Minnesota COVID-19 Preparedness Plans for the Construction Industry Must Comply with New Standards Released by June 29, 2020

June 26, 2020

In accordance with Executive Order 20-74, issued by Governor Tim Walz under the Peacetime Emergency, the construction industry and other essential services are required to create and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan by June 29, 2020. On June 15 and June 25, 2020, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (“MDLI”) released updates that drastically changed what was previously required to be in all Preparedness Plans. In the words of the Minnesota Associated General Contractors (“AGC”), the June updates have been a, “180-degree change from how the industry has been operating for the last 10 weeks.”  

The June updates change many of the permissive “Best Practices” into mandatory “MUST” requirements. All Preparedness Plans must comply with the new standards released by the MDLI. Failure to abide by the requirements could result in a fine and/or your business’ license being suspended or revoked.

Here are a few of the new requirements found in the most recent update:

  1. Preparedness Plans must be posted and readily available at every worksite.
  2. All businesses that have workers performing work activities at a worksite, including contractors, subcontractors, and independent contractors must have a written COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. Further, the general contractor must ensure each Preparedness Plan can be effectively implemented at each worksite, address worksite-specific COVID-19 hazards, and is aligned with the general contractor’s Preparedness Plan.
  3. General contracts must also ensure “diligent investigations” are being conducted at each worksite to identify actual or potential COVID-19 exposures. This includes identifying workers that the general contractor “has reason to believe” may be COVID-19 positive. 
  4. Each worksite must abide by the “Ensure Sick Workers Stay Home” requirements. This includes establishing a health screening protocol which includes daily health tests upon an employee’s arrival and check-in to the worksite.
  5. Contractors must have reporting procedures in place incase an employee is COVID-19 positive or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. These procedures must adequately inform other workers of their potential exposure, but also protect the infected worker’s privacy.
  6. All employees must abide by social distancing requirements.

The above list is certainly not exhaustive and the requirements apply equally to commercial and residential contractors. Numerous organizations have been actively engaging with MDLI leadership in trying to bring the departments’ focus and attention to what the AGC called a “myriad of challenges and impracticalities” found within the new standards. The MDLI is now holding webinars to answer any questions about the standards. The webinars will be held July 1, at 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. and July 2, 9:00 to 10:30 am. You can register for the webinars at this link: https://secure.doli.state.mn.us/events/.

As Minnesota continues to figure out how to best open its doors, the attorneys at Arthur Chapman Kettering Smetak & Pikala are here to help you navigate through these ever changing times. The firm has assisted numerous businesses and organizations draft Preparedness Plans and we are here to help. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our firm regarding any of your construction law concerns and specifically, our COVID-19 Task Force is also available for and related questions.