OSHA Visiting Construction Sites Amid COVID-19 Violations

//OSHA Visiting Construction Sites Amid COVID-19 Violations

OSHA Visiting Construction Sites Amid COVID-19 Violations

Construction leadership and contractors are experiencing OSHA investigations as they continue to crack down on new COVID-19 jobsite violations. Employers that fail to comply with coronavirus-related precautions, like ensuring employees are social distancing, handwashing on a regular basis, and wearing masks are facing fines of up to $2000 and jobsite closures if several violations are reported. Firms are also facing additional scrutiny from members of the public who are taking photos of violations and filing complaints against contractors. Below are more details about OSHA citing construction firms for COVID-19 violations and what you can do to prevent it.

OSHA Violations

A serious violation recently occurred in Nevada resulting in a $13,494 fine for lack of social distancing. Here are some key takeaways from the incident that firms should review as soon as possible to avoid being fined in the future:

  • OSHA received photos of employees that were standing in line too close to each other during new COVID-19 screening procedures. Since CDC guidelines recommend temperature checks before allowing employees to enter job sites, it’s important to promote social distancing by staggering shift start times and breaks, marking six-foot distances with floor tape, arrows, etc., or enabling remote work opportunities for office staff.
  • Photos indicated that contractors were violating boom lift regulations. Construction leadership needs to confirm that boom lift baskets only have one or two people in them at a time through more training, warning signs, increased patrols, etc.
  • Employers need to focus more on protection against General Duty Clause violations. This starts with creating a COVID-19 specific safety plan outlining jobsite protective measures. The CDC provides further guidance and resources to businesses seeking to resume normal operations during the pandemic regarding daily health checks, conducting hazard assessments, and encouraging cloth face coverings.

Employer Obligations

Employers were already legally obligated to protect workers from recognized hazards, and accomplishing it becomes more challenging during a pandemic. If OSHA receives a complaint against a business, then said firm has five days to prepare a sufficient written response outlining the issues along with corrective actions being planned to avoid potential on-site inspections. Otherwise, repeat offenders can face a fine of $134,937 for each violation.

OSHA’s normal inspection routine is expected to resume in those regions with low-community spread. In addition to evolving federal regulations, contractors should also be prepared for updated safety standards being issued at their state and local levels. Some other rule changes expected on the horizon include standards related to industrial trucks along with a new compliance directive regarding crystalline respirable silica.

 

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By | 2020-09-02T13:32:03-04:00 August 6th, 2020|Construction Blog|

About the Author:

The Birmingham Group has been serving the construction industry since 1967. Brian Binke took over the firm in 1995 and since that time, he has personally placed over 1200 construction managers and senior leaders, with company revenues ranging from $10 million dollars to the largest ENR 400 companies in the industry. Brian is an industry innovator, with a specialized skillset in construction. His keen understanding of business, the construction industry, and ability to effectively match and recruit top leaders has led to many accolades. He was ranked the #1 International Billing Owner in the construction industry for his own personal production and has been consistently recognized as one of the Top 10 International Billing Owners out of 800 owners worldwide. This includes owners across every industry. In 2013, Brian was awarded the #1 International Billing Owner within the entire network. For over two decades, Brian has been considered one of the most influential thought leaders in the construction industry. His business and construction knowledge are used as a resource for some of the nation’s most prominent publications. In the past year alone, Brian has been quoted in or authored articles for The Wall Street Journal, CBS News, MoneyWatch, Construction Today, ConstructionDive, United Rentals, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, American Express, Builder Magazine, and Human Resource Executive, among others. "I believe companies are a lot like sports teams. The team with the best players usually wins. It is my passion to deliver the absolute best talent to my client companies – the market’s top performers, the talent that every company wants to hire but which seldom seems available. To put it simply, I thrive on helping my clients build their Dream Team." - Brian Binke, The Birmingham Group
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