Below, please find information that PENNBOC is sharing with its membership, including: Construction Activities with Strict Guidelines Resumes May 8th; Resources to Get Your Work Site Ready; Legislative Vetoed & Legislation Signed by Governor
CONSTRUCTION WITH STRICT GUIDELINES RESUMES MAY 8th
On Monday evening, Gov. Wolf signed the “Amendment to Pennsylvania’s Closure of All Businesses That Are Not Life-Sustaining” which includes the re-opening of some previously considered non-life-sustaining businesses. Read the order HERE.
Public and private residential and non-residential construction may resume statewide starting Friday, May 8, in accordance with safety guidance that will be issued by the administration shortly. Construction projects already deemed life-sustaining may continue while adhering to social distancing, personnel limits and other guidance as announced by the administration.
Gov. Wolf cautioned that “we will not be resuming operations as they were in February. We’re going to continue to take precautions that limit our physical contact with others, and we will closely monitor this to see if it can be done safely.”
It was reported that in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Wolf said he intends to loosen restrictions on people and businesses in much the same way they were imposed: Gradually, and county by county.
“There is not one size that fits all. We can start to reopen the state in, I think, some areas (in) a fairly robust way, in other areas less so,” Wolf said. “If I were in Philadelphia, I probably would not want my government to be saying, ‘OK, everything seems to be just perfect right now.'”
You can also read the updated (4/20/20) Industry Operation Guidance list of business that my continue physical operations HERE as well as the updated (4/20/20) Life-Sustaining Business FAQs HERE.
RESOURCES TO GET CONSTRUCTION WORK SITES READY
As Pennsylvania targets May 8th for partial re-opening, now is the time to develop your workplace safety measures going into the “new normal.”
OSHA has prepared various publications for your use, including: Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 as well as COVID-19 Guidance for the Construction Workforce.
Furthermore, the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC) has provided a detailed plan to outline the steps that every employer and employee can take to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. The plan describes how to prevent worker exposure to coronavirus, protective measures to be taken on the jobsite, personal protective equipment and work practice controls to be used, cleaning and disinfecting procedures, and OSHA guidance on what to do if a worker becomes sick, including recordkeeping requirements.
Visit CISC’s website for links to documents that your office can use/adapt, including: Coronovirus Preparedness & Response Plan for Construction Template; a COVID-19 Jobsite Checklist for Employers & Employees; Jobsite Safety Posters; Employee Notification of Potential Exposure Letter Template.
Important Note – Be sure that your policies comply with the current PA Dept of Health order (effective 4/19/20) related to required Public Safety Measures for Businesses.
LEGISLATION VETOED & LEGISLATION SIGNED BY GOV WOLF
However, on Monday the governor signed Senate Bill 841 (now Act 15 of 2020) which, among various other provisions, includes authorizations easing the ability to conduct local government meetings (related to quorums, notifications, minutes, public participation); as well as a suspension or tolling of time limits for certain development application approvals (See Sec. 5741).
§ 5741. Response to COVID-19 disaster emergency.
(g) Action.–For an action required by law in consideration of any application, plat, plan or other submission for an approval or for an action on an appeal or curative amendment, the following shall apply:
(1) Notwithstanding any provision of law, for an approval, application, plat, plan, submission, appeal or curative amendment received or pending as of the date of or during the Governor’s declaration of a disaster emergency related to COVID-19, the number of days provided to satisfy statutory time limits in review, hearing and decision shall be suspended and tolled as of the date of the disaster or emergency declaration or as of the date received if received during the disaster or emergency declaration, and shall resume 30 days after the effective date of this section.
(2) Notification, in writing, shall be provided to each applicant subject to this section of the disaster or emergency, the time extension under this section and the right to a request as provided under para. (3). A failure to receive the notice provided under this section shall not affect the tolling of the number of days provided to satisfy statutory time limits for review, hearing and decisions.
(3) Within 30 days of the effective date [which was 4/20/20] of this section, an applicant may request a meeting, hearing or proceeding as may be required by law, and provisions governing the application, plat, plan, submission, appeal or curative amendment during the period of the disaster or emergency in accordance with this section. The agency, department, authority, commission, board, council, governing body or other entity of a political subdivision shall have discretion to proceed with a request under this paragraph. If a proceeding is authorized, the applicant and each party receiving actual notice of the proceeding shall be deemed to waive any challenge to the proceedings under 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open meetings) or any other provision of law that governs the notice, conduct or participation in a meeting or proceeding.
Stay up-to-date on Pennsylvania’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic HERE. Also, PA L&I’s Burea of Occupational and Industrial Safety has etablished a FAQ page with answers to many common questions. You can view it HERE.