On Friday, May 1, 2020, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-70 (“EO 2020-70”). This EO allows additional industries, including those in the construction industry, to resume work on May 7, 2020.
Previously, Executive Order 2020-59 allowed certain workers to resume their work, including, for example, delivery drivers, bicycle repair workers, and groundskeepers. EO 2020-70 adds to this list of Michiganders that will be allowed to go back to work.
Specifically, subject to various conditions, EO 2020-70 allows the following workers to resume work on May 7, 2020:
- Workers who perform work that is traditionally performed outdoors, including but not limited to forestry workers, outdoor power equipment technicians, parking enforcement workers, and similar workers;
- Workers in the construction industry, including workers in the building trades (plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, and similar workers);
- Workers in the real-estate industry, including agents, appraisers, brokers, inspectors, surveyors, and registers of deeds; and
- Workers necessary to the manufacture of goods that support workplace modification to forestall the spread of COVID-19 infections.
While EO 2020-70 will allow the specified industries to resume on May 7, 2020, it will also impose a litany of stringent requirements and restrictions for those returning to work. For example, in addition to restricting the number of workers present and maintaining six-foot social distancing to the fullest extent possible, any company resuming work must adopt policies to prevent infected workers from coming to work and develop a preparedness response plan consistent with OSHA guidance, keeping such plan at the company’s headquarters and worksite.
On top of the conditions generally applicable to the industries resuming work, EO 2020-70 imposes the following conditions specific to the construction industry:
- Designate a site-specific supervisor to monitor and oversee the implementation of COVID-19 control strategies. The supervisor must remain on-site at all times during activities. An on-site worker may be designated to perform the supervisory role.
- Conduct a daily entry screening protocol for workers and visitors entering the worksite, including a questionnaire covering symptoms and exposure to people with possible COVID-19, together with, if possible, a temperature screening.
- Create dedicated entry point(s) at every worksite, if possible, for daily screening, or in the alternative issue stickers or other indicators to workers to show that they received a screening before entering the worksite that day.
- Require face shields or masks to be worn when workers cannot consistently maintain six feet of separation from other workers.
- Provide instructions for the distribution of personal protective equipment and designate on-site locations for soiled masks.
- Encourage or require the use of work gloves, as appropriate, to prevent skin contact with contaminated surfaces.
- Identify choke points and high-risk areas where workers must stand near one another (such as hallways, hoists and elevators, break areas, water stations, and buses) and control their access and use (including through physical barriers) so that social distancing is maintained.
- Ensure there are sufficient hand-washing or hand-sanitizing stations at the worksite to enable easy access by workers.
- Notify contractors (if a subcontractor) or owners (if a contractor) of any confirmed COVID-19 cases among workers at the worksite.
- Restrict unnecessary movement between project sites.
- Create protocols for minimizing personal contact upon delivery of materials to the worksite.
For any companies planning to return to work this week, immediate planning and preparation will be critically important to make sure they are working in compliance with the conditions of EO 2020-70. For more support and information relating to COVID-19, please visit the Kerr Russell COVID-19 Resource Center. If you have questions relating to the COVID-19 and/or its impact on the construction industry, please contact a Kerr Russell attorney.
Michael D. Carroll maintains a general commercial litigation practice. A particular focus of Mike’s practice is construction law. He is extremely familiar with all legal aspects of construction projects, ranging from contract negotiations to dispute resolution, including the use of litigation, mediation and arbitration techniques. Mike represents a broad range of clients in the construction area, including suppliers, subcontractors, general contractors, owners, design professionals and sureties.
F. Broc Gullett focuses his practice on construction and surety. He supports a broad range of clients in the construction area, including suppliers, subcontractors, general contractors, owners, design professionals, and sureties. He is well-versed in all legal aspects of construction projects, ranging from contract negotiations to dispute resolution, including the use of litigation, mediation, and arbitration techniques.
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