nuclear medicine technology; or
    • Currently certified and in good standing with the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) in nuclear medicine technology; or
    • Previously licensed in Hawai’i but no longer current and active; and
    • Have never had their license revoked or suspended, and are hired by a state or county agency or facility that possesses a valid radiation facility license.
  • Facilities are further required to submit to the Radiologic Technology Board the following information for individuals performing radiologic technology under this exemption: Full name; ARRT, NMTCB, or previous license number; and a photocopy of the current ARRT or NMTCB credential card or defunct license (if available).

At the end of the emergency period or upon termination of this order, unlicensed radiologic technologists must first apply for and procure a license in order to continue practicing in Hawai’i.  Additional questions and exempt radiographer notifications should be directed to:

Daryn Yamada, RTB Executive Officer  [email protected]   Ph. (808) 586-4700

 

 

Last update: April 14, 2020
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