Hanwha Removes ISC West Coronavirus Waiver

By John Honovich, Published Mar 02, 2020, 08:12am EST (Info+)

Hanwha Techwin has removed a waiver that would have put any liability for contracting Coronavirus at ISC West on its employees.

Last week, the waiver created a stir privately amongst industry salespeople as fears over and cases of coronavirus have risen, while ISC West says they will not cancel amidst exhibitors, such as Avigilon, dropping out. Indeed, last week, a related question was asked: If I Die From Coronavirus Caught At ISC West, Can I Sue My Employer?

Inside this note, we examine:

  • Hanwha Techwin's waiver
  • Removal of waiver
  • No Hanwha South Korean Staff coming to ISC West
  • Legality unclear, Morale impact clearly bad
  • Overall concerns of employees having to work at ISC West

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Korean ********* *** ******

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** ******* ******** ********* ***** ** Hanwha ********* *** ********, ** ******* staff **** *** ************ ** ***** will ******, ******** *** *** **** attendance ** ***** ******** ***** *********. Our *********’ ****-***** ***** ****** ******** else, *** **** **** ****** ****** Hanwha *******’* ****** *** ********.

***** *** ****** * ********** *** Coronavirus, **** *** ******-************* ** ******** **********, ******** **** *** *** *****. South ***** *** *** ****** * ****** ******* **** *** US ***.

*** ************* ** ***** ****** ********* could **** ****** ******* ******** **** for ****** ***** *** *** **** booth ********.

Hanwha ******* ****** *****

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Employee ********

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*** ****** ******* ****** ****** * flashpoint ** *** **** ** ** really ******* **** *** ********* ********* of ****** ** **** *** ****.

Legality *******, ****** ******* ***

** *** *** ***** ***** *** legality ** **** ******* (*******,** *** ********* ********** *** *** own **-*****, ****-**** ********).

** *** ****** ***** **** *** morale ****** ** ****** ********* **** such * ****** ** ***. **** for ********* ***** *** *** *** strongly ******* ***** ***********, ****** ** sign **** * ****** ***** **** them **** ********* ** ** ****** them ** '**** ***' ** ********* that **** ******* ****** **** (**** attendance) *** ***** **** ************* (**** or ***** ***** **** ***** ** coronavirus).

Conclusion - *****

** *** * *** **** *** Hanwha ** ***** **** * ****** but ** *** ******** **** **** rescinded **.

*********, *** ********'* ****, ** *** catches *********** ** *** **** ** else *** ********* *** **** (****, the ********* ** *** ****, ***, the **** *******, *** ******'* ********, etc.) **** ******* ****** * ***** industry *****.

**** / ****

Comments (53)

If anyone knows of any other companies pursuing anything like this, please let know, confidentially email me at john@ipvm.com

Also, would be curious to hear how other companies are handling this. Please share in the comments or email me.

As for us, a week ago, I emailed our employees that had been planning to go to ISC West recommending we/they do not go to ISC West. I was not thinking about liability but the general risk that IPVM could play a role in infecting them or their families. One IPVM employee currently wants / plans to go to ISC West (the other 4 who had been planning, including myself, are not going).

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So does your suggestion that employees of IPVM not attend mean the IPVM booth is being cancelled?

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the IPVM booth is being cancelled?

Jack, good question. I've asked Reed / ISC West for clarification on what it means for a booth to be officially 'cancelled'.

The reality is we will not be able to staff it, so whether we officially cancel or just no show, the result at the show will be the same.

For example, ipConfigure's CEO who announced they will not be present at their 30 x 30 booth said they were not showing but also not cancelling, explaining:

There is no benefit in canceling with Reed from our view. We will have some signage on the floor apologizing for our absence.

The no benefit alludes to no refunds.

Again, checking with ISC West on what the mechanics or differences are in actually cancelling vs just no showing. I will update with feedback from them.

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They did the same a few years ago (at the annual partner summit) when Zika was the big deal.

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To employees, attendees or both?

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IIRC, Both.

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I know for a fact they did with employees. I don’t know about attendees.

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We were a sponsor.

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I have not encountered any Hanwha stock shortages yet. Anyone else? Is their manufacturing full go?

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I have not encountered any Hanwha stock shortages yet.

Hanwha response:

The impact on our production due to coronavirus has been minimal. The majority of factories in China that supply us components are back up and running. So while they do need to catch up with production, there has been no immediate impact on our business.

Note: Hanwha Techwin manufacturers video surveillance in Vietnam and Korea, related: Hanwha Moves Global Manufacturing From China To Vietnam - Factory Visit Report

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The 33% who voted “the employee who caught it” must be high ranking sales executives that know they have a lot of money at stake here. I can’t understand how the employee who caught it would be liable. The fact that 1/3 of respondents feel the employee is responsible should be ashamed of themselves for allowing greed to cloud their judgment. Guarantee if the voters were not anonymous the poll would be a lot more like 90% to 10% or even less would say employee is responsible.

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Sorry you feel this way, Probably got to the high ranking status by not allowing someone else to dictate their path forward. Be your own person, your company makes decisions for the company, not for you personally.

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I think the wording of the question changes the response. "The person's employer who sent them there"

Sent implies the employee had no choice, thus the employer should be responsible for whatever happens to the employee when they are there.

If they are provided the option to go/not go then the responsibility is on the employee as they chose to go.

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If they are provided the option to go/not go then the responsibility is on the employee as they chose to go

Ken, that’s an interesting point. I don’t know how that would be handled legally but I could certainly see it being used as a rationale.

One practice challenge is that some or many employees are wary of staying home if their management is in favor of going since they are worried about being viewed as less of a team player.

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I guess how you answered depends on your perspective. I think some feel it is a matter of personal responsibility.

If my employer insists that I attend even if I am strongly opposed to going, and I decide to attend despite my concerns, then the decision to go is ultimately my own.

If I don't go and lose my job, I will then try to find an employer (like John :-) that cares about their employees (as rare as those are) and doesn't treat them like disposable assets.

My family and my life are far more important than my job. So, it us up to me to make the best decision for myself, even if that means losing my job. That is why I'm in the other 1/3. Not greed.

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Where's the poll for:

1. It will be cancelled one way or another.

2. It will go on with a huge attendance drop.

3. It will go on with only a modest drop in attendance.

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Poll added:

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more choices:

1) the person who caught it

2) the person's employer who sent them there

3) the person who begged his employer to go

4) c'est la vie

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3) the person who begged his employer to go

I can assure you there are none of these right now. Even at my firm where most of the team is oblivious to most world events there is a high level of anxiety. If one or two more major attendees we represent or one major customer were to pull out we would ditch the show or make it non-mandatory for those who still want to go, similiar to IPVM.

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While you're mulling over whether or not to go to ISC-West, are you also contemplating canceling the following for the next month? :

Letting your kids attend public school, going to a concert or sporting event, visiting a restaurant, going grocery shopping, using public transportation, seeing a movie or show in a theater, going to church, going into any work environment that has more than just a few people, or flying ANYWHERE for work.

If you're not considering cancelling all of the above, then the additional risk you assume by going to ISC-West is a rounding error.

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to who ever voted funny.....

Japan cancels school for a month

I would post more my opinion on how bad I think it will be or what I think should be done, but it would end up being deleted by john for inappropriate for this discussion.

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Thanks Eddie.

I certainly wasn't trying to be funny. My point is, if people are taking Coronavirus as seriously as the runs on essentials at Costco would indicate, or if you're genuinely concerned about attending ISC-West because of Coronavirus, but aren't taking any of the other precautions I mentioned above, you're giving yourself a very false sense of security. Because most of the human interactions we all have on a daily basis as part of our regular lives pose a much larger cummulative threat than going to Vegas for a week.

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most of the human interactions we all have on a daily basis as part of our regular lives pose a much larger cummulative threat than going to Vegas for a week.

You should speak for yourself :) ISC West, for me, is the singular highest point of me interacting with people in real life, all year long, by a landslide.

How much a person goes out varies. Some people live in Manhattan and go to cocktail parties every night. For that case, I agree with you. No difference between ISC West and partying nightly in Manhattan.

But for most of us that live more mundane lives, ISC West represents an extreme amount of interpersonal interaction with people from all over the world.

More broadly, I do agree about taking other precautions. Not going to ISC West will not guarantee you will not get Coronvairus but going to it, for most people, is going to significantly increase the possibilities of being infected.

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I'll politely disagree, and maintain that for most people who have regular, ordinary, first-World lives, the lion's share of interactions I described above are a regular, daily thing.

They have greater risk contracting it from their school-age children who contracted it at school, or from their daily ride in the Train into the city (New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco), than they do attending a trade show.

There's a reason Japan STARTED their efforts by closing schools for a month.

Mundane or not, the exponential amount of people you come into contact with via all the interactions I listed before is very real for 99% of us.

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most people who haveregular, ordinary, first-World lives

You talking about me? :)

from their daily ride in the Train into the city (New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco)

That's 10% of the US population. I don't disagree at all that there is a range of experiences but there are a lot of people (most) who live in the suburbs or exurbs and don't regularly take the subway daily, go to nightclubs, etc.

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John,

Okay, sure. If you live in a rural enviornment, and your kids go to a private school, or a very small public school, and your normal exposure to other humans is minimal because you do all your grocery shopping on Amazon, then yes sure in that instance, attending ISC-West may represent a significant incremental risk to contracting Coronavirus that is otherwise not present in your normal lives.

But for the other 90% of the population in this country, one or more of the daily interactions with a large number of other humans is real.

Your mileage may vary.

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No again. Doesn't need to be rural. Suburban and small towns also have far less chance at this stage. Anyone taking personal vehicles and keeping their distance can be much safer than being in large groups in confined spaces where close interaction and breathing the same air are the point. I would agree that schools are likely to be the most problematic.

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Kids are grown, commute to work, sit in my office most the day.
Point to Mr. Honovich.

...Buuut, my wife works at our town's public library.
Point to Mr. Undisclosed Mfg. #6.

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To UM#6, imagine a two-by-two matrix with one axis being the degree/frequency of close interactions, and the other axis being degree of mixing of the global human population. This creates 4 quadrants of risk.

Quadrant #1 - Low interaction, Low diversity: An example might be you and your family hold up in your house watching Netflix for month. Extremely low risk unless one of you is already infected.

Quadrant #2 - Low interaction, high diversity: Camping trip to Yosemite where you might have people from all over the planet coming but you don't interact with any of them. Modest risk mitigated by washing your hands frequently.

Quadrant #3 - High interaction, low diversity: trips to your local grocery store, costco, school. Lots of touching of shared surfaces, face-to-face interactions, et cetera. Modest-high risk depending on the infection rate in your local community. If infection rate in the community is non-existent (e.g., Ohio currently), there is low risk.

Quadrant #4 - High interaction, high diversity: ISC West is a prime example of something that draws crowds from a numerous locations on the planet, many of them with uncertain infection rates and then having people shaking hands with hundreds of others, talking, touching lots of the same surfaces going to congested areas together. This creates the maximum opportunity to spread pathogens. I.e., the risk is significantly higher than going to your local grocery store.

But then, these might be risks you are comfortable with but I would caution your analysis on risk equivalency.

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I'm sure somebody else has said this already, but I'd be more concerned about standing in a crowded line at an airport (with total strangers all around). Or riding in a plane with a hundred or so strangers, all sharing the same confined space for several hours.

According to a report by the National Academy of Sciences, people with the flu aren't likely to infect others more than 2 seats away. But Coronavirus is more contagious.

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If you're not considering cancelling all of the above, then the additional risk you assume by going to ISC-West is a rounding error.

it's not the risk of getting the virus that concerns me, clearly

it's the risk that i check into the Sands and somebody else there gets it, and i'm stuck in Vegas for 14+ days and can't even gamble...

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Pretty sure the casinos stay open for anything short of an extinction-level event.

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Pretty sure the casinos stay open for anything short of an extinction-level event.

good to hear. as long as i can still blow on my lucky dice...

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Helpful OSHA resource shared by Scott Fischer in another thread:

OSHA is treating COVID-19 as a recordable illness when a worker is infected on the job. Safety and Health Topics | COVID-19 - Standards | Occupational Safety and Health Administration

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This is sure to drive wary corporations to a safer stance. Interesting stuff.

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Go to the show and use common sense

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I still plan on attending ISC West

We have about 10 people coming

None of them are being forced to go

As a matter of fact

If they don't want to come, thats fine by me

I also did not stock up on water pasta and canned goods

I don’t believe in all the drama

I agree with the previous commentators

There are so many other interactions to cancel

I am on my way to the Javitz for a show now

My wife went to a Celine Dion concert Saturday night

I think this is all being blown out of proportion

Hopefully I am right 😊

If I am wrong, John will you adopt my kids 🙃

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How would catching ANY sort of cold or virus or whatever be any different than if you caught something at home, at the office, on vacation, from your kids school, at jury duty, while visiting a client, or at ISC west?

I don't understand how this possibly could be any employers responsibility.

The show is not cancelled, there is no travel restriction or advisory within the US and the overall risk is apparently very low in the US. Until that situation officially changes, what are employers, ISC attendees and the general public supposed to do other than carry on with life as usual?

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No travel restrictions unless you work for someone like: Twitter, Salesforce, JCI, Ipconfigure, etc...

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CAST Lighting is coming and looking forward to it. We are introducing a new low voltage LED POE solution and want to show it off.

Wearing a N95 mask on the plane and not shaking hands is prudent but life goes on. Experts are now coming out and saying the flu is much more worse.

See you there!

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What experts? You might want to question your sources.

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We are introducing a new low voltage LED POE solution and want to show it off.

just to be safe bring some that operate in the uV range

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When I was growing up, we had atomic bomb drills. Remember, head down under the desk and kiss your...goodbye.
I made a cootie catcher back then so I think I'm safe.

See you there. This will be an interesting one.

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As an FYI

POINTS

  • The flu remains a higher threat to U.S. public health than the new coronavirus.
  • This flu season alone has sickened at least 19 million across the U.S. and led to 10,000 deaths and 180,000 hospitalizations.
  • Roughly a dozen cases of the deadly coronavirus have been identified in the U.S., though the number has mushroomed across its outbreak zone in China.
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The flu remains a higher threat to U.S. public health than the new coronavirus.

True, but this is trending upwards in terms of infections with a (possibly) higher death rate than the current versions of the flu. The 2% death rate that has been covered is roughly on par with the Spanish Flu in the US in 1918. Still, the 2% number is either optimistic or way too pessimistic depending upon what data is available at the moment. There is simply not enough data to reflect an accurate ratio. If 2% is accurate, what's 2% of the population in your country?

This flu season alone has sickened at least 19 million across the U.S. and led to 10,000 deaths and 180,000 hospitalizations.

Again, the death percentage is much higher on this right now.

Roughly a dozen cases of the deadly coronavirus have been identified in the U.S., though the number has mushroomed across its outbreak zone in China.

Your data is dated. The US has 108 cases and 6 deaths. Don't try to calculate any percentages based off that number. It does not cover unreported/mild symptom cases where people don't go to the hospital.

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All valid points and yes as of today there 6 cases of death in the usa and most are elderly (70 and up) and had additional health issues. Thanks for sharing your data.

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If I am asked to sign a waiver, the answer is "no" and "where do I send my letter of resignation?"

Feb 24th was a turning point where the number of new cases reported globally (outside of China) exceeded reported cases in China and that trend has continued to grow. With South Korea, Japan, Italy, Singapore and Iran reporting a significant upward trend in cases reported over the past several weeks it doesn't appear the transmission of the virus has been contained. Even with the restrictions that have been established in those and other countries the number of new cases is still trending upward.

The following report gives an excellent snapshot of the implications for business.

Coronavirus' business impact: Evolving perspective | McKinsey

We are in the risk management/avoidance/protection business right? Protect your people, protect your business and mitigate risk factors. Maybe it isn't time to over-react just yet, but if the number of new cases reported doesn't slow or reverse trend I think ISC West could be a ghost town. Given the global nature of our industry it is a big risk to take.

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do you think that living in US is safer than Korea or Italy?

I don't think so.

If US government tested all the suspected virus cases, the number would be larger than those Asian countries.

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I was merely siting the details of the report, not commenting on the relative safety of one nation vs. another. I agree the US is probably no safer than Korea or Italy. Las Vegas is a common destination for global travelers and the ISC West show further concentrates them in a specific location with close contact among the participants.

"If US government tested all the suspected virus cases, the number would be larger than those Asian countries."

That comment is highly doubtful based on the data/information available.

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Wear gloves and mask.

As an additional benefit it will keep you from being scanned on fingerprint readers, and from facial recognition.

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If you were doing business in a country where a lawsuit could wipe you out...

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Can we all just agree to a no handshake policy this year? I understand it won’t completely prevent things, but I think we’d all like it better anyway.

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Industry attorney Ken Kirschenbaum has weighed in on this, saying the worker cannot sue their employer:

An article in IPVM raised the question of whether an employee could sue his or her employer if they contracted the Coronavirus. The answer is, they can’t.

He compared coronavirus to the cold or flu:

It’s doubtful that anyone has been successful claiming workers comp benefits for a cold or even the flu.

However, he did that if attendance was mandatory, it might impact the decision:

Whether workers comp applies may turn on whether the employee’s attendance at ISC was mandatory or voluntary.

Also, Kirschenbaum is not afraid of the cold flu coronavirus as he was still planning to go, until ISC West cancelled / postponed.

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