COVID safety requirements for construction job sites loosened

Late on June 11, the Governor’s office rescinded the Construction COVID-19 Job Site Requirements, first introduced in May 2020. However, job sites and construction offices must still comply with DOSH Directive 1.70, which outlines Coronavirus safety requirements for all businesses in Washington.

What does this mean for employers in the construction industry?

The following are no longer required:

  • Having specific COVID-19 control, mitigation and recovery plans at each job site. However, COVID-19 safety must still be included in required Accident Prevention Programs. (DOSH Directive 1.70)
  • Designating a COVID-19 site-safety supervisor. However, employers are still responsible for COVID-19 safety compliance. (DOSH Directive 1.70)
  • Holding weekly COVID-19 safety classes. However, COVID-19 must be included in other required safety training. (DOSH Directive 1.70)
  • Wiping down tools shared between co-workers. However, a sanitation and disinfection schedule of the site is still required. (DOSH Directive 1.70)
  • Maintaining 10-foot distancing with customers in occupied homes.
  • Enforcing a quarantine of employees who travel out of state.

Multiple COVID safety requirements still remain

Earlier today, BIAW confirmed with the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) that the following safety requirements do continue for all industries, including construction (DOSH Directive 1.70):

  • Conducting daily employee screening as the required “system for preventing sick employees to be present at work.”
  • Providing basic education on COVID-19 prevention, including communicating daily, hanging posters/signs and providing meaningful ways for workers to express concerns and offer ideas;
  • Maintaining six-foot social distancing requirements for unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or those whose status is unknown;
  • Requiring appropriate masks/respirators for workers who work or travel with others and are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or of unknown status;
  • Requiring face coverings of customers or clients unless they are vaccinated or otherwise exempt;
  • Making hand-washing stations available for employees on every construction job site;
  • Maintaining a schedule for, and conducting, adequate workplace cleaning;
  • Verifying vaccination status of employees to reduce social distancing or allow workers to stop wearing masks. Employers do not need to verify status if they choose to continue requiring social distancing and masks for all employees.

Please refer to DOSH Directive 1.70 for more details on the new general safety requirements. Employers can also rely on “COVID-19 Prevention in the Workplace” as additional guidance from L&I.