It’s been a long time coming for many in the construction industry and as of yesterday, the DOB announced it is rescinding its Phase 1 Reopening Guidance (6/2020) as well as Building Bulletins 2020-006, 2020-0010, 2020-15, and 2021-008. Bulletin 2021-009 will undoubtedly be a cause for celebration among many in the industry as this is the closest the industry has been to “business-as-usual” since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. But what does it mean exactly?
The biggest piece of news as it relates to worker safety is in the DOB’s decision to rescind the Phase 1 Reopening Guidance. Among some of the highlights of the reopening guidance was the requirement to safely space workers and visitors, the use of masks and face coverings while working indoors and outdoors where workers cannot safely stand 6-feet apart, and the requirement for hand hygiene stations throughout a job site.
What’s not covered in the DOB’s Bulletin is that the industry must default back to the CDC & OSHA guidelines for worker safety as it relates to COVID-19. While there is currently no standard or regulation that requires workers to wear masks or face coverings, both the CDC and OSHA recommend that non-vaccinated individuals wear a mask indoors (especially in enclosed spaces) to help prevent infection and the spread of the virus. If you’re a worker who has been fully vaccinated, the mask recommendation does not apply.
It’s great to see that we’re nearing the end of this pandemic and while the DOB has lifted some restrictions it is still in our collective interests to continue to be vigilant and proactive when it comes to safety. Whether it’s providing awareness training to your teams or assessing your current safety plans and protocols, we all have the responsibility to keep our workplaces safe.