Washington Governor Inslee announced Friday, April 24, that certain low-risk construction projects – that had already been underway – could restart as long as they can comply with a COVID-19 Safety Plan developed by a working group that included contractors and workers.
The plan includes requirements for safety training, physical distancing, PPE, sanitation, monitoring employees for symptoms and logging job site visitors.
The announcement does not restart other industry or activity.
According to the governor’s office, the order also includes public construction projects underway from the state Department of Transportation. WSDOT staff and contractors will implement similar protocols and crews will need to demonstrate how they will adhere to safety protocols and compliance.
The announcement means multiple construction projects in North Bend and Snoqualmie that were halted in late March by the statewide stay home order can now resume.
North Bend Mayor Rob McFarland said, “We are working to allow construction to restart early next week. We assume both general and home building will ramp back up as fast as safety measures will allow. Our first interest, though, will remain to keep staff and residents safe and healthy.”
Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson said the Spring Plaza project along Snoqualmie Parkway, as well as the Sno-King Ice Arena and Boulder Building projects in the Snoqualmie Ridge Business Park, will resume.
Larson said the Mount Si High School project, Church on the Ridge’s new building and the Panorma Apartment affordable housing project were all considered essential and did not have to halt construction in March.
Larson added, “We are seeking clarification about newly permitted projects that are ready to begin.”
Specific construction safety requirements in the governor’s plan include:
- COVID-19 site supervisor: a site-specific COVID-19 supervisor will be designated by the contractor at every job site to monitor the health of employees and enforce the COVID-19 job site safety plan.
- COVID-19 safety training: a training must be conducted on all job sites on the first day of returning to work, and weekly thereafter, to explain the protective measures in place for all workers.
- Social distancing: at least 6 feet of separation must be maintained by every person on the job site at all times.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE): employers must provide personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, goggles, face shields and face masks as appropriate, or required, for the work being done.
The plan also includes proper sanitation and cleanliness for workers, as well as policies to encourage workers to stay home or leave the job site when they are sick.