Although construction projects are generally allowed to proceed under most COVID-19 stay at home orders, owners and contractors need to know how to proceed safely on their construction sites. Not only do workers and others on site need to be protected, but implementation of these protocols is also critical to avoid potential liabilities. Last week, the California Department of Industrial Relations – Division of Occupational Safety & Health (CAL/OSHA) released guidance regarding safety and health procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at construction sites. A link to the CAL/OSHA Safety and Health Guidance is provided here.
While the guidance states that it is not imposing any new legal obligations, it is imperative for businesses to not only be aware of these safety practices, but to incorporate these practices as appropriate on each construction site to protect its employees as well as subcontractors, suppliers and others who may be present on site. Otherwise, owners and contractors face potential exposure to regulatory action, including potential penalties and other liabilities, if they fail to properly incorporate these guidelines into the Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) at each construction site. Now is the time to update your current Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) to include recommended protocols for preventing the spread of the Coronavirus.