The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a webpage with coronavirus-related guidance for construction employers and workers. The guidance includes recommended actions to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
Employers of workers engaged in construction -- such as carpentry, ironworking, plumbing, electrical, heating/air conditioning/ventilation, utility construction work, and earthmoving activities -- should remain alert to changing outbreak conditions, including as they relate to community spread of the virus and testing availability. In response to changing conditions, employers should implement coronavirus infection prevention measures accordingly.
The webpage includes information regarding:
- Using physical barriers, such as walls, closed doors, or plastic sheeting, to separate workers from individuals experiencing signs or symptoms consistent with the coronavirus;
- Keeping in-person meetings (including toolbox talks and safety meetings) as short as possible, limiting the number of workers in attendance, and using social distancing practices;
- Screening calls when scheduling indoor construction work to assess potential exposures and circumstances in the work environment before worker entry;
- Requesting that shared spaces in home environments where construction activities are being performed, or other construction areas in occupied buildings, have good air flow; and
- Staggering work schedules, such as alternating workdays or extra shifts, to reduce the total number of employees on a job site at any given time and to ensure physical distancing.
OSHA's most recent COVID-19 guidance (May 26, 2020) finds employers responsible for recording cases if:
- The case is a confirmed case of COVID-19, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- The case is work-related as defined by 29 CFR § 1904.5
- The case involves one or more of the general recording criteria set forth in 29 CFR § 1904.7
The guidance details the considerations OSHA will use to determine whether an employer has complied with this obligation and made a reasonable determination of work-relatedness.