Nevada OSHA Issus New Guidance On Six-Foot Social Distancing For Construction Job Sites

Toni Sutton-Deangelico

Nevada ( Nevada workplace safety regulators have updated a memo that was previously sent out to the construction industry that created an exception to the social distancing rules where tasks on the job sites were deemed “impractical” and “infeasible.”

This latest memo comes after the Nevada OSHA issued over 80 warnings to construction leaders saying they visibly witnessed several worksites not following the required social distancing rules. Via a records request, it had been logged that the observations that were made by OSHA ranged from two employees measuring distances close together to two workers in a manlift.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 at work sites, state regulators have imposed a strict social distancing policy. However, construction contractors were quick to argue that to complete specific tasks such as setting windowpanes, workers would have to break the social distancing rules, and the rules needed to be loosened for them to complete those particular tasks.

In the updated memo, Nevada OSHA has amended its policy to allow for limited exceptions to the social rules so that duties such as window panes can be put in, and construction sites won’t have to worry about violating social distancing rules.

However, The new memo goes into quite specific details about the measures that are required to be taken when workers are conducting these certain job functions that require them to be within six feet of one another. In those cases, contractors will now have to conduct a Job Hazard Analysis for each task. They must identify the responsibilities as well as hazards and what mitigation measures, like personal protective equipment, are to be employed. The memo states that the measures should “be as effective or more effective as the six feet social distancing mandate,” and that training is required for such actions.

The new memo also advised employers to impose social distancing rules for work breaks and required that all employers terminate any worker after receiving three violations. During breaks and downtimes, all workers must observe whether their co-workers are following distancing guidelines. It states that they should be observant in any and all areas, including “parking lots, staging areas, and any other location identified by the employer to be a supportive part of the overall project.”

According to a media release, Chief Administrative Officer for Nevada OSHA Jess Lankford stated the agency “would cite every contractor for a social distancing violation.” Nevada OSHA declared in the memorandum that they would still continue to conduct “random onsite inspections” to make sure that job sites are complying with guidelines, and also said that there could be fines or worksite closures for violations.

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