OSHA Offers New Guidance for Construction on Pandemic, Masks

On May 27, OSHA posted new guidance for the construction industry with specific tips for engineering controls, administrative controls, topics for training, and more.

Greg Guidry, Ogletree Deakins, told PCCA that the guidance is notable because federal OSHA formally acknowledges that “[c]loth face coverings are not PPE.” This is important because it relieves employers of any requirement to conduct written worksite assessments and training for face coverings. Nevertheless, OSHA recommends their use in construction as a public health measure.

The guidance is at www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/construction.html.

Here is the OSHA press release on the guidance.

U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA Issues Guidance to Help Construction Workers During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a webpage (www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/construction.html) 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 earth-moving 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.

Visit OSHA’s coronavirus webpage (www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/construction.html) frequently for updates. For further information about the coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/).