Below, please find information that PENNBOC is sharing with its membership, including: Construction Start Date Moved Up & Guidance Issued; PENNBOC Seeks Your Input; COVID-19 PPE Supplies Directory; 3-Phase Plan to Reopen State Unveiled
CONSTRUCTION START DATE MOVED UP & GUIDANCE ISSUED
As the construction industry prepares to resume work, yesterday evening (4/23/20) the Wolf Administration issued guidance for all construction businesses and employees to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Read the Guidance Document HERE.
All businesses in the construction industry in the commonwealth are permitted to resume in-person operations starting Friday, May 1 – one week earlier than previously announced.
The guidance, developed from guidance created by the General Contractors Association of Pennsylvania, provides universal protocols for all construction activity, as well as specific additional guidance for residential, commercial and public construction projects.
All business and employees in the construction industry must adhere to the Secretary of Health’s order providing for business safety measures, which requires that every person present at a work site wear masks/face coverings unless they are unable for medical or safety reasons and requires that businesses establish protocols upon discovery that the business has been exposed to a person who is a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19.
All construction projects must maintain proper social distancing and provide hand washing and sanitizing stations for workers, as well as cleaning and sanitizing protocols for high risk transmission areas. Businesses must identify a “pandemic safety officer” for each project or work site, or, for large scale construction projects, for each contractor at the site.
Residential construction projects may not permit more than four individuals on the job site at any time, not including individuals who require temporary access to the site and are not directly engaged in the construction activity.
For non-residential or commercial projects, the number of individuals permitted on enclosed portions of a project varies depending on the size of the enclosed site. Commercial construction firms should also strongly consider establishing a written safety plan for each work location containing site specific details for the implementation of this guidance to be shared with all employees and implemented and enforced by the pandemic safety officer.
Contractors performing work at the direction of the commonwealth, municipalities or school districts should defer to those public entities to determine what projects may continue.
Local governments may elect to impose more stringent requirements than those contained in the guidance and in such instances, businesses must adhere to those more stringent requirements.
Local officials have been tasked with ensuring that construction businesses are aware that this guidance exists and notifying businesses that a complaint of noncompliance was received.
PENNBOC SEEKS YOUR INPUT
PENNBOC will be participating in a stakeholders meeting the DCED on Monday, April 27. The Department is seeking feedback on what you as a local building official are experiencing on the “front lines” of this pandemic. Are there issues that you have identified, suggestions on how to improve the situation, ideas in general on how best to re-open the construction industry?
If you have any input you’d like to share, please email PENNBOC your comment by 10am, Monday so we can relay them to DCED representatives.
COVID-19 PPE SUPPLIES DIRECTORY
DCED has created a Pennsylvania COVID-19 PPE & Supplies Business-2-Business (B2B) Interchange Directory. Visit it HERE.
The immediate goal of this B2B Interchange Directory is simple: to provide an opportunity for companies and other entities in need of PPE and other critical items to make a B2B connection as they may choose with manufacturers and suppliers of COVID-19 related items.
Company and product information provided in this directory were gathered in good faith as a means of connecting Pennsylvania businesses and organizations that are seeking various PPE and other related items to combat the COVID-19 crisis.
THREE-PHASE PLAN TO RE-OPEN STATE UNVEILED
Gov. Wolf announced three stages to reopening Pennsylvania that are subject to change depending on the number of cases in the state. Read more details about the detailed plan HERE.
Wolf wants to begin easing some pandemic restrictions on May 8 in areas of Pennsylvania that have been lightly impacted by the new coronavirus. His reopening plan said a region or county will need to average fewer than 50 new positive cases of the virus per 100,000 residents for 14 days in order to begin moving out from under his statewide lockdown.
Pennsylvania will utilize a three-phase matrix to determine when counties and/or regions are ready to begin easing some restrictions on work, congregate settings, and social interactions. Re-opening phases are categorize as: red, yellow, green. Phases will be assigned based on conditions in a county, counties or region.
Some areas of the state (northwest & northcentral) are targeted to move from red to yellow on May 8, depending on conditions. Other areas of the state (like the Pocono, Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia region) are likely to take additional time until data there suggests it’s safe to begin re-opening.
The RED PHASE, which currently applies to the whole state, has the sole purpose of minimizing the spread of COVID-19 through strict social distancing, non-life sustaining business and school closures, and building safety protocols.
As regions or counties move into the YELLOW PHASE, some restrictions on work and social interaction will ease while others, such as closures of schools, gyms, and other indoor recreation centers, as well as limitations around large gatherings, remain in place. The purpose of this phase is to begin to power back up the economy while keeping a close eye on the public health data to ensure the spread of disease remains contained to the greatest extent possible.
The GREEN PHASE eases most restrictions by lifting the stay-at-home and business closure orders to allow the economy to strategically reopen while continuing to prioritize public health. While this phase will facilitate a return to a “new normal,” it will be equally important to continue to monitor public health indicators and adjust orders and restrictions as necessary to ensure the spread of disease remains at a minimum.
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.