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OSHA Updates Enforcement Response Plan for Construction Workers in New York

Published on: August 23, 2021

Amidst the surge of the Delta variant and the emergence of the Lambda variant of COVID-19, OSHA has updated their Enforcement Response Plan, which could impact construction workers in New York. While it is best for even the vaccinated to err on the side of caution, OSHA has revised the plan to include guidelines pertaining to unvaccinated employees.

Within its section titled “Updated Guidelines on Workplace Risk”, the plan states:

“For potential exposures to unvaccinated workers or who are otherwise at-risk, OSHA recommends implementing multiple layers of controls (e.g., implementing physical distancing, maintaining ventilation systems, and properly using face coverings or personal protective equipment (PPE) when appropriate).”

OSHA’s plan also outlines “inspection procedures to enable CSHOs (Compliance Safety and Health Officers) to identify exposures to COVID-19-related hazards in non-healthcare settings, and to ensure that appropriate control measures are implemented.” You can read the full updated plan by clicking here.

If workers are fully vaccinated, and COVID measures such as face coverings are not implemented, the new guidelines necessitate policy and procedures be in place to determine vaccination status, whether written or verbal. This is also the right time to educate your team about the relative threats posed by the Delta variant to both vaccinated and unvaccinated employees, as well as the effectiveness of common-sense precautions.

According to the CDC, the Delta variant is more infectious and has led to increased transmissibility compared to other variants, even amongst vaccinated individuals. The organization recommends layered protection, including wearing masks, regularly sanitizing spaces, and maintaining physical distance. The most effective protective measure, including against the Delta strain, is widespread vaccination. One of the core values of NYCA is safety, therefore taking every precaution against COVID-19 and its differing strains is highly recommended. Educating your team on the risks, formulating outbreak contingency plans, and maintaining safety procedures can all contribute to a safe work environment. NYCA regularly updates our COVID-19 resources page, which can be found by clicking here.