The Steel Erectors Association of America (SEAA) attended its first ConExpo-Con/Agg show last
week in Las Vegas, Nev. Despite the decision by show organizer Association of Equipment
Manufacturers (AEM) to close the show a day early due to uncertainty over COVID-19,
registration for the event totaled more than 130,000.
SEAA’s experience was a positive one. “In spite of the recent health crisis, we were able to
make great connections with industry professionals and SEAA member companies,” said Tom
Underhill, Executive Director of SEAA. “Participation gave SEAA exposure to an international
Drew Heron, Project Manager for Empire Steel, who volunteered at SEAA’s booth, said: “The
show is so much bigger than one could ever imagine. You have the opportunity to see so many
new tools, products and technologies that could really benefit the industry and SEAA member
companies,” said Heron. “AEM is to be commended for the way they handled the unprecedent
situation with the pandemic. In true Vegas fashion, the show must go on!”
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in Construction: Liability, Recordability, and Financial Implications
Over the past few weeks, it’s become clear that the world is facing a remarkable health crisis.
The coronavirus pandemic has now been detected in most countries worldwide, creating
personal, practical, and legal implications for those in the construction industry. To address
business considerations of the COVID-19 threat, employers should consider multiple categories
Recordability, EMR, and Insurance Costs
A recent publication from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has
confirmed that COVID- 19 is a recordable event; this means that employees who contract the
virus while at work must be recorded on an employer’s OSHA300 Log. These cases may be
compensable under Worker’s Compensation if it can be proven that the virus was contracted
on the job (which is fairly simple to uphold if multiple employees become infected at the same
time). In other states, it has already been decided that Worker’s Compensation will be
extended to workers exposed to COVID-19 on the job and will be inclusive of time in
quarantine, medical testing, medical expenses, and indemnity payments while out of work.
Considering the long incubation and recovery periods associated with COVID-19, these
recordable events are likely to have high levels of “Days Away From Work” and “Restricted
Duty”; furthermore, due to the contagious nature of the virus, there is significant potential for
multiple cases within a company after the first case appears. An employer’s Experience
Modification Rate (EMR) is calculated based upon both of these figures (number of claims and
severity of claims). This means that a COVID-19 situation in the workplace has the potential to
make a company’s EMR, as well as the corresponding insurance premiums, skyrocket. These
figures are kept on a company’s record for a total of three years, thus impacting the ability to
bid and receive work long term.
When thinking about the legal implications of COVID-19, employers should consider the
regulatory requirements outlined by various parties. A few of the regulatory agencies most
pertinent to the construction industry, as well the standards which apply to the COVID-19
pandemic, are outlined below:
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Due to COVID-19’s impact on global supply chains, it is likely that the spread of the virus will
result in delays and cost overruns in the construction industry. China, one of the world’s largest
exporters of building materials, is currently experiencing a 17.2% decline in exports. The party
that bears the risk and the losses resulting from construction delays and increased costs
associated with materials shortages will be dictated by contract. Contractors would be wise to
review contracts currently underway and consider making revisions to contracts soon
The data surrounding coronavirus spread in the United States is staggering, and the Center for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) are
encouraging continued adjustments and accommodations in the work setting. As business
leaders, it is important to consider all categories noted above while navigating this chaotic
period. The importance of emergency action planning, business continuity, and remote
work/alternate revenue sources cannot be over stressed.
- Julia Kunlo, Certified Safety Professional (CSP), Vice President of Evolution Safety Resources
- Ashley L. Felton, Senior Counsel, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP
- Adam P. Banks, Senior Counsel, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP
New ANSI A92 standards for Mobile Elevating Work Platforms, which were supposed to go into effect on March 1, have been pushed back. The new effective date is June 1.
Hilti will host the SEAA Board of Directors for its quarterly board meeting in Plano, Texas on June 25, 2020. Prior to the meeting, Hilti will host area erectors at a Meet & Greet reception, for a chance to learn more about SEAA’s Ironworker Craft Training program. Open to members and non-members, the Meet & Greet will take place on June 24 at the Westin Las Colinas Convention Center from 6:45 pm to 9:45 pm.