INSIGHTS & NEWS
WASHINGTON PHASE I CONSTRUCTION RESTART GUIDELINES
APRIL 27, 2020
On April 24, 2020, Governor Inslee issued an addendum to his Stay Home, Stay Healthy Proclamation that allows low-risk construction work to resume. The addendum applies to existing construction projects that fully implement the comprehensive Phase 1 Construction Restart COVID-19 Jobsite Requirements (“Restart Requirements”). The addendum rescinded the Construction Guidance Governor Inslee issued on March 25, 2020.
Prior to resuming work, a project must fully meet the Restart Requirements, including the provision of PPE and sanitation facilities. Any projects that are currently operating must come into full compliance with the Restart Requirements prior to May 1, 2020. Failure to comply with the Restart Requirements may result in the project being shut down and potential penalties by L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
Each contractor is required to develop a comprehensive COVID-19 exposure control, mitigation, and recovery plan. The plan must be posted and available at each job site and available for inspection by state and local authorities. Failure to post the plan may result in sanctions, including the project being shut down.
The following is a summary of the Restart Requirements that contractors are required to comply with.
COVID-19 Supervisor. Except for single-family residential projects with six (6) or fewer people onsite, each jobsite must have a site-specific COVID-19 supervisor that is present at all times during construction activities.
Safety Training. On the first day of work, and once a week thereafter, the contractor must conduct a safety training talk explaining the safety measures being implemented. Attendance shall be documented by the trainer.
Social Distancing. All persons on the jobsite must maintain proper social distancing of six (6) feet of separation. If proper social distancing cannot be maintained, the project is not considered low-risk and may not resume.
Employer Provided PPE. Contractors are required to provide PPE for their employees, including gloves, goggles, face shields, and/or face masks, as appropriate to the work being performed. Masks, eye protection and gloves must be worn at all times by all employees on the jobsite.
Sanitation/Cleanliness. Soap and running water shall be provided on all jobsites to promote frequent handwashing. If running water is unavailable, contractors must provide clean, tepid wash water as required by WAC 296-155-140. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers may supplement the water requirement but are not a replacement. Contractors are required to provide disinfectant supplies to workers throughout the jobsite and should frequently clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces such as shared tools, vehicles and other equipment, handrails, door knobs, and portable toilets. If these areas cannot be cleaned and disinfected frequently, the jobsite should be shut down until such time as they can be cleaned and disinfected frequently.
Employee Health/Symptoms. Employees should stay home or leave the jobsite if they are feeling sick or have been in close contact with a confirmed positive case. If a family member of an employee tests positive for COVID-19, the employee should follow the isolation/quarantine requirements established by the Washington Department of Health.
At the start of each shift, the contractor shall take the temperature of each employee reporting for work and ask whether they have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, or new loss of taste or smell. Any employee exhibiting these symptoms or a temperature higher than 100.4°F shall be sent home. The employees shall not return to work until they have been evaluated by a healthcare provider.
Employees who do not believe the worksite is safe shall be allowed to remove themselves from the jobsite. In the event that an employee removes themselves from the jobsite, contractors must comply with the expanded family and medical leave requirements of the FFCRA or allow the employee to use unemployment benefits, paid time off, or other available leave, at the employee’s discretion. Any employee joining a jobsite from a state that is not contiguous with Washington must self-quarantine for 14 days prior to starting work.
Job Site Visitors. The contractor must keep a daily attendance log of all workers and visitors on the jobsite. The log shall include the name, phone number, email for each worker or visitor and shall be kept for at least four weeks.
Contractors are responsible for fully implementing each of the 30 requirements contained in the attached Restart Requirements. Aside from the self-quarantine of employees from non-contiguous states and the daily attendance log, the requirements are subject to enforcement actions under L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health. If there are questions about how to comply with the construction safety practices, contractors can submit questions through the Washington Business Response Center.
During this period of change, businesses are advised to proceed with caution and to consult with legal counsel prior to taking any action about which they are uncertain. The employment lawyers at Socius Law Group are here to help you navigate through this period of change. If you would like to schedule a call to discuss these changes or our recommendations for your business, please contact Jeannette Adams Gorman (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jason Bergevin (email@example.com).
This is intended to be a source of general information, not an opinion or legal advice on any specific situation, and does not create an attorney-client relationship with our readers. If you would like more information regarding whether we may assist you in any particular matter, please contact one of our lawyers, using care not to provide us with any confidential information until we have notified you in writing that there are no conflicts of interest and that we have agreed to represent you on the specific matter that is the subject of your inquiry.