As states reopen and begin to see an increase in positive COVID-19 cases, it’s important to maintain and reinforce some simple polices construction participants can implement to keep construction and infrastructure projects moving forward. In the construction industry, where workers may work hand-in-hand and share the same equipment and tools, project owners and employers should emphasize the need to implement and follow simple protocols that will increase jobsite safety and limit the spread of COVID-19.
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The COVID-19 pandemic is causing widespread challenges in the construction industry. Employee safety concerns, forced project shutdowns, construction delays, and supplier interruptions are mounting. Contractors must carefully navigate these unprecedented times by knowing their contractual duties, regulatory obligations, and mechanic’s lien rights.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a new guidance letter that indicates it may be legal, but not generally advisable, for workers to use headphones to listen to music on a construction sites. OSHA acknowledged that there is there is no specific OSHA regulation that prohibits the use of headphones on a construction site.
On December 20, 2020, President Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that included the federal Fair Chance Act (“the Act”). The Act prohibits, with certain exceptions, federal contractors that have openings for positions within the scope of federal contracts from inquiring about or seeking criminal history information from an applicant until after a conditional job offer has been extended. The Act is intended to give ex-offenders released from prison and those with past criminal convictions a better opportunity at obtaining employment by eliminating or at least deferring any pre-employment inquiry into an applicant’s criminal history. After the conditional job offer has been extended employers should continue to be mindful of complying with local, state, and federal discrimination and privacy laws.