Social distancing guidelines for construction

The Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration (NVOSHA) revised its social distancing guidelines for construction, but the tips could be applied in any state.

Posted April 23, 2020

The Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration (NVOSHA) revised its social distancing measures for construction, but the tips could be applied in any state, especially where guidance has not been issued. NVOSHA emphasizes that construction sector businesses are to continue aggressively addressing the spread of the COVID‐19 virus by following with the mandatory measures.

The following measures are required of businesses in the construction sector:

  • Restrict meetings, safety meetings/tailgate talks, and gatherings to no more than 10 people.
  • Ensure that proper social distancing is used for any gathering.
  • Provide sanitation and cleaning supplies for addressing common surfaces in multiple user mobile equipment and multiple user tooling.
  • Conduct daily surveys of changes to staff/labor health conditions. Leaders need to stay aware of the health and well‐being of the labor force. Many employers have implemented entry surveys of labor health conditions that include temperature scans and questioning workers.
  • Ensure that any identified first responders in the labor force are provided and use the needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and equipment for protection from communicable or infections disease. (29 CFR 1910.1030)
  • Provide access to potable and sanitary water. (29 CFR 1926.15)

Construction industry employers in Nevada must maintain strict social distancing practices to facilitate a minimum of six feet of separation between workers. When employees are conducting tasks where six feet of distancing is infeasible or impractical, employers must perform a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) for each task, procedure, or instance. The JHA must be equivalent in detail and scope as identified in Federal OSHA publication 3071.

Despite the employer’s efforts, employees don’t always follow social distancing requirements. The following measures are required of all Nevada construction sector projects and the employers involved in the project.

  • Employers are required to monitor employees during break, lunch/dinner, and slack periods to ensure that they are maintaining proper social distancing protocols.
  • If an employer representative identifies an instance where proper social distancing protocols are not being followed, the employee will be subject to the employer’s established methods for ensuring compliance with safety rules and work practices.
  • These observations apply to parking lots, staging areas, and any other location identified by the employer to be a supportive part of the overall project.

NVOSHA requests that employers distribute guidelines to all General Contractors, Subcontractors, or any other representatives, including but not limited to inspectors, utilities, vendors, material suppliers, independent contractors, or any other companies with employees present at a Nevada construction site. NVOSHA will be conducting random onsite inspections to ensure that the mandates are followed and implemented accordingly.

This article was written by Ed Zalewski of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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