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  • Andy Adams

Dallas County Issues Rules of Essential Construction

You can bet these revisions will be applied throughout Texas soon enough. If you are performing essential construction services even outside of Dallas County, please review them carefully and consider implementing them at your jobsites. Might as well start practicing!

While construction is clearly an essential industry, It is not hard to envision city and county governments tightening the definitions of essential industry and expanding work stoppages if workers refuse to follow COVID-19 protocols. We have copied the order below. Work safe:

This document provides guidance for persons and business associated with the building and construction industries and trades on the meaning and application of Order issued by Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins on March 29, 2020 (the “Order”).

Reason for Construction Rules. The purpose of these rules is to outline the steps that every employer and employee must take to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. The rules describe how to prevent worker exposure to coronavirus, protective measures to be taken on the jobsite, and cleaning and disinfecting procedures.

Construction as Critical Infrastructure. The Order classified construction for public works, residential, commercial, and schools as critical infrastructure. Elective additions and maintenance are prohibited.

Requirements for Construction. All employers involved in construction activity must follow the requirements set forth in the COVID-19 Safety Recommendations issued by the Construction Industry Safety Coalition, including the rules below:

  1. Mandatory temperature checks of all workers before they leave home. If a worker has a temperature above 99.6 degrees Fahrenheit, then they are prohibited from going to work and must remain at their residence;

  2. Temperature checks of all workers with a forehead thermometer at the construction site before they may begin work. If an employee or contractor has a temperature above 99.6 degrees Fahrenheit, then they are to be sent home immediately;

  3. Implement shift work;

  4. Limit crossover of subcontractors;

  5. Prohibit gatherings during meals or breaks;

  6. Keep a 6 foot distance between people at all times, unless the work being performed requires multiple individuals for the safety of the workers;

  7. Do not use a common water cooler. Provide individual water bottles or instruct workers to bring their own;

  8. Allow non-essential personnel to work from home when possible;

  9. Provide soap and water and hand sanitizer in the workplace, including all restrooms. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained;

  10. Mandatory handwashing of at least twenty (20) seconds for workers during the following:

  • Before workers begin workAfter workers remove gloves;

  • Before and after the use of shared items such as tools or multi-user devices;

  • Before and after any meal or restroom breaks; and

  • After a worker’s shift or work time ends.

  1. Mandatory rest breaks of at least fifteen (15) minutes for every four (4) hours worked so workers may follow hygiene guidelines;

  2. Provide one (1) working flushing toilet for every fifteen (15) workers on site or one (1) outdoor portable toilet for every 10 workers on site;

  3. No adverse action taken against an employee who has been quarantined, or advised to self-quarantine, due to possible exposure to coronavirus; and

  4. Designate a COVID-19 safety monitor on each site who has the authority to enforce these rules.

Enforcement. Failure to strictly comply with this Order can result in penalties described below. Additionally, the general contractor and non-compliant subcontractor can be removed from the essential business list.

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