How the Coronavirus May Affect OSHA Compliance on Building Sites

March 18, 2020
Removing dust with mask on
By Patryk Kosmider

The coronavirus is disrupting American life as we know it, and the National Association of Home Builders is watching out for two ways OSHA compliance may be affected: masks and injury and illness reporting. Despite health organizations urging those who are not ill to stop stockpiling masks, N95 masks, the unofficial symbol of the coronavirus pandemic, have become scarce. The NAHB warns that builders may have a harder time finding the masks, which are integral to protecting against silica dust, and recommends that builders either use a different mask model or try to reduce the amount of dust created in the first place. And though it is unclear how reporting instances of the coronavirus will go, NAHB says that builders should keep their eye on the changing policy surrounding the virus. 

The effects of the COVID-19 illness associated with a new coronavirus have already proven to be extraordinarily broad, ranging from the obvious strain on countries’ healthcare systems to a global economic slowdown spurred by social distancing and reduced commerce. Those impacts might be felt for months to come.

But NAHB has identified at least two areas of concern for home builders in the short term, both related to compliance with OSHA standards: The availability of N95 respirators for those working with respirable silica dust and OSHA reporting standards on injuries and illnesses in the workplace.

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