OSHA’s safety guidance for the construction workforce
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently released a guidance with recommendations and descriptions of mandatory safety and health standards for construction employers and workers.
OSHA recommends that companies assess the hazards to which the workers may be exposed; evaluate the risk of exposure; and select, implement, and ensure workers use controls to prevent exposure.
Exposure risk levels
OSHA has created a table that describes construction work tasks associated with the exposure risk levels in OSHA’s occupational exposure risk pyramid, which may serve as a guide to employers in this sector.
• Tasks that allow employees to remain at least 6 feet apart and involve little contact with the public, visitors, or customers.
• Tasks that require workers to be within 6 feet of one another.
• Tasks that require workers to be in close contact (within 6 feet) with customers, visitors, or members of the public.
• Entering an indoor work site occupied by people such as other workers, customers, or residents suspected of having or known to have COVID-19, including when an occupant of the site reports signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
• Category not applicable for most anticipated work tasks.
Conducting a job hazard analysis can help determine whether work activities require close contact (within 6 feet) between workers and customers, visitors, or other members of the public. When a job hazard analysis identifies activities with higher exposure risks, and those activities are not essential, consider delaying them until they can be performed safely.
Cloth face coverings are not PPE
OSHA reminds employers that cloth face coverings are not appropriate substitutes for PPE such as respirators (like N95 respirators) or medical face-masks (like surgical masks) in workplaces where respirators or face-masks are recommended or required to protect the wearer.
While wearing cloth face coverings is a public health measure intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in communities, it may not be practical for workers to wear a single cloth face covering for the full duration of a work shift (e.g., eight or more hours) on a construction site if they become wet, soiled, or otherwise visibly contaminated during the work shift.
If cloth face coverings are worn on construction sites, employers should provide readily available clean cloth face coverings (or disposable facemask options) for workers to use when the coverings become wet, soiled, or otherwise visibly contaminated.
For additional information visit www.osha.gov/coronavirus