While contractors and their legal advisers try to work out how the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated mandatory project shutdowns will affect future jobsite operations and profitability, it’s worth looking ahead to what kind of contract terms construction companies could face in the future.
It is every party’s responsibility to protect their own positions, so how might owners change their preferred contract delivery methods or, at the very least, the terms to help them decrease risk and maximize flexibility? Click here to read the entire article.
The coronavirus crisis has had a negative effect on construction firms across the country but those working in a handful of states, especially those with government-mandated jobsite shutdowns, have been especially hard hit.
A look at government employment statistics and jobsite construction activity pinpoints the states that have been most impacted.
While the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics' data shows deep construction job losses across the country since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, states including Michigan, Pennsylvania and Vermont experienced all-time lows. All but one state — South Dakota — had a decline in construction employment. Click here to read the entire article.
As officials across the United States give the green light to retail, restaurant and other businesses to reopen their doors, OSHA has announced it will bolster its in-person inspections.
OSHA stated that the newly-issued enforcement guidance to increase inspections "reflects changing circumstances in which many non-critical businesses have begun to reopen in areas of lower community spread." Staff has been directed to prioritize COVID-19 inspections as well as utilize all enforcement tools "as OSHA has historically done." Click here to read the entire article.
On May 15, the Small Business Administration (SBA) released the long-awaited Payroll Protection Program Forgiveness Application. Under the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) entrepreneurs may apply to have up to 100 percent of their loan forgiven.
However, the SBA has failed to give clear guidance on the details of loan forgiveness, and this has caused entrepreneurs to question what they need to do to prepare for PPP loan forgiveness. The new application provides clarity on a few points. Click here to read the entire article.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has adopted revised policies for enforcing OSHA’s requirements with respect to coronavirus as economies reopen in states throughout the country.
Throughout the course of the pandemic, understanding about the transmission and prevention of infection has improved. The government and the private sector have taken rapid and evolving measures to slow the virus’s spread, protect employees, and adapt to new ways of doing business.
Now, as states begin reopening their economies, OSHA has issued two revised enforcement policies to ensure employers are taking action to protect their employees. Click here to read the entire article.
So you received your funds from the Paycheck Protection Program, now what? The next step is to make sure you spend the funds in a way that maximizes the forgiveness of the loan. That will take some planning on the front end and monitoring of regulatory guidance during the next eight weeks. Click here to read the entire article.
As businesses across the country begin to reopen and bring people back to work facilities, it’s critical that measures are in place to protect the health of workers and others who enter your facility.
“You should have a pandemic plan for your workplace, and the key here is that you may need to add reentry procedures to that plan,” says Deb Roy, M.P.H., RN, COHN-S, CSP, CIT, FASSP, FAAOHN, president of SafeTech Consultants and ASSP President-Elect. “As part of your planning process, you have to think through how you safely bring people back to work.”
Here are some practical strategies you can use to protect your workforce and the public, as well as some other factors to keep in mind as you plan for bringing people back to your work facilities. Click here to read the entire article.
The AGC has been petitioning Treasury to provide more detailed guidance for the PPP program, which is being administered by the Small Business Administration through traditional lenders. The loans are meant to help business owners continue to pay employees rather than lay them off and cover payroll and other specific expenses for eight weeks after receiving the loan proceeds.
However, the guidance that the federal government has issued thus far regarding which firms are eligible for loans and exactly how that money can be used has been vague, according to the AGC, and has led some companies, including those in the construction industry, to either return or consider returning the money they received through the PPP to avoid potential punitive action. Click here to read the entire article.
Democrats have released another sprawling stimulus package, known as the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions or HEROES Act. The legislation includes $875 billion for cash for state and local governments and Democratic leaders say is the centerpiece of the fifth coronavirus relief package. The package also includes $20 billion each for tribal nations and for U.S. territories and provisions to support multi-employer pensions.
"We can all agree that we must open our economy as quickly as we can but we must do so based on science and data," Pelosi said. "The key to opening the door is testing, tracing, treatment and social distancing."
The legislation also includes a slew of liberal priorities left out of previous bills, including $75 billion for mortgage relief and $100 billion in assistance for renters, $25 billion for the U.S. Postal Service and $3.6 billion to shore up elections. Click here to read the entire article.
Aimed at protecting construction workers from exposure to COVID-19, a new OSHA safety alert lists measures employers should take during the pandemic.
Released April 21, the alert calls on employers to encourage workers to report any safety or health concerns and stay home when sick. Additionally, the agency recommends that in-person meetings, including toolbox talks and safety meetings, be kept as short as possible. Organizations should limit the number of workers in attendance and make sure they remain at least 6 feet apart from each other at all times.
Employers also should ensure alcohol-based wipes are used to clean tools and equipment – especially those that are shared – before and after use. Workers tasked with cleaning should consult manufacturer recommendations for proper use and any restrictions. Click here to read the entire article.