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Construction Industry Leads Reopening of Washington State

Today Governor Inslee announced Phase I of a multi-phase reopening plan allowing existing low risk construction projects to resume work. This includes commercial, residential, and public work projects.

As indicated by the Governor’s office, “existing” projects are defined as those for which a permit was issued prior to the Stay Home-Stay Healthy order of March 23.  A “Low risk” project includes sites where six-foot social distancing rules are not a problem and appropriate health and worker protection measures can be met.

With the Phase I reopening plan, we begin the highly anticipated process of reviving the economy, getting cranes in the air, and people back to work.  As we move forward, there are important requirements contractors need to address for each project site.

Most notably, prior to starting work, Contractors are required to develop and post, a COVID-19 exposure control, mitigation, and recovery plan based on Governor’s Phase I requirements.  We strongly encourage you to carefully read the Construction Restart Job Site Requirements to ensure full compliance of the required criteria (by May 1).  Furthermore, Contractors are required to post a notice to subcontractors, government officials and employees, of work that will be performed at the site along with a signed commitment to observe all Phase 1 requirements.

Additional worksite-specific safety conditions and restart requirements, Contractors must meet and maintain to resume construction, involve:

  • A site specific Covid-19 supervisor on residential job sites with 7 or more people
  • Covid-19 safety training
  • Social distancing
  • Personal protective equipment (employer provided)
  • Sanitation and cleanliness
  • Employee health/symptoms
  • Job site visitors

A written Worksite Safety Plan must be posted addressing the health and safety of site workers.  Among other requirements, this plan should address social distancing, temperature screenings, the need for contractors to provide personal protective equipment (gloves, masks and goggles), and the necessity of an on-site safety supervisor for residential jobs with more than 7 people.  Worksite Safety Plans do not need to be submitted to the state but could be reviewed by regulators at any time.

Additional resources and guidelines you may find helpful include, a Toolkit Roadmap & Checklist by the Master Builders Association, Washington state’s Business Response Center, the Washington State COVID-19 Response site, and the state Department of Labor and Industries/OSHA.

Please feel free to contact Michael S. DeLeo directly for questions relating to the construction industry and COVID-19, or other construction law related issues.  All of us at PRK Livengood, are hopeful that this small restart charge will help some of our clients, and will soon expand to other Washington state businesses to alleviate the ongoing COVID-19 impact for everyone.

We will continue providing updates as new information in this industry and others is released.

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