Governor Wolf Issues Guidance for Construction Industry Set to Resume on May 1, 2020
On April 23, 2020, Governor Wolf issued guidance for the resumption of construction activities, starting on May 1, across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The guidance is binding on all businesses in the construction industry.
Additionally, the guidance notes that local governments may issue additional rules and that businesses must follow the more stringent requirement.
The guidance comprises additional requirements on top of the orders of the Secretary of Health dated April 5 (relating to building safety measures) and April 15 (relating to building safety measures and labor protections).
Across all construction sites, businesses must:
- Follow six-foot social distance protocols “unless the safety of the public or workers require deviation (e.g. drywalling, team lifting).
- Provide handwashing stations for employees.
- Strictly limit gatherings to not more than 10 people.
- Use virtual meetings where feasible.
- Stagger shifts, breaks, work areas, and/or stacking of trades where feasible to minimize workers on site.
- Limit the sharing of tools and sanitize those tools if they must be shared.
- Screen workers from the jobsite in accordance with CDC guidelines if employees display symptoms of COVID-19.
- Prohibit, where possible, carpooling to jobsites.
- Identify a “Pandemic Safety Officer” for each project or worksite (or per contractor if a large-scale construction). The Pandemic Safety Officer is responsible for the conveyance, implementation, and enforcement of the guidance.
Residential construction jobsites are limited to no more than four persons authorized to appear on the jobsite at once.
Commercial construction is generally limited by square footage of the jobsite:
- Unenclosed jobsites have no worker limitation.
- No more than four persons authorized at jobsites of less than 2,000 square feet of enclosed project.
- One additional person is allowed per additional 500 square feet of enclosed area over 2,000 square feet. “Enclosed square footage shall include all areas under roof that are under active construction at the time.”
- Local political units/subdivisions are authorized to conduct construction operations. The new construction guidance merely requires public entities to use “best judgment” in conducting construction projects, while balancing public health and safety against continued safety of critical infrastructure.