Social Distancing on Construction Sites: What Does That Mean?

Here at Rose & Kiernan, Inc., we’ve received a number of inquiries from our contracting clients seeking clarification on what is meant by appropriate social distancing on construction sites. Though guidelines were put in place by Executive Order 202.6, contractors and many others still have questions. When our friends at the Associated General Contractors of New York State (AGC NYS) had asked for clarification, they received the following reply from the Office of the Governor:  

“I think we are not going to give a construction site the same leeway as say a hospital. There is social distancing impossibilities in both, but I think the intention was to be a bit stronger on construction sites. The way we interpret this is that social distance is ‘appropriate’ if it can be demonstrated that either you have people working 6’apart, or to the extent say you’re working in a tunnel you have protective equipment (PPE) and disinfection protocols. There is not a blanket, well we really can’t be distanced because it isn’t convenient so we will wear masks instead. Masks and face coverings in a health setting mean really different things versus what it means on a construction site. So we don’t see it as anything other than ‘reducing’ the spread but not eliminating.” 

Based on what we can discern from this answer and, knowing that inspectors are visiting sites and have shut down projects, it is recommended that you continue your efforts to maintain the 6 feet of distance vigilantly. For those occasional tasks where social distancing can’t be maintained and employees may have to work in close proximity to others, wearing proper PPE such as face masks and gloves is recommended and disinfecting procedures should be used.

Having a COVID-19 policy that demonstrates adherence to the Executive Order providing guidance to your employees and subcontractors will be vital going forward. If you do not yet have a policy in place and would like assistance, please email Chris Schild or Mark Dailey for assistance.

For more information, you can also view our COVID-19 resources page for important information about Rose & Kiernan’s response to the virus outbreak.

Please note that news and events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic are changing quickly. The information provided in this blog post represents where things stand on the date of publication.

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