City of San Diego Implements COVID-19 Safety Protocols for Active Construction Sites

On April 24, 2020, the City of San Diego Development Services Department issued new COVID-19 guidelines requiring all active construction sites to develop a “comprehensive COVID-19 exposure control plan,” which includes control measures such as social distancing, symptom checking, hygiene, decontamination procedures, and training.  The County of Los Angeles Department of Building Safety recently a similar order. The COVID-19 guidelines place additional burdens on the general contractors and owners to ensure safety on the jobsite.

Under the new guidelines, all persons onsite must wear a mask or face covering and practice social distancing by maintaining at least 6 feet of distance between other workers and/or personnel at all times and whenever physically practicable. Gatherings of more than 10 people are strictly prohibited and any time two or more people must meet, they are to continue to ensure 6 feet of distance between one another. Furthermore, suppliers who deliver or pick up materials are also required to maintain a minimum of 6 feet of distance. Trades will be staggered and work schedules may be modified in order to decrease the number of workers who will gather in one place at one time.  Workers are not to share tools or equipment.  To the extent tools must be shared, each tool must be sanitized before and after each use.  Workers are to wash their hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers while on jobsites at least every 30 minutes. Communal drinking water coolers/fountains are strictly prohibited and contractors are required to provide bottled water for their workers.  All jobsites must have sufficient access to restrooms and the recommended ratio is one restroom for every 10 workers. Workers are not permitted to carpool or ride share to and from the jobsite.  Although not required, contractors are encouraged to conduct temperature checks for all those coming onto the jobsite. If a contractor elects to conduct temperature checks, confidentiality should be maintained and specific notice needs to be given at the jobsite.

The Comprehensive COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan must be posted in both English and Spanish on the jobsite.  The owner or general contractor shall designate a site-specific COVID-19 Supervisor to enforce the protocols set forth in the Comprehensive COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan.  The San Diego Development Services Department will be conducting regular inspections to ensure compliance with the new safety measures.  Failure to comply with the new guidelines shall be deemed as creating unsafe construction jobsite conditions and may result in withheld inspections and/or the entire jobsite being shut down until the safety issues are addressed.  Shutdowns could create delays and increase the costs of construction.

If you have an questions or need assistance in developing a Comprehensive COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan for your jobsite, contact Partner Katie Brach in LGC’s San Diego office.