August 9, 2020

Volume X, Number 222

August 07, 2020

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OSHA Guidance for the Construction Industry During Coronavirus Disease 2019

We have issued several GT Alerts on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Our first Alert, published Jan. 31, 2020, provided general information on OSHA requirements and steps for employers to consider as COVID-19 began to appear in the United States, before work shutdown and shelter orders were in place. The second Alert, published March 25, 2020, provided guidance for essential workers.  The third Alert, published April 14, 2020, examined whether an employee’s COVID-19 case is work-related and recordable.

This fourth Alert covers recently published guidance provided by OSHA for the construction industry, “COVID-19 Guidance for the Construction Workforce.” Although OSHA targeted the construction industry, this concise list will be valuable for any employer.

  • Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick.

  • Allow workers to wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent them from spreading the virus.

  • Continue to use other normal control measures, including personal protective equipment (PPE), necessary to protect workers from other job hazards associated with construction activities.

  • Advise workers to avoid physical contact with others and direct employees/contractors/visitors to increase personal space to at least six feet, where possible. Where work trailers are used, all workers should maintain social distancing while inside the trailers.

  • Train workers how to properly put on, use/wear, and take off protective clothing and equipment.

  • Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.

  • Promote personal hygiene. If workers do not have immediate access to soap and water for handwashing, provide alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol.

  • Use Environmental Protection Agency-approved cleaning chemicals from List N or that have label claims against the coronavirus.

  • To the extent tools or equipment must be shared, provide and instruct workers to use alcohol-based wipes to clean tools before and after use. When cleaning tools and equipment, workers should consult manufacturer recommendations for proper cleaning techniques and restrictions.

  • Keep in-person meetings (including toolbox talks and safety meetings) as short as possible, limit the number of workers in attendance, and use social distancing practices.

  • Clean and disinfect portable jobsite toilets regularly. Hand sanitizer dispensers should be filled regularly. Frequently-touched items (i.e., door pulls and toilet seats) should be disinfected.

  • Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.

For more information, visit www.osha.gov/coronavirus or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).

©2020 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved. National Law Review, Volume X, Number 118

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About this Author

Michael G. Murphy, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, Orlando, Labor and Employment, Real Estate and Construction Law Attorney
Shareholder

Michael Murphy is a board certified construction lawyer who focuses his practice on defects, design claims, delay, disruption and acceleration claims, lien foreclosures, and arbitration on behalf of owners, developers, contractors and subcontractors. He reviews and draft construction contacts. He advises clients in the construction industry on OSHA compliance issues, workplace accident and fatality investigations, and contest of citations through trial. He also practices in the area of commercial litigation.

Michael has a Bachelor of Science in...

407-999-2509
Michael Taylor, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, Northern Virginia, Labor and Employment, Energy Law Attorney
Shareholder

Michael T. Taylor is Chair of the firm's Labor & Employment Practice's OSHA group. He focuses his practice on the representation of employers in a variety of industries regarding Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) matters across the country. Over the last fourteen years, Michael has defended scores of employers during enforcement litigation, many of which have involved a significant injury, fatality, or catastrophic event in the workplace. Michael also provides OSHA compliance counseling, OSHA inspection counseling, OSHA whistleblower representation, and OSHA due diligence reviews for clients. Michael has wide-ranging experience in the OSHA world, including his prior public service as General Counsel to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, the federal agency in charge of the trials and appeals of workplace safety and health disputes between federal OSHA and the regulated community. In 2013, EHS Today named Michael as one of the Top 50 People Who Most Influenced Environmental, Health, and Safety. A highly committed advocate, Michael's clients can rely on him to be present and engaged regarding any workplace safety and health issue in any state across the country.

Concentrations

  • Energy & natural resources
  • OSHA
  • Process safety management
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