News & Articles

Ongoing Construction Projects Allowed to Restart with Safety Restrictions

Published on April 27, 2020

Governor Inslee announced on Friday, April 24, 2020 that work on ongoing construction projects may continue if certain safety restrictions are upheld on the job site. This is the first of what may be a series of phased loosening of restrictions for Washington. This announcement is an addendum to the Stay Home Stay Healthy Proclamation 20-05.

Governor Inslee worked with a variety of contractors, health safety experts, local governmental officials, and construction works to compile the comprehensive Phase 1 Construction Restart COVID-19 Job Site Requirements. Phase 1 details a 30-point plan that applies to all construction activities in Washington for the duration of Proclamation 20-25.

Now, all ongoing construction projects maintaining a low-risk threshold of six-foot distancing on the job site may continue operating. In certain circumstances, if six-foot distancing requirements cannot be upheld, appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be used in accordance with a hazard assessment and control plan as outlined by the Department of Labor & Industries.

All construction projects must comply with the 30-point plan and be in compliance no later than Friday, May 1, 2020. Before any work may continue, contractors are required to develop and post at each job site a comprehensive COVID-19 exposure control, mitigation, and recovery plan. This plan must include the following:

  • PPE utilization
  • On-site social distancing
  • Hygiene
  • Sanitation
  • Symptom monitoring
  • Incident reporting
  • Site decontamination procedures
  • COVID-19 safety training
  • Exposure response procedure
  • Post-exposure incident project wide recovery plan

A copy of this plan must be available at each job site and available for possible inspection by state and local authorities. Failure to abide by these requirements will result in sanctions – including shutting the job site down. Contractors must also provide signed written notice at each job site documenting their commitment to adhere to the requirements listed in the Phase 1 plan.

It is important to note that Phase 1 allows any employee to be allowed to remove themselves from the worksite if they do not believe it is safe to work. Employees who voluntarily remove themselves from the site may utilize medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, unemployment benefits, paid time off, or any other paid leave available, at the worker’s discretion.

Any questions about how to comply with construction safety practices can be submitted using an online form through Washington’s Business Response Center.

If you are working in construction or development and wish to begin creating your safety plan to reopen in compliance with Governor Inslee’s orders, the Real Estate, Development & Finance group at Ryan Swanson is here to help you navigate the requirements outlined above.

Allie Sisson is an attorney in Ryan Swanson’s Real Estate, Development & Finance Group and can be reached at [email protected].

This webpage is provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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