Apr 24, 2020

PA Governor Wolf Issues Guidance on Construction Industry Preparedness in Advance of May 1 Resumption of Work

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced earlier this week that construction projects across the Commonwealth would receive the green light to resume operations subject to safety limitations outlined in state-issued guidelines. The Administration’s official guidance was released late April 23, and can be accessed and downloaded here.

It is essential for all members of the construction industry to immediately review these site safety requirements and begin appropriate planning in advance. Trades will need to coordinate with owners and general contractors to assure that everyone is on the same page concerning these regulations, and that manpower and scheduling is planned accordingly. All construction in Pennsylvania will be subject to this new guidance, and projects which may have previously been operating subject to DCED life-sustaining waiver determinations must be brought into compliance with these rules.

Among the key points to note in the guidance, it is clear that every person present on a jobsite must wear masks/face coverings unless they are unable for medical or safety reasons. Each company operating on a project needs to establish protocols upon in the event an individual is exposed to someone diagnosed or likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19.

Proper social distancing is a must, and sites must provide hand washing and sanitizing stations for workers, along with sanitizing protocols for high risk transmission areas. Every business involved on a site must identify a “pandemic safety officer.”

Notably, under the guidance, residential construction projects may not permit more than four individuals on the job site at any time, not including those requiring temporary site access to who are not directly engaged in the construction activity.

For non-residential or commercial projects, the number of individuals permitted in enclosed portions of a building varies depending on the size of the enclosed space. Written safety plans for each work location are encouraged, containing site specific details for the implementation of this guidance published to all employees and enforced by the pandemic safety officer.

Contractors performing work at the direction of the Commonwealth, municipalities or school districts should defer to those public owners to determine what projects may continue. Local governments are able to impose more stringent requirements than those contained in the guidance; and in such instances, businesses must adhere to the heightened requirements.

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