State provides best practice guidelines to help protect workers as construction industry reopens

LANSING — As the construction industry has reopened tomorrow, the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity highlighted requirements for employers and provided further guidance on best practices to help protect Michigan workers and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“We must take aggressive action to reduce COVID-19 exposure in order to prevent a second spike in cases,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “The only way we can safely reopen businesses, including our job providers in the construction industry, is to be smart about protecting our workforce. We’re ensuring employers understand how to protect their employees and customers, and we continue to save lives.”

The governor’s Executive Order 2020-70, allowed the May 7 resumption of some types of work that present a very low risk of infection, including construction. LEO, in collaboration with leaders and experts from industry, and state and local public health, has developed best practice guidelines that help construction industry employers understand the requirements under the order. The best practice guidelines can be found on LEO’s website.

Under the Executive Order, construction industry employers are required to:

  • Designate a site supervisor to enforce COVID-19 control strategies.
  • Conduct daily health screenings for workers.
  • Create dedicated entry points, if possible, or issuing stickers or other indicators to assure that all workers are screened every day.
  • Identify choke points and high-risk areas (like hallways, hoists and elevators, break areas, water stations, and buses) and controlling them to enable social distancing.
  • Ensure sufficient hand-washing or hand-sanitizing stations at the worksite.

“As the construction industry reopens and we get Michiganders back to work, our first priority is to protect our workers and save lives,” said Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio. “These guidelines in conjunction with the governor’s order, will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and allow Michigan construction workers to return home from the job healthy and safe.”

The governor’s order also requires construction industry employers to:

  • Develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, consistent with recommendations in OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.
  • Keep workers and patrons who are on premises at least six feet from one another to the maximum extent possible.
  • Increase standards of facility cleaning to limit worker and patron exposure to COVID-19.
  • Provide personal protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, face shields, and face masks as appropriate for the activity being performed.

On a scale from low to very high, risk determination is the leading factor to the level of precaution an employer should take to protect their employees and may vary within the same facility. These guidelines will help employers provide training on potential risks to their employees, which is a key component to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

 

The construction industry best practice guidelines posted by LEO include in-depth descriptions of eight employer responsibilities to keep workers safe, including:

  • Training and administrative controls
  • Access control
  • Policies governing social distancing
  • Policies governing disinfection / sanitation
  • Personal hygiene
  • Policies governing personal protective equipment
  • Positive case protocols
  • Facility closure scenarios

Employers with questions regarding workplace safety and health may contact the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration at (800) 866-4674 and mioshainfo@michigan.gov. Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly, officials said.

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