For the time being, construction companies remain essential businesses throughout the state of Florida. In addition to countless other legal considerations, contractors must now contend with the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Believed to be spread by close proximity with an infected individual, COVID-19 has many construction crews alarmed at the sound of a sneeze or cough. As a contractor yourself, you likely have many questions regarding what to do if a worker shows signs of illness.
Below, an Orlando construction lawyer breaks down recommendations made by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). By the end of this article, you should have a clear idea of how to isolate workers who show symptoms of COVID-19. Our Orlando construction lawyers are available to assist you if you have any questions.
Being Proactive in the Face of Adversity
As stated in OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, “Prompt identification and isolation of potentially infectious individuals is a critical step in protecting workers, customers, visitors, and others at a worksite.” Although these recommendations apply to all employers, they are particularly important for contractors to follow, considering how often laborers work together and intermingle. OSHA recommends that employers encourage workers to self-monitor and come forward if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
Contractors should develop and train their workforce in policies to immediately isolate workers who are showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19. OSHA recommends that potentially sick workers be isolated in a designated location and given a face mask (a surgical mask, not PPE) until they can be removed from the worksite. If your jobsite is unable to have a designated isolation area, we suggest sending potentially sick workers home immediately and encouraging them to stay home and seek medical assistance if necessary. Once a potentially sick worker has been identified, ensure that their work area is properly sanitized.
Having a Plan in Place
The above policies should be a part of an infectious disease preparedness plan. This plan should address increased worker absenteeism, social distancing, and interrupted supply chains, among other situations. Above all else, you should be taking steps to reduce the risk of worker exposure to COVID-19. Although no OSHA standards were written with COVID-19 in mind, there are a number of standards that must be followed that relate to job hazards, respiratory protection, and potentially infectious materials.
We encourage all employers to prepare themselves as best they can in order to protect their workers and their businesses from COVID-19. For any and all legal questions related to the current situation and your responsibilities as an employer, consult an Orlando construction lawyer from Cotney Construction Law.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.