As so many of us have heard the Coronavirus has reached North Texas. ASA Nationals has put together a Resource Guide as a Member Benefit.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that was first detected in China and has now emerged in almost 90 locations internationally, including 500 confirmed cases within the United States as of March 9, 2020. With the complete clinical picture of COVID-19 not fully known along with the CDC’s expectation that the number of confirmed cases will continue to rise, members of the American Subcontractors Association (ASA) may have concerns regarding the disease and how to handle employment matters during this outbreak. As the situation is emerging and continually evolving, ASA will monitor all federal agency developments and guidance to supply our members with the most up to date information available. The ASA has collected numerous materials from a wide variety of sources and developed this Coronavirus Resource Guide to provide our members with a comprehensive resource to best prepare for employment disruptions as COVID-19 cases continue to be discovered.
ASA has also put together the ASA Coronavirus Employer Guide. To access this MEMBERS ONLY document, please visit the Resources section of the InfoHub and click on "Member Benefits".
TCA Newsroom Link
New Austin COVID-19 Ordinances
Yesterday(7/9/2020) the City of Austin adopted two ordinances mandating additional requirements and allowing civil penalties related to the COVID-19 health crisis. Many of the requirements are consistent with those already in place for the construction industry in Travis County and the City of Austin.
You can copies of the ordinances on the TCA website by clicking here.
The first ordinance declares that a site that fails to meet required standards may be deemed a "public health nuisance" and the city attorney may file a civil suit to request a court order mandating compliance. The second ordinance requires Austin Public Health to adopt rules and provides for a fine of up to $2,000 per violation of the rules (rules are pending).
The ordinances are expected to become effective Tuesday, July 14th and will stay in effect until December 31st.
The requirements ordinance mandates the following for all "sites" in the City of Austin with 10 or more persons present at one time. The responsibility for compliance is on those persons that own, operate, manage or oversee a site. "Site" means property. Exceptions include government property, dwelling units, and property where medical services or child care programs are provided.
In addition to the above, the ordinance specifically requires the following for construction sites:
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
TCA has received several inquiries about the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 signed by the President last night. Attached is a summary of the Act. In short it provides the following:
Emergency Paid Sick Leave: Private employers with fewer than 500 employees must provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave to eligible employees when they are unable to work due to a covered reason. The Act includes a provision allowing the Secretary of Labor to exempt businesses with fewer than 50 employees from paying for sick time taken due to school or daycare closures "when the imposition of such requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern."
Expansion of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): Eligible employees may take job-protected leave of up to 12 weeks when the employee is unable to work due to a need to take leave to care for a child. Note - this change applies to all private businesses with fewer than 500 employees and does not exempt businesses with fewer than 50 employees like existing FMLA provisions.
Read the Full Act Here:
Dallas Shelter In Place Amendment
On March 22cd, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins ordered a Shelter-In-Place for Dallas County. Click below to view the full amended order.
Per the order, all businesses operating within Dallas County, except Essential Businesses as defined in Section 2, are required to cease all activities at facilities located within the County. Under 2.b.iii – Essential Critical Infrastructure – “Work necessary to the operations and maintenance of the 16 critical infrastructure sectors as identified by the National Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency including public works construction, residential and commercial construction, etc.”
Construction is considered an Essential Business and can continue operating. Please continue to distribute OSHA 3990-03 guidance on preparing the workplace in light of COVID-19 and encouraging worker education.
Tarrant County Shelter In Place Executive Order
Click below for the Shelter in Place Order
On March 25th, Tarrant County Judge B. Glen Whitley ordered a Shelter-In-Place for Tarrant County. Click below to view the full amended order. For more information please visit our website for COVID-19 information and resources.
COVID-19 Language for Notice of Delay
Letter of Notice of Delay written by ASA National Legal Team for typical AIA contract
Dallas County Construction Industry Essential Business Rules
Thank you to several business leaders in our industry, who have stepped up to help keep construction deemed as an “Essential Business”. Please keep supporting this effort through adhering to enhanced standards moving forward. These standards went into effect, Sunday, March, 29, 2020.
Thank you to those who have already have been following these practices. We need ALL contractors, general and specialty trades, who are and might be violating the industry standards to follow these guidelines. There are major safety concerns for residential contractors not following rules. Dallas County will be ramping-up enforcement because there are companies not following the mandates from Gov. Abbott and Judge Jenkins.
Most of these recommendations are based on the Construction Industry Safety coalition. Judge Jenkins needs the support of industry. He and his team are working diligently to keep our job sites safe, and to keep the workers safe, so that our sites are not a hot-bed of community spread. These standards allow us to keep working and keep this segment of our economy open.
Department of Labor MANDATORY Poster
See below about a new poster employers are required to post. It must be provided by email, mail, or posting on our website for our employees to see.
It also published guidance in the form of FAQ’s Employers must post this poster in a "conspicuous" place on its premises. Employers can comply by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees, or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website.
Please call or reach out with any questions.
The poster is attached and can be found here:
Attached is a copy of OSHA Publication 3390, "Guidance for Preparing your Workplace for COVID-19". This includes helpful information on workplace controls and worker education.
Additionally, click this link for a short video demonstrating effective hand washing as well as an attached FAQ that you may wish to circulate this among your employees.
Construction Industry Safety Coalition
The ASA is a member of the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC). CISC has finalized a document entitled the “CISC Recommendations: COVID-19 Exposure Prevention, Preparedness, and Response Plan for Construction," and you may find its contents useful.
The purpose of this plan is to outline the steps that every construction employer and employee can take to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. The plan describes how to prevent worker exposure to coronavirus, protective measures to be taken on the job site, personal protective equipment and work practice controls to be used, cleaning and disinfecting procedures, and what to do if a worker becomes sick.
Included in the plan are also two letters: Essential Industry Employees who are traveling to construction job sites and Employee Notification if a confirmed case of COVID-19 occurs at work, as well as a COVID-19 Checklist for Employers and Employees and a COVID-19 toolbox training talk.
Example of a Temperature Check Sheet and Log
Basic Wellness Check-In Sheet Template provided by CORE Safety Group
Recommended Practices From AGC
AGC of Houston has put together a good list of recommended protocols for construction jobsites to address the spread of COVID-19. Attached are copies of the recommendations in both English and Spanish. You and your employees may have already seen some of these practices being put into place.
Please feel free to share the attached documents with others in our industry.
Letter to the Governor and Elected Officials
Attached is a copy of a letter to Governor Greg Abbott from all of the major construction industry associations in Texas requesting that he refrain from curtailing construction activities during this time. We will be sharing this letter with local officials as well.
Read the Letter Here: