AGC Urges OSHA to Reconsider its Decision Regarding COVID-19 Recordability and Provide Flexibility in Respirator Use Enforcement

AGC, along with its industry partners on the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC), in a letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on March 23, urged the agency to re-evaluate its decision regarding COVID-19 recordability and provide some flexibility in enforcement with respect to respirator use. Specifically, the CISC advised OSHA to consider the following alternatives to the current COVID-19 recordability requirements:

  1. Treat COVID-19 as the common cold or flu and consider cases to be an exception to the geographic presumption of work-relatedness. 
  2. Restrict work-relatedness to situations where an employee contracts COVID-19 as the result of providing direct medical treatment to a person diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19. 
  3. Allow employers to maintain a separate 300 Log of COVID-19 cases so as not to impact Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART) rates and skew national statistics assembled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The CISC also urged OSHA to evaluate its enforcement position with respect to respirator use as a shortage of N95s or other respirators will affect a significant portion of the construction industry. One approach for OSHA’s consideration is to permit the use of job rotation to reduce exposures to employees to below the PEL for exposure to hazardous chemicals in the workplace. The CISC believes that increased use of job rotation on a short-term basis will not adversely impact the health and safety of employees, as job rotation will be used only after implementation of all feasible engineering control measures and will be designed to keep all employee exposures below the PEL.