North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) and CPWR-The Center for Construction Research and Training released a new national standard for infectious disease exposure control practices for U.S. construction sites. These guidelines aim to prevent disease, disability, and death caused by infectious disease exposure in lieu of federal action by OSHA.
[Additionally, the IUPAT and iFTI have developed a COVID-19 Construction Site Management Plan based on these guidelines for ongoing, essential projects in our industry and contractors looking to re-enter the workforce, safely and responsibly. More detailed information below]
The new national framework outlines planning and implementation elements with strong minimum standards, screening policies, and the requirement of a comprehensive employer exposure control plan comprised of control measures, symptom checking, social distancing, training, hygiene, and decontamination procedures.
“The COVID-19 pandemic clearly underscores the need for and value of a strong, adaptable and multi-purpose exposure control standard to prevent the spread of infectious diseases on U.S. construction sites,” said Sean McGarvey, President of NABTU. “Amid growing concerns across various industries regarding workplace safety in lieu of federal actions, the building trades are trying to do our best to protect our members and contractors on the job, and – for that matter- everyone in the construction industry.”
“With the broad and complex challenges from infectious diseases today, providing a framework of exposure control practices is critical. COVID-19 has not only raised awareness about the emergence and spread of infectious diseases, but it has also provided the opportunity to advance their control,” said Chris Trahan Cain, Executive Director of CPWR-The Center for Construction Research and Training. “Given the current pandemic and the probability of future infectious disease outbreaks, this national framework will help the construction industry advance functions to better prevent and control infectious diseases and improve health on worksites.”
“In many places across the country, our unions, contractors, and project owners have already implemented these protocols,” McGarvey said. “The industry has been calling for a single national standard, and this is a product we highly recommend for owners, contractors, union members, and all of our industry. We hope these guidelines will raise the bar to prevent and control infectious threats and improve safety and health management practices for not just construction, but all industries.”
Here are some important updates on where we, as the IUPAT, stand in our ongoing efforts today.
In the last couple of weeks, the IUPAT and iFTI, were integral to the development of these new guidelines and got to work on a plan to protect the livelihoods safety and health, of our members. While every day it seems we are learning something new about this COVID-19 threat, there are some commonsense guidelines that we can all take to reduce our risk and protect the lives of workers on the job, both during and after this crisis.
OSHA recommends employers prepare an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan to help guide protective actions against COVID-19. In response, the IUPAT, working in conjunction with the Finishing Trades Institute, the Labor Management Partnership and industry experts, has developed the Site Management Guidelines to not only assist contractors in developing their own job site plans but to provide our members with guidelines on the minimum standards that they should expect to find on the job site in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as any other potential viral hazards.
These guidelines are just that – guidelines. This document should not be relied upon as legal advice or interpretation of legal requirements to provide a safe workplace free from recognizable hazards, nor should it be a substitute for guidance from health professionals or governmental agencies. It is the responsibility of contractors to ensure that they follow all Federal, State, and Local laws and regulations.
Coronavirus – Covid-19 Fact Sheet and Webinar
At the beginning of 2020, the iFTI formalized the hiring of Bernie Mizula as our Industrial Hygienist expert to address safety issues IUPAT members face in our industries.
Find the Covid-19 Fact Sheet to download HERE.
Watch a webinar on the virus and its impact on our members and workplaces HERE.
COVID-19 Preparedness for Employers and Employees Course
All IUPAT members have been automatically assigned to the COR 195 Coronavirus Preparedness for Employers and Employees course.
- Under the LMS My Account page, go to the Learning Activities section.
- Find COR 195 Coronavirus Preparedness for Employers and Employees course (sort by clicking the gray toolbar or use CTRL+F).
- Click Go button.
- On the Course Page, you can:-Click the Coronavirus webinar presented by Bernie Mizula link under course description or-Download the additional resources under the Course Materials section.
As always, keep yourself and your families, safe and healthy. Your partnership, and our collective Union, is what keeps our crafts alive.
Ken Rigmaiden, IUPAT General President