Federal Agencies Publish COVID-19 Guidance for Construction Workers
by : Chadd L. Reynolds
While the Georgia Governor’s stay-at-home order was allowed to expire on April 30th, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. for most people (except people 65 and older, people in long-term care facilities, and people with moderate to severe asthma and other pre-existing conditions and chronic illnesses), certain federal agencies, the CDC, and OSHA, are continuing to publish guidelines to assist and help protect those in the construction industry from the dangers of the Coronavirus.
In addition to their general guidance for businesses and employers, on April 20, 2020, the CDC published new interim guidelines for critical infrastructure workers who may have come in contact with someone who may be or is COVID-19 positive. These potentially exposed workers may continue to work as long as they remain asymptomatic and certain additional protective measures are taken prior to and during their work shift, including
- Having their temperature taken and symptoms are assessed before they enter the facility/jobsite;
- Self-monitoring while under the supervision of their employer’s occupational health program;
- Wearing a facemask at all times at the workplace for fourteen (14) days after the last potential exposure;
- Maintaining six (6) feet and practicing social distancing measures in the workplace; and
- All areas and surfaces are being cleaned and disinfected.
Any employee who does become sick during the day should be sent home immediately and their workplace should be cleaned and disinfected. Any employee from the past two days having contact within six (6) feet of the sick employee should be considered exposed.
Along with the CDC, the U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA released an alert on April 21, 2020 that similarly lists safety tips employers can take to help protect construction workers. Some of these measures include
- Encouraging workers to stay home if they are sick;
- Training workers how to properly wear and remove personal protective equipment;
- Advising workers to avoid physical contact and increase personal space to at least six (6) feet where possible, including in trailers
- If handwashing is not available, providing alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60% alcohol; and
- Use EPA approved cleaning chemicals from List N to clean the workplace.
Construction employers and employees should remember to monitor updates from the CDC, Department of Labor, and other state or governmental agencies regarding workplace safety as events related to the Coronavirus continue to unfold.
The WCZ COVID-19 Response Team offers 24/7 access to attorneys for our clients’ legal needs as this situation continues to evolve.