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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has implemented a comprehensive COVID-19 workplace safety standard that excludes construction from the official policies, based on recommendations from industry groups pointing to the generally low risk of virus exposure during construction operations. 

On June 10, OSHA issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to protect health care and health care support service workers from occupational exposure to COVID-19. OSHA concurrently issued updated, non-mandatory guidance intended to assist non-healthcare employers (such as those in construction) with preventing occupational exposure to COVID-19, especially for unvaccinated workers.

"Employers in all industries should assess their current COVID-19 safety procedures in light of OSHA's updated guidance. This ETS is tailored to require employers in the health care industry and in facilities providing health care services to develop COVID-19 safety plans and to take defined steps to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace," says an article by Venable LLP, written by Ronald W. Taylor, Robin L.S. Burroughs and Hayley F. Degnan. 

The Construction Industry Safety Coalition, a group of 30 trade associations formed to provide data and information to OSHA on regulatory, interpretive and policy initiatives, has issued the following statement on the ETS:

“The Construction Industry Safety Coalition is pleased that the Biden administration and OSHA listened to the concerns and recommendations of the construction industry in formulating a COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard. OSHA made the right decision to issue an ETS to cover tasks associated with high-exposure risk levels and not construction operations, which are generally low risk.

"Workplace safety and health are top priorities for members of CISC. At the outset of the pandemic, the coalition developed an industry-wide COVID-19 Exposure Prevention Preparedness and Response Plan to provide a comprehensive approach to keeping construction workers, deemed to be essential, safe.



“We look forward to continuing to provide input on industry safety issues and working with the administration on other workplace safety and health priorities.” 

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