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Alerts and Updates

New York's Construction Master Guidance Requires COVID-19 Precautions for All Projects

May 15, 2020

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The Construction Master Guidance also requires owner/operators to provide a COVID-19 mitigation safety plan.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has released interim guidance regarding construction in New York state. These guidelines apply to both nonessential construction businesses in regions that are permitted to reopen and essential construction businesses throughout the state that were previously permitted to remain open. New York City has not yet met the requirements for nonessential construction to resume. However, this guidance should be reviewed now so that, when nonessential construction does reopen, all parties understand the new guidelines that must be followed.

The first guidance released is the “Construction Master Guidance.” This guidance provides owners/operators of construction projects and their contractors with precautions that must be adopted to help protect against the spread of COVID-19.

The precautions that must be implemented are:

  1. Physical distancing between workers and any visitors;
  2. Limitations on in-person gatherings in enclosed spaces such as tool box talks or in breakrooms;
  3. Prohibition of nonessential visitors on project sites;
  4. Providing PPE or other protective coverings to employees at no cost to the employee;
  5. Adherence to hygiene and sanitation requirements as advised by the CDC;
  6. Providing and maintaining hand hygiene stations on project sites;
  7. Regular cleaning and disinfection of the work site;
  8. Screening and testing workers before they arrive on site; and
  9. The ability to track and trace employees' contacts at a project site if they test positive for COVID-19.

The Construction Master Guidance provides in-depth detail regarding the above precautions. Owners/operators (or owner’s agents) must fill out and sign the business affirmation form to affirm that they have reviewed the Master Construction Guidance and that they understand their obligation to provide precautions against COVID-19 at construction sites.

The Construction Master Guidance also requires owner/operators to provide a COVID-19 mitigation safety plan. This plan must outline how the business will prevent the spread of COVID-19. The plan does not have to be submitted to any state agencies for approval. However, the plan must be conspicuously posted on project sites when work reopens. A safety plan template has been created for businesses to follow.

Governor Cuomo has also published a short form guidance explaining the mandatory requirements and recommended best practices for construction businesses to follow. This checklist breaks down the Construction Master Guidance categories as follows: (1) physical distancing; (2) protective equipment; (3) cleaning and hygiene; (4) communication; and (5) screening. This checklist should be utilized to ensure that all mandatory guidelines are followed.

About Duane Morris

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help companies plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For More Information

If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact Meghan DiPerna, Kenneth H. Lazaruk, Brian A. Shue, any of the attorneys in our Construction Group, members of the COVID-19 Strategy Team or the attorney in the firm with whom you are in regular contact.

Disclaimer: This Alert has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. For more information, please see the firm's full disclaimer.