Earlier this week, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced that all businesses in the construction industry, including those in new construction, renovation, and repair, as well as land subdivision and design-related field activities, inspection, and appraisals related to construction financing loans, and UCC building code plan review and inspection services, would be allowed to resume in-person activities in Pennsylvania as of May 1, 2020 on the condition that they strictly adhere to certain safety and social distancing guidelines.
Yesterday, the state government issued the following guidelines that all businesses in the construction industry must adhere to:
- Require social distancing (6-feet minimum distance between workers) unless the safety of the public or workers require deviation (e.g. drywalling, team lifting);
- Provide hand wash stations at appropriate locations on the job site, such as building entrances, break areas, food truck areas, offices, trailers, and egress areas;
- Implement cleaning or sanitizing protocols at all job sites and projects;
- Identify and regularly clean and disinfect areas that are at high risk for transmission (requirements to clean common areas and regularly trafficked spaces periodically);
- Ensure all gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people, maintaining 6-foot social distancing, when required to meet, even when conducted outside;
- Use virtual meetings, and disseminate information electronically to the extent feasible;
- Stagger shifts, breaks, work areas, and/or stacking of trades where feasible to minimize workers on the job site;
- Limit tool sharing and sanitize tools if they must be shared;
- Employ job site screening based on guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) to determine if employees should work;
- Prohibit from working any employees with any symptoms of COVID-19 and encourage sick employees to stay home;
- Prohibit unnecessary visitors to any project or job site and limit supplier deliveries;
- Limit access to enclosed spaces to the extent feasible;
- Ensure workers are traveling to and from the job site separately and, wherever possible, employees should not share a vehicle;
- Identify a “Pandemic Safety Officer” for each project or job site, or, if a large-scale construction project, then for each contractor at the job site, with the primary responsibility of the Pandemic Safety Officer being to convey, implement, and enforce the social distancing and other requirements for the protection of employees, suppliers, and other personnel at the job site; and
- Follow other guidance of the Department of Health and the CDC.
For residential construction projects, including new construction, renovation, and repair, such projects may not permit more than 4 individuals on the job site at any one time, including employees of both the general and subcontractors.
For commercial construction projects, which include multi-unit as well as student housing, enclosed projects or portions of enclosed projects, may not permit more than 4 individuals on the job site of 2,000 square feet or less, but 1 additional individual is allowed for each additional 500 square feet of enclosed area over 2,000 square feet. The enclosed square footage shall include all areas under roof that are under active construction at the time.
The aforementioned limitation on individuals at a job site would not include delivery people, code inspectors, or similar persons who require only temporary access to the job site and are not directly engaged in the construction activity.
Commercial construction firms, including particularly those managing large-scale construction projects, are encouraged to establish a written safety plan for each job site containing site specific details for the implementation of this guidance to be shared with all employees and implemented and enforced by the designated Pandemic Safety Officer.
The guidelines also provide that local governments may elect to impose more stringent requirements and businesses in the construction industry would then be required to adhere to the more stringent requirements.
If you have questions about these newly issued guidelines for construction in Pennsylvania, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and an attorney at Nochumson P.C. will immediately reach out to you to schedule a free consultation.