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A new requirement has emerged from the Governor’s Office that would require all construction firms to complete a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. As a critical sector, these were previously not required, but Governor Walz has now ordered that all critical sector businesses, including construction firms, complete these by Monday, June 29.
Housing First Minnesota sought legal opinions from industry expert attorneys, which are reflected in the updates below. Here’s what we know today:
Minnesota Employer Work Requirements: All Minnesota employers are required to develop a COVID-19 Preparedness plan to keep workers and the general public safe during the COVID pandemic. A basic preparedness plan requires screening protocols to keep sick workers home, protocols for communicating positive tests, social distancing protocols, worker hygiene requirements, work site and ventilation protocols, cleaning and disinfection protocols, outside delivery protocols and communication and training protocols.
Operation Guidance for Construction Businesses: Recently, Governor Walz issued an Executive Order specific to commercial and residential construction which imposes additional requirements beyond those outlined in the basic business preparedness plan.
Construction-Specific Requirements: Contractors are required to have additional protocols and protections for workers in the following areas:
Core plan with amendments. Contractors must have a core plan along with site (development/community) specific guidance;
Subcontractor Plans. Additionally, subcontractors must submit their own plans to the general contractor. The general contractor must review and keep these plans on file;
Additional Protections for Managing Occupancy. Requirements regarding limiting number of persons on-site, restricting access to the work site, requiring advance notice for visitors to come on-site, posting signs regarding preventative measures taken to protect employees and third-parties, advising third parties not to come on-site if experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms.
Additional Protections for Access and Assignment. Requirements for managing subcontractor accessibility, requiring social distancing between workers and subs, requirement to maintain an attendance log, have screening procedures and minimizing travel between different job sites;
Additional Protections to Limit Face-to-Face Interactions. Requirements to evaluate work activities to limit face-to-face interactions and develop ways to minimize interactions, requiring masks if social distancing cannot be maintained, developing protocols if there is a breach of social distancing practices;
Additional Protections for Distancing and Barriers. Requirements for evaluating work flow on the job site, distancing and barriers, including the use of curtains or partitions, tarps and cordoned off areas for workers, restricting access to construction trailers and changing the location of meetings to outside, if possible;
Additional Protections for Sanitation and Hygiene. Requires additional protocols for sanitation and hygiene upon entering and exiting the job site and before and after equipment use (motorized equipment and hand-tools), requiring the installation of handwashing stations and/or hand sanitizer, requiring single use for large equipment; ensuring portable toilets are sanitized regularly and providing covered trash cans;
Additional Protections and Protocols for In-Home Services. Requires communications to educate landlords, residents and homeowners on steps taken to protect them and following screening protocols for residents and homeowners.
Finally, the executive order also provides construction specific requirements on the following:
– Personal protective equipment and face-coverings
Link to guidance specific policies on the above can be found here.
We are committed to the health and safety of all in the construction industry. We are continuing our work to advocate for clear and reasonable safety planning.
If you have individual questions and concerns please share those with the Department of Labor of Industry – OSHA Workplace Safety Consultation at OSHA.firstname.lastname@example.org or at 651-284-5060.