As the COVID-19 outbreak wreaks havoc on families and businesses throughout the state, we know that we face dire economic hardships over the months ahead. Historical evidence will show you that Oregon’s building and construction industry has continually helped lead the way to economic recovery. At the same time, the Oregon State Building & Construction Trades Council will NOT sacrifice our members and their family’s safety for the economy.
As leaders of the industry this is the time we all need to work together to protect the health and wellbeing of our workforce and families, not search for ways to accelerate schedules or increase profits and overlook the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), and the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Oregon OSHA), The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR).
Members of the Building Trades, an umbrella organization representing tens of thousands of workers throughout the state of Oregon and affiliated with thousands of small and large contractors, are already following the safety precautions outlined below and complying with Executive Order 20-12. We have requested that every one of our members health and workplace safety be held with the highest priority while employed on projects around the state.
The Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council has requested evidence that a comprehensive COVID-19 safety plan and a set of worksite-specific safety practices has been incorporated on all contract job sites who employ our members:
- Strict visitor restrictions – Require that ALL visitors report to the jobsite office/trailer, and before going onto the site they agree to your COVID -19 safety policies and be vetted to ensure no symptoms related to the Covid-19 virus are exhibited.
- Many essential tasks for hospitals, health care facilities and power systems with more than one worker in a small area. We request you create a response to work that cannot be done in compliance with social distancing. These must be planned for and done following the best practices from the CDC, OSHA and state guidelines to ensure our members safety.
- Provide all the necessary PPE – safety glasses, correct gloves, dust masks and Respirators. N95 respirators and similar types should not be used as a means to permit less than the 6 feet required for social distancing.
- Develop explicit policies that will encourage Building Trades members to stay home when feeling sick or when they feel that they have been in contact with a confirmed positive case of COVID-19. Workers feeling sick on the job, exhibiting any of the symptoms should not be forced to be at work, and if they get sick while at work, they should be sent home immediately with respect and dignity. Additionally, if someone goes home from the job site, the area where the person was working should also be immediately cleaned and disinfected.
- Discourage all workers from temporarily carpooling.
- Temporarily stagger start and stop times as necessary to comply with Executive Order 20-12.
- Designate as many “Social Distancing Representatives” deemed necessary to ensure the 6 ft social distancing rule is in effect at all times, as the project progresses during this pandemic – plan should ensure that at least 6 ft of space is allowed at all times between workers by monitoring tasks and changes in jobs and break areas.
- Ban all gatherings or meetings of 10 or more people – identify and expand work areas to encourage social distancing.
- Reduce environments where workers will naturally want to walk or work in groups – social distance rule should be in effect during all travels to and from the various workstations and break areas.
- Provide adequate number of hand washing stations throughout the job site with soap and water so they’re readily available to all workers to wash for at least 25 seconds – If hand washing stations are absolutely not available, provide additional alcohol-based hand sanitizer stations with greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol.
- Provide additional Porta Potty’s/temporary restrooms, placed at least 6 ft apart to ensure social distancing rule is in effect when workers walk past each other.
- Frequently disinfect and clean high-touch surfaces such as tools, power tool handles, electric cords, equipment, lunch tables, appliances, handrails, doorknobs, and portable toilets.
- Work with Building Trades members and affiliate leadership to generate a list of reasonable worker responsibilities to help the job site reduce the risk of transmitting the COVID -19 virus.
Small Business Resources
The Paycheck Protection Program is part of the CARES Act (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security act). The program authorizes up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses to help businesses with two months of assistance to pay employees, rent and other related expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The State of Oregon has also released a Small Business Navigator tool to help small local businesses navigate local, state and federal COVID-19 relief programs. Please click here for more information.