AGC reiterates concerns to White House on possibility of OSHA including construction in COVID-19 healthcare standard, impacting healthcare construction projects.
On December 7, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) submitted its final rule to protect healthcare workers from COVID-19 for review to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) before it is publicly released. Prior to its OMB submission, OSHA requested that the Advisory Committee for Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH), on which AGC is a member, provide a recommendation on how the agency should proceed with respect to covering construction work at healthcare facilities under the scope of the rule if it adopts a final COVID-19 healthcare standard. OSHA presented two options for ACCSH consideration:
- Option 1– Rely on healthcare employer duty of care to manage patient isolation to prevent construction worker exposure, as well as the information provided shared by the healthcare employer, and 1926 Subpart C (General Safety and Health Provisions) to protect employees engaged in construction activities.
- Option 2 – A new requirement and exemption on COVID-19 Construction work in 1926.58
AGC, along with its coalition partners, met with OMB/OIRA on January 4, to reiterate industry concerns with covering construction activities under the scope of the rule. During the meeting, coalition members highlighted that contractors have historically implemented safety and health programs that have proven to be effective in protecting construction workers, healthcare staff, and the general public from infectious diseases.
If the agency determines that construction will be covered under the scope of the final rule, the coalition strongly recommended adopting Option 1, the performance-based approach. AGC previously submitted comments opposing the expansion of the rule’s application to construction activities in healthcare settings.
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