This post is co-written by Phyllis Karasov and Mike Schechter.
On Wednesday, June 24, we wrote an article on the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry’s guidance that requires a preparedness plan for the construction industry. The guidance was confusing and placed onerous responsibilities on contractors, owners and public entities, including ensuring that plans among owners, generals, subcontractors, and others align. AGC of Minnesota and Housing First Minnesota have been advocating for meaningful clarification and change in the guidance on behalf of the construction industry. DLI updated its guidance on Thursday, June 25th.
The effective date of Monday, June 29 has not changed. Given the ongoing vagaries, late and continued updates, challenges to comply, and general confusion, AGC is working to delay this effective date to permit better dialogue with DLI, hopefully more workable guidance and communicate the guidance with the industry.
As it stands now, the updated guidance does little to address the construction industry’s concerns. The guidance lists most of its protocols as “required” with a few protocols described as “recommended.” Many additional mandates have been added. The latest updated guidance also loosens the general contractor’s responsibility for compliance by subcontractors and others on the job site, although the general contractor is still responsible for ensuring that businesses performing work activities at the worksite have COVID-19 preparedness plans that meet the requirements of the guidance. General contractors must also ensure diligent investigations are conducted at the worksite to evaluate and assess instances of exposure, whether actual or potential, involving workers who have COVID-19 or there is reason to believe may be COVID-19 positive.
We recommend that construction contractors contact OSHA Consultation with their concerns and questions to elevate the significance of the challenges these requirements pose. OSHA Workplace Safety Consultation can be reached at OSHA.firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also contact Phyllis Karasov with questions or for assistance with the drafting of a Preparedness Plan.
About the Authors
Phyllis Karasov is chair of the Larkin Hoffman labor and employment law practice group and advises businesses on labor and employment matters. Her clients come from a variety of sectors, including construction, manufacturing, higher education, K-12 private education, nonprofit and healthcare. She provides counsel in all areas of human resources, including hiring, handbooks, regulatory compliance, discrimination, sexual harassment, discipline and termination, Americans with Disabilities Act, OSHA rules and the Family and Medical Leave Act. As a former National Labor Relations Board attorney, Phyllis is often called upon to represent clients in labor union matters including arbitrations, collective bargaining agreements and union contracts. Phyllis is also on the Board of Directors for the Associated General Contractors of Minnesota.
Mike Schechter, Associated General Contractors of Minnesota
Mike Schechter is the General Counsel and Director of Labor Relations for the Associated General Contractors of Minnesota. AGC serves the construction industry to improve construction conditions, create jobs, promote safety, and benefit the communities. It works with government, unions, community groups, and related businesses and associations. You can learn more about Mike at https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikeschechter.