The Occupational Safety and Health Administration released a new webpage at the end of May with guidance for construction employers and workers as states and municipalities relax restrictions put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.
While the agency has not responded to repeated requests to enact enforceable standards related to the pandemic, the new guidance is intended to help both construction workers and employers stay safe on the job site.
Included in the new guidance are suggestions that contractors consider implementing the following:
- Use of cloth face coverings for all construction workers, as well as continued adherence to social distancing (at least 6 feet);
- Limiting of in-person meetings, including toolbox talks and safety meetings, both in time and in number of attendees;
- Ensuring good airflow in indoor construction and maintenance environments and instituting rigorous housekeeping protocols to reduce dust levels on job sites;
- Staggering of work schedules to reduce number of people on a job at any given time, employing such tactics as alternating workdays or adding extra shifts;
- Ensuring clean toilet and handwashing facilities, including regular disinfecting and refills of sanitizer dispensers;
- Identifying choke points like hallways or elevators where workers congregate and take steps to ensure social distancing; and
- Use of physical barriers, such as walls, closed doors or plastic sheeting in cases where workers might be in contact with individuals experiencing signs or symptoms consistent with the coronavirus.
Workers and employers can read more about the guidelines at osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/construction.html.