This week, one of these two metropolitan areas announced plans to reopen construction and one returned to work after weeks of being shut down. Some construction firms will go back to work with specific protocols in place. Here's what you need to know:
San Francisco Bay Area, California
Jobsite crews resumed construction this week in six counties in the Bay Area and the city of Berkeley. Firms are allowed to operate under a new set of rules requiring increased safety and social distancing protocols based on guidance set forth by the Associated General Contractors of California.
All construction projects are allowed to resume as long as the project complies with the safe protocols, which are different depending on the county in which the project is taking place. Generally, all construction projects must comply with rules and guidance put in place by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Cal-OSHA. Every site must have a site-specific health and safety plan to address COVID-19 risks.
Contractors must have the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) available (gloves, goggles, face masks, etc) and all workers must be trained how to properly wear the PPE. Social distancing protocols include staggering shift start times for workers, staggering trade-specific workflows, maintaining 6 feet between all workers unless safety is in question to perform the task, and maintaining a daily visitor log to keep track of every person who stepped on the site.
One of the most contentious requirements is that each site have a specific safety compliance officer whose sole responsibility is to help implement and enforce COVID-19 safety protocols on the project jobsite. In addition, a third-party jobsite safety accountability supervisor should be assigned. This supervisor is expected to (at minimum) hold an OSHA-30 certificate and first aid training within the past 2 years. The supervisor is expected to perform an assessment of the site with 7 days of each visit to ensure the safety compliance officers on site are following protocol.
Read more about Bay Area requirements here.
Across the country, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said this week that the city is taking steps to relax the ban on construction, but it is not a full-scale reopening.
All projects that the state deems essential has been allowed to return to work, so long as strict safety protocols are in place. Firms must have a comprehensive safety plan customized to the specific jobsite that includes strategies for 6-feet social distancing between workers and adequate supplies of PPE.
Developers and contracts on projects considered essential and with approved safety plans have been given the go-ahead to prepare jobsites. Beginning May 18, work will resume on public school projects, road projects, residential projects with three or few units, and other infrastructure projects, to name a few. Beginning May 26, all projects considered essential by the state will be allowed to resume.
Read more on Boston construction here.