Today at 11:30, Governor Inslee made a live announcement that provides for the start of Phase 1 of a multi-phase re-opening plan for construction in Washington. The detailed 30 point Phase 1 plan can be found here and includes multiple requirements, including identifying a specific COVID-19 Site Supervisor, keeping workers 6 feet apart at all times, temperature screenings, making sure contractors provide and wear protective equipment like masks, gloves and goggles, etc. Prior to recommencing work all contractors are required to develop and post at each job site a comprehensive COVID-19 exposure control, mitigate, and recovery plan that meets the Phase 1 Requirements. In addition, all contractors are required to post at each job site written notice to employees, subcontractors, and government officials the Phase 1 work that will be performed at that job site and signed commitment to adhere to the Phase 1 requirements linked above. Additional information and guidelines can also be found at www.coronavirus.wa.gov as well as from the Department of Labor and Industries/Department of Occupational Safety and Health, which issued an April 7, 2020 Directive (linked here) providing additional detail on enforcement policies when evaluating workplace implementation of social distancing, sanitation, and sick employee practices as required under the Governor’s Stay Home – Stay Health Order.
The Phase 1 plan was created after weeks of work by the Construction Roundtable, a group consisting of representatives from Associated General Contractors of Washington (AGC), Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW), Association of Washington Business and three labor groups: Washington Building Trades and the Operating Engineers’ and Carpenters’ unions.
Phase 1 Projects (termed “Low Risk” projects) that can now resume work today (as soon as the Governor signs the order and provided that the project has a safety plan that meets the Phase 1 Construction Restart COVID-19 Job Site Requirements linked above) are projects for which six-foot social-distance rules are not a problem and is not project specific—i.e., it can include commercial construction, residential construction, road building projects, etc.
The Construction Roundtable is continuing to work on the recommendations and safety plans for later phases with the Governor’s Office, including Phase 2 projects, which would involve working closer than six feet.
We will continue to provide updates as additional details are released but are hopeful this will allow our clients to resume certain work safely and alleviate at least some of the substantial burden and impacts resulting from COVID-19.
Comment: The Governor’s proclamation reopens only those Phase 1 projects for which social distancing can be maintained and the detailed requirements are met. Please review and implement the requirements carefully and diligently to ensure compliance.