NEW GUIDANCE FOR BUSINESSES PERFORMING CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY DURING COVID-19
Starting on May 1, 2020, all businesses in the construction industry within Pennsylvania (including those performing new construction, renovation, and repair, as well as land subdivision and design-related field activities) are permitted to resume “in-person operations” provided that the activities strictly adhere to the guidance document issued by the Governor’s office on April 23, 2020. A link to the guidance document is as follows: https://www.governor.pa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/20200423-Construction-Industry-Guidance.pdf.
All businesses in the construction industry (including those that were originally closed and later permitted to re-open a portion of their operations under a waiver or exemption) must adhere to this guidance document and commit to ensuring the health and safety of their employees and the public. The guidance document provides bullet-point steps that all businesses in the construction industry must follow to ensure the health and safety of employees. The steps include, without limitation, the following:
- Adhere to the April 15, 2020 Order issued by the Secretary of Health providing for safety measures, including but not limited to, provisions requiring that every person present at the work site wear masks/face coverings;
- Adhere to CDC Guidelines;
- Maintain Social Distancing unless the safety of the public or workers require deviation (like team lifting);
- Provide hand wash stations at appropriate locations on the site;
- Implement cleaning or sanitizing protocols;
- Ensure all gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people;
- Stagger shifts, breaks, work areas and/or stacking of trades where feasible to minimize workers on site;
- Limit tool sharing and sanitize tools if they must be shared;
- Employ jobsite screening based on CDC guidance to determine if employees should work;
- Prohibit unnecessary visitors to any project or work site, and limit supplier deliveries;
- Ensure workers are traveling to and from the job site separately;
- Limit access to enclosed spaces to the extent feasible; and
- Identify a “Pandemic Safety Officer” for each project or work site, or, if a large-scale construction.
The guidance document limits the number of persons at the jobsite at any time for residential construction and commercial construction. For residential construction projects, no more than four persons are permitted on the jobsite at any time. For commercial construction projects, no more than four persons are permitted on the jobsite of 2,000 square feet or less. Enclosed square footage includes all areas under roof that are under active construction at the time. One additional person is allowed for each additional 500 square feet of enclosed area over 2,000 square feet. The limitation of workers on the jobsite for both residential and commercial construction are inclusive of employees of both the prime and subcontractors, but not inclusive of delivery persons, code inspectors, or similar persons who require temporary access to the site and are not directly engaged in the construction activity.
 The guidance document defines residential construction as “detached one-family and two-family dwellings and townhouses which are not more than three stories above grade plane in height with a separate means of egress and their accessory structures.”