Site Safety Plans For Pandemic Re-opening of Job Sites

With the increase of building code enforcement inspectors out during the COVID-19 pandemic re-opening of job sites, it critical that site safety professional have all their site safety plans and log books in order to avoid violations.  In Addition to construction site safety codes to adhere to, strict rules and guidelines for building during pandemic must also be adhered to.

Construction Job Sites Re-Open in New York City!

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the construction industry and its supply chain. After two months of construction projects at a complete halt, the re-opening of job sites in New York City comes with some new requirements to combat the spread of the virus.

As part of the solution to preventing the virus, construction job sites are required to implement new measures and plans for hygienic working environment during the ongoing pandemic.   These new job site requirements include:

• Ensure 6 feet of distance between personnel, unless safety or core function of the work activity requires a shorter distance.

• All personnel and visitors to construction sites must wear face coverings appropriate for their task, unless medically unable to do so.

• Tightly confined spaces (e.g., elevators, hoists) can only be occupied by 50% maximum capacity.  50% maximum capacity must be posted within the cab AND at each landing.

• A site safety monitor must be designated whose responsibilities include continuous compliance with all aspects of the site safety plan.

• Appropriate signage is posted throughout the site to remind personnel to adhere to proper hand hygiene, physical distancing rules, appropriate use of personal protective equipment, and cleaning and disinfecting protocols.

• Safety plan(s) are conspicuously posted on site and include a copy of the submitted State affirmation.

• A communication plan for employees, visitors, and clients is available at the site.

• A continuous log of every person who may have had close contact with other individuals at the work site or area is kept at the site.

• There are hand hygiene stations available on site and readily accessible to workers.

• A cleaning and disinfection log is present at the site with minimum daily entries.

Green Roofs are here to stay!

New York City Green Roof Laws Take Effect

New York City wants to become a green city.  It wants to incorporate vegetation into the city’s roof tops.  In July 2019, the Department of Building has made Green Roofs the new requirement for all major alteration and new building projects and took affect November 25th 2019.

All new Buildings applications filed, on or after November 15, 2019, for new construction projects and roof alteration projects (including vertical and horizontal enlargement or roof deck replacement), must include a form certifying their compliance with Local Laws 92 and 94.  All Buildings filings that have not been approved by Buildings by 3PM on November 14, 2019, will be required to submit the new Solar and Green Roof Systems form prior to Buildings approval.

Progression pictures of Barclay Center Green Roof

Initial Phases of Green roof Installation

75% completion of Green roof

Completion photo of Barclay center Green roof.

For more on this new law and building code.

Dept. of Building Construction Site Posting Requirements

As of October 14, 2019, general contractors must post worker safety information signs at construction sites where site safety training is required.

The signs must:

  • contain specific information about required worker safety training, including all site safety training deadlines and the number of required training hours, and the information must
  • be in all the languages used by workers to communicate at the construction site. In addition, the signs must
  • be clearly visible to workers and must be posted at the construction site as follows:
    • Sites with construction fencing must post a sign at each egress point on the inside of the construction fencing, including vehicle delivery fence gates and existing loading docks.
    • Sites without construction fencing must post a sign at each egress point within the controlled access zone where construction is taking place and at each existing loading dock or location being used for construction delivery or access.

To comply with the new requirements, the posted sign must:

  • be 44 inches wide and 30 inches high;
  • have letters at least 1 inch (25 mm) high;
  • have white letters on a blue background; and
  • be made of a durable and weatherproof material such as vinyl, plastic, or aluminum that is flame retardant.

Contact us for more details regarding this requirement for your construction project job site.

Non-Essential Construction Projects are required to Shut-down!

Effective as of Friday, March 27th,2020. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo put out an executive order stating that construction projects that are deemed non-essential such as the development of luxury housing apartments and improvement renovation projects are to be shut down.  Under bullet point number nine, it states that all non-essential construction must be shut down effective as of date.

With this non-essential classification now in place, real estate developers and contractors is not permitted to continue construction project that relates to residential improvements or luxury real estate projects. .  This is enforceable by way of fine of $10,000 per violation.  Examples of essential construction projects include roads, bridges, hospitals and health care facilities.

This now turns our attention as to how long the COVID-19 virus is expected to have an impact on the construction industry.  The peak of number of people who will be infected is expected to take place by the end of April, however, this is the peak and there is no real certainty that the end of April will be the peak of the spread of this virus.  In addition, even if the peak is expected to be reach by the end of April, it does not mean that normal business may be able to resume as usual thereafter. It may still be at least another two months or more from the peak before business can resume as usual to prevent the risk of re-infection.  It is more likely that series of rounds of testing will take place after the peak to gauge the spread of the virus.

It is unlikely that state officials will feel comfortable lifting this memorandum until they are certain that the spread of the virus has stopped completely or overwhelmingly mitigated, it would not be prudent to act otherwise.  Anecdotally, It is unlikely State officials will be able to draw such a conclusion till Early to mid-June 2020.  As such, it is reasonable to think that construction activity will not resume until at least mid-June or early July 2020 as a minimum time frame.  For the sake of the livelihoods of everyone in the economy and construction industry, I hope we see a brighter outcome sooner than that.

We are Borough Construction wish our clients, colleges, vendors, friends and family stay safe during this time at the very least.  And if duty calls for you to carry out essential projects, this time more then ever, please wear the proper personal protective equipment and set up stationary disinfecting stations.

Trung Truong
Licensed Construction Superintendent,
OSHA Authorized Construction Trainer