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New Guidelines for Construction Workers in NY

August 7, 2020
construction guide people

The effects of COVID-19 are far-reaching, and the State of New York, our nation, and the world are scrambling to keep up. Nearly every occupation has been affected, and because the construction business is no different, new guidelines have been instigated. If you’ve been injured on the job as a construction worker, protect your claim and your future by consulting with an experienced NYC workers’ compensation attorney today.

OSHA’s Guidelines for Construction Companies and Workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched a new webpage on May 26 with guidance for construction companies and construction workers in the face of coronavirus. This guidance concentrates on how to reduce the risk of being exposed to the virus on the worksite. While these guidelines do not – in and of themselves – create any new legal obligations for construction companies, failure to follow them could leave employers in the construction industry facing general duty of care citations (pursuant to the General Duty Clause).

The General Duty Clause

OSHA’s General Duty Clause holds all employers responsible for providing their employees with a work environment that is devoid of recognized hazards that are either likely to cause or do cause serious harm or death, and the COVID-19 pandemic certainly qualifies. The majority of COVID-related investigations and citations that OSHA is currently seeing are based on employee complaints related to work environments that aren’t doing enough to protect them from the virus’s spread. When OSHA issues such citations, the attendant penalties can range from almost $10,000 to nearly $135,000 per violation.

The OSHA Guidelines for Construction Work

In addition to the tenets of social distancing and the use of personal protection, OSHA’s guidance includes all of the following:

  • If the work involved doesn’t qualify as essential and necessitates people (workers, visitors, customers, or anyone else) being closer than 6 feet apart, the work should be put off until it is safe to proceed.
  • If indoor construction work is deemed essential – or an emergency – and anyone who’s suspected of or known to have COVID-19 needs to be in close proximity to others – appropriate additional admin and engineering efforts should be applied, including the erection of plastic barriers.
  • Employers should continue to review their work practices as well as their administrative and engineering controls, to assess where high-demand PPEs are most needed and can be most effectively utilized.
  • Employers need to address the fact that construction workers may need to use multiple masks over the course of an 8-hour shift.
  • Workers and visitors to the site should be screened for signs of COVID-19, and additional admin controls, such as staggered work schedules, should be considered and implemented as appropriate.

Call an Experienced NYC Workers’ Comp Attorney Today

If you’re a construction worker who’s been injured on the job – as a result of Covid-19 or anything else – the formidable NYC workers’ compensation attorneys at Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman are committed to engaging our considerable experience and skill in our resolute efforts to resolve your claim favorably. We’re on your side, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 212-285-3300 for more information today.


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