OSHA Coronavirus Guidelines For Construction Workers
Bethlehem PA workers’ compensation lawyer explains what you need to know
The COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on many parts of the country and different sectors of the economy. One profession that was affected by COVID-19 was the construction industry. That’s why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued guidelines designed to keep construction workers safe and avoid contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the newest version of the Coronavirus.
OSHA Guidelines Designed for Construction Workers
While OSHA guidelines can apply to all construction workers, OSHA named the following occupations in its list of professions the federal agency was providing guidance to avoid contracting COVID-19:
- Iron workers
- Heating/ventilation/air conditioning ventilation (HVAC) workers
- Concrete workers
- Utility workers
- Construction workers
- Workers who operate earthmoving equipment (bulldozers, backhoes, etc.)
Level Of COVID-19 Risk For Different Construction Jobs
OSHA listed its four different standard levels of risk for contracting COVID-19 for construction workers based on the type of work they’re engaged in at a work site.
- Construction work which allow employees to keep at least 6 feet apart.
- Construction work which involves little or no contact with the public.
- Construction tasks which require workers to be within 6 feet of each other.
- Construction work which requires employees to be in close contact (within 6 feet) of the public.
- Construction tasks which require workers to work inside occupied by people suspected to have COVID-19 or who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Most construction tasks are not considered “very high” risk.
Screening Questions Construction Workers Should Ask Before Starting Work
In order to avoid contracting COVID-19, OSHA advises construction workers to ask the following questions before starting such work:
- “Is the construction work at an occupied work site essential, urgent, or emergency work?”
- “Are there any individuals in the occupied site under quarantine or isolation due to a confirmed case of COVID-19?”
- “If the work is determined to be essential, urgent or emergency work, are there any individuals or contractors in the occupied site suffering flu-like symptoms to which your employees may be exposed?”
If the answer is “yes” to any or all of these questions, OSHA advises construction workers and construction companies to closely follow infection protection measures, which include wearing a mask, keeping a distance of 6 feet whenever possible and wearing gloves or washing hands regularly.
Other Recommendations By OSHA For Construction Workers
Along with maintaining a safe worksite that adheres to all the recommended safety protocols designed to avoid contracting COVID-19, OSHA also advises construction workers and construction companies to take the following preventative measures:
- Provide N-95 respirators (or other respirators with high level of protection) to workers.
- Remain alert to COVID-19 outbreaks in your region.
- Constantly assess the hazards you or your employees could be exposed to at a work site.
- Use closed doors and walls whenever feasible as barriers between workers.
- Provide training to workers on ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Understanding Your Legal Rights As A Construction Worker
Construction work can be dangerous. But employers have an obligation to make sure they provide a safe and healthy working environment. If you sustained an injury while working at a construction site or contracted COVID-19 at work due to unsafe working conditions, you may be able to take legal action or obtain workers’ compensation benefits. Learn more about your legal options.