The City of Boston has allowed construction activities to restart after a nine-week forced shutdown stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Effective as of Tuesday, May 26, all construction activities permissible in Massachusetts have been allowed to resume in the City – but only as long as they conform with recently released safety guidelines. It remains to be seen whether other municipalities in the state will implement similar guidelines or choose different paths going forward.
The following is a brief look at the mandatory safety protocols that contractors all of types and sizes must adhere to during the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency.
COVID-19 Safety Plan
Both active permitted projects and future permit applications must submit a COVID-19 Safety Plan detailing job site practices that each contractor will implement to protect worker safety. Each plan is required to address several key elements, including steps taken to ensure social distancing, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), employee training on COVID-19 best practices, and contingency planning in the event of job site coronavirus exposure. The City has released a video explaining how to create a site-specific COVID-19 Safety Plan, as well as a video containing helpful COVID-19 construction safety updates.
The COVID-19 Safety Plan requirement applies to both general contractors and subcontractors.
The safety plan just described must be accompanied by a compliance affidavit signed by the contractor or their authorized representative. The affidavit must be submitted along with a completed worksheet designed to aid in safety plan development.
Boston mayor Marty Walsh recently announced a partnership with Tufts Medical Center to test construction workers for the novel coronavirus at the Josiah Quincy Elementary School in Chinatown. The Tufts COVID-19 Screening Clinic is open to construction and health care workers, first responders, patients of Tufts Medical Center, and Chinatown residents who believe they could have COVID-19, regardless of their symptoms. This COVID-19 screening site is open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the weekends, with test results generally available after two days.
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