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Pennsylvania Issues Guidance to Reopening of Construction Industry

Published on

April 24, 2020

The construction industry is looking forward to its May 1 reopening date, but the state wants to make sure that companies and workers will be doing it responsibly.

Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday issued guidance for the industry that sets forth steps the construction industry must take as it prepares to renew operations.

According to the guidance, all businesses and employees in the construction industry must comply with all existing orders from the state and follow applicable guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Steps the industry must take include:

  • Identify a “Pandemic Safety Officer” for each project or work site. If it is a large-scale construction project, then each contractor on the site must convey, implement and enforce social distancing and other requirements.
  • Require minimum social distancing of six feet minimum distance between workers unless the safety of the public or workers require deviation, such as drywalling and team lifting.
  • Provide handwashing stations at appropriate locations.
  • Ensure workers are traveling to and from the job site separately and do not share a vehicle where possible.
  • Limit tool sharing and sanitize tools if they must be shared.

For residential construction, all projects – including new construction, renovation and repair – are limited to no more than four persons on the job site at any time. That restriction includes employees of both prime and subcontractors, but does not include delivery persons, code inspectors and others requiring only temporary access to the site who are not engaged in construction activities.

For non-residential or commercial sites, the number of persons restricted on the site is limited to no more than four persons on job sites of 2,000 square feet or less, and one additional person for each additional 500 square feet of enclosed area over 2,000 square feet. As with residential jobs, the restriction includes employees of both prime and subcontractors, but not delivery persons, code inspectors or others requiring only temporary access to the site who are not engaged in construction activities. Commercial contractors are encouraged to establish a written safety plan for each work location containing site specific details for the implementation of the guidance.

Construction companies gearing up for the May 1 date should begin establishing work plans that comply with the new guidance, including identification of a pandemic safety officer. Commercial construction entities should also prepare a written safety plan for dissemination to employees.

If your business needs assistance with compliance, including preparation or review of a safety plan, please contact me or any member of the Barley Snyder Employment Practice Group.

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