By Brad Sant, senior vice president of safety & education, ARTBA

In early March, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) posted information on its website stating, “COVID-19 can be a recordable illness if a worker is infected as a result of performing their work-related duties.” Such communications from OSHA have created concerns and some misunderstanding for employers struggling to keep their businesses operating. Because of the dynamic environment in which our members are working, ARTBA, in consultation with the safety directors at several of our leading member-companies, has written OSHA requesting more explicit instructions on this issue for our industry.

In a March 25 letter to Loren Sweatt, OSHA’s principal deputy assistant secretary of labor, ARTBA requested that the agency issue a statement indicating “employers that have not been required to report illnesses caused by health pathogens in the past will not likely need to report such exposures to COVID-19, unless their work procedures or job tasks have changed significantly in recent weeks.”

Because the Department of Homeland Security and many of the nation’s governors have classified transportation construction as an “essential” activity, ARTBA is looking for the agency to address and – hopefully – alleviate the concerns of our industry members and their employees as they continue to build and maintain key infrastructure assets nationwide.