A California law that enhances the enforcement of COVID-19 infection prevention requirements could present challenges for the construction industry.
California’s Assembly Bill 685, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in September 2020, requires employers to notify workers of potential exposures to COVID-19 and provides regulators with enhanced authority to impose penalties for violations for the next two years.
While this law applies to all businesses, it creates particular challenges for the construction industry where subcontractors can change from day to day.
Under the new requirements, employers must notify all employees and subcontractors at a worksite of potential exposure, COVID-19-related benefits and protections, and disinfection and safety measures that will be implemented at the worksite in response to the potential exposure, according to the California Department of Industrial Relations. In addition, the new rule enhances Cal/OSHA’s enforcement of COVID-19 infection prevention requirements by allowing citations for serious violations to be issued quickly.
The law also requires employers to notify local public health agencies of all workplace outbreaks, defined as three or more laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 among employees who live in different households. On a construction site, where several trades or contractors may be present on a given day, construction managers should make a good-faith effort to notify all individuals who may have been on site at the same time as the infectious individual.
The law states that from Jan. 1, 2021 to Jan. 1, 2023:
- Cal/OSHA can shut down a worksite that exposes employees to an imminent hazard related to COVID-19.
- Cal/OSHA can issue citations for serious COVID-19 violations, without having to provide 15 days’ notice.
Expert Help to Navigate COVID-19 Requirements
An experienced partner can help you navigate the challenges of these new requirements so you can focus on your core business.
Omega Environmental Services has 25 years of experience in environmental management, microbial decontamination, and mitigation of environmental risks. The Omega team includes scientists, infectious disease experts, public health professionals, toxicologists, industrial hygienists, and industry veterans who specialize in mitigating risk, including infectious diseases.
We stay up to date with the evolving disinfection guidance and recommendations provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and can provide a detailed site and industry-specific set of business continuity guidelines for minimizing the health and safety risks in your workplace.
We can help with reopening guidelines and operations and maintenance protocols for COVID-19, including:
- COVID-19 exposure assessment
- Record keeping and risk communication
- Employee and worker protection
- Enhanced cleaning and disinfection
- Testing of HVAC and water systems
- Occupant density control
- Personal protective equipment
- Risk management
- Project management or consultation
State-of-the-Art Methods for Combating Infectious Diseases
Our staff has expertise in the successful control of threats from many disease outbreaks including SARS, Ebola, Legionella and Norovirus.
Omega uses a rapid, in-field, quantitative testing method to determine the presence of microbes on high-touch surfaces both before and after cleaning to ensure adequate reduction in surface contaminants. Other test methods are available to validate disinfection efficacy.
In addition to utilizing vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP), an EPA-approved viral disinfectant, we can provide high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuuming and ultraviolet (UV) light disinfection.
Contact Omega today to find out more about how our services can help you navigate through COVID-19 requirements with ease.