While segments of the construction industry in California are exempt from Governor Newsom’s March 19th “Stay-at- Home” order, we are not exempt from the new rules about how to manage construction site safety in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many recent news accounts and social media videos have surfaced throughout the state, showing some construction worksites in plainly visible and situational non-compliance to recognized COVID-19 distancing and cleanliness guidelines. These include, not adhering to physical distance requirements (6-8 feet apart at all times including breaks), disinfection of common areas, tools or equipment, etc.
This situation is more urgent than it was before. While there may be relatively few firms who are not in compliance, their ignorance, inaction or indifference is causing the construction industry as a whole to come under fire in a false message that the industry is not safe and is not taking care of its workers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Safety on the job site always has been and will remain the absolute highest priority of our contractor members.
Now the Governor, the Mayor of Los Angeles, and other public officials are openly warning the construction industry that failure to follow these and different basic rules regarding COVID-19 will result in much more restrictive policies, up to and including shutting down of construction in the state. It has already happened in other states.
ECA urges our member contractors to raise the threshold of their safety standards and practices—taking into full account the critical emergency we are all facing as an industry. 0n March 31st, the City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety released new COVID-19 safety guidance for construction sites—accurately documented COVID-19 Exposure Control Plans . //ladbs.org/docs/default-source/publications/misc-publications/construction-siteguidance.pdf.
Other municipalities and counties are considering (or have already enacted) similar guidance and restrictions on construction that are more stringent than the Governor’s Executive Orders. It would be prudent to proactively draft an Exposure Control Plan for your company with advice from your legal counsel and insurance provider.
ECA is now part of a newly formed statewide construction association task force focused on safety, policy, advocacy and communication, with goals to help our members navigate the new and turbulent regulatory waters. With our labor partners, the task force is leading the way to an even better set of safety standards for our workforce. That and smart advocacy with government agencies and elected officials will help get the construction economy back on track.
By Ray Baca Executive Director Email: [email protected]