As the novel Coronavirus spreads across the U.S., there are unprecedented measures implemented to slow down the outbreak.
Consequently, these measures have forced many businesses within the construction industry to suspend work indefinitely. States such as Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York have halted all projects unless deemed essential— leaving numerous employees out of work. With an estimated 34% drop in US GDP in Q2 of 2020, business owners need to react quickly to ensure the success of their businesses.
Please utilize the information below for guidance on how your business can operate in the current state.
Through the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Federal Government is offering financial assistance to businesses to meet their obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The SBA 7(a) loan program and the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) are separate resources for small businesses:
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
Withum has created and SBA team that is working to provide thoughts and guidance on both loan programs. We are at your disposal to answer questions. Please contact your service partner should you have any specific questions on these programs.
Create a Response Plan
Given the current state of the virus, it is crucial to remain in compliance with the latest regulations. Construction businesses/sites that can operate should develop a response plan to disclose the company’s policies and procedures regarding COVID-19. The Associated General Contractors developed an Exposure Prevention, Preparedness and Response Plan template that will allow businesses to share how they are protecting their employees and the public. Your plan should include:
- Responsibilities of Managers and Supervisors
- Leadership must lead by example and follow their response plan at all times
- Responsibilities of Employees
- All employees must play their part in the prevention of COVID-19. All employees must alert their supervisor if they experience any symptoms of the virus
- Job Site Protective Measures
- Limit all in-person meetings
- Practice social distancing during lunch breaks
- Provide hand sanitizer and disinfection wipes to all staff members
- Divide the staff into two groups so if one of the divided teams is required to quarantine it will not impact the entire staff
- Job Site Cleaning and Disinfecting
- Clean all common areas at least once a day
- Collect trash frequently
- Clean all vehicles/equipment once a day and before a new operator
- Jobsite Exposure Situations
- Make sure to take proper measures for employees who exhibit symptoms or test positive for COVID-19
- If your organization learns an employee has tested positive, be sure to alert others who have had close contact with the confirmed positive employee and direct those to self-quarantine for 14 days from the last date of contact with the employee
- OSHA Recordkeeping
- OSHA requires employers to record work-related injuries and illnesses that meet certain severity criteria on the OSHA 300 log, as well as complete the OSHA Form 301 upon the occurrence of these injuries
- The organization reserves the right to inform other employees that an unnamed co-worker has been diagnosed with COVID-19 if the other employees might have been exposed to the disease so they may take measures to protect their health
Site Plan for Shuttered Construction Operations for New Jersey
While COVID-19 may stall production, it is important to have a plan for when operations resume. The Associated Construction Contractors of New Jersey created a Workplace Stalled Site Plan that can be utilized as guidance for halted construction sites.