OSHA Launches COVID-19 Resources For Construction
OSHA’s COVID-19 Control & Prevention Site For Construction
OSHA has recently published an in-depth COVID-19 resource area on their website. Not only do they cover a plethora of topics dealing with general information about the new coronavirus, but at the bottom of their general resource page they have a link that pertains specifically to construction and COVID-19 issues. Regarding their construction guidelines OSHA states:
This guidance … contains recommendations as well as descriptions of mandatory safety and health standards. The recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content, and are intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace. The … General Duty Clause, [Section 5(a)(1)], requires employers to provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm. – OSHA
The Four Risk Levels
The site defines four risk levels of exposure for various activities and applications in construction.
Low Risk (Caution)
Tasks that allow employees to remain at least 6 feet apart and involve little contact with the public, visitors, or customers.
Note: For activities in the lower (caution) risk category, OSHA’s Interim Guidance for Workers and Employers of Workers at Lower Risk of Exposure may be most appropriate.
Tasks that require workers to be within 6 feet of one another.
Tasks that require workers to be in close contact (within 6 feet) with customers, visitors, or members of the public.
Entering an indoor work site occupied by people such as other workers, customers, or residents suspected of having or known to have COVID-19, including when an occupant of the site reports signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
Note: Employers may consider delaying this work following the guidance below.
Very High Risk
Category not applicable for most anticipated work tasks.
Note: Most construction work tasks are associated with no more than high exposure risk. (See the work tasks associated with lower, medium, or high risk.)
Other important topics covered on the OSHA site include:
- Engineering and Administrative Controls for jobsites
- Conducting a jobsite hazard analysis
- 12 COVID-19 points of safety to train your employees on
- How to screen employees and visitors entering an indoor jobsite environment.
- Considerations before entry into home environments or areas where construction is ongoing in occupied buildings
- Cloth face coverings vs. respirators on the jobsite
Safe Work Practices and PPE
The site also has some excellent information on Safe Work Practices to follow, as well as PPE suggestions specific to working during the pandemic. OSHA encourages employers to implement engineering and administrative controls on their jobsites to reduce the need for PPE, but when those controls are not possible or feasible, employers must comply with OSHA’s standards for PPE in construction (29 CFR 1926 Subpart E).
In limited circumstances, including situations involving close contact (i.e., within 6 feet) with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, respiratory protection may be needed and must be provided by the employer in accordance with the criteria below:
- When respiratory hazards exist, employers must comply with OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134). OSHA is providing enforcement flexibility under the standard, see enforcement memoranda.
- When disposable respirators are used, employers must comply with the requirements of OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134), including the requirement to train workers to don respirators before entry and to remove and properly dispose of respirators upon exit.”
OSHA’s Info Specific To The Construction Industry
COVID-19 – Control and Prevention | Construction Work | Occupational Safety and Health Administration
This guidance is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. It contains recommendations as well as descriptions of mandatory safety and health standards. The recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content, and are intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace.
OSHA’s General Information About COVID-19
Safety and Health Topics | COVID-19 – Control and Prevention | Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Control and Prevention Measures for protecting workers from exposure to, and infection with, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), depend on the type of work being performed and exposure risk, including potential for interaction with people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and contamination of the work environment.
COVID-19 Construction Updates
Tips For Disinfecting Your Equipment