1. OSHA Issues Additional Guidance on COVID as Recordable Illness
On April 10, 2020, OSHA released updated enforcement guidance for recording cases of COVID-19. The guidance clarifies that OSHA’s recordkeeping requirement for COVID-19 as a recordable illness applies to those in the healthcare industry and emergency response organizations. OSHA will not enforce its recordkeeping requirements to employers outside of these sectors.
NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA has been working with OSHA to make this clarification to ensure that NECA contractors are not responsible for recording COVID-19 on their OSHA 300 logs on the basis that it is impossible to prove COVID-19 was contracted on the jobsite.
2. GSA Issues Order Allowing Electronic Signatures for Bonding
NECA Government Affairs has worked with allied groups in the construction industry to push the General Services Administration (GSA) to issue an order allowing bonding vendors and sureties to use electronic signatures instead of the typically required ‘wet’ signatures. By doing so, our contractors can receive bonding, necessary on a majority of jobs, sooner and with less unnecessary contact during these challenging times. We are pleased to announce that this reform was recently issued. While this strictly applies to only GSA contracts, NECA government affairs, along with others, is working to spread this reform to the entirety of the federal government.
NECA’s Look Ahead: Our contractors commend the GSA for their prompt response and reasonable revision. NECA will continue to work with the GSA and other construction industry groups to push for responsible reform and the removing of barriers to our industry’s reinvigoration.
3. NECA Calls for Additional Funding for Paycheck Protection Program
NECA and many of its Chapters joined over two hundred trade associations in sending a letter to Congress to urge emergency funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP has been very successful and widely utilized by the construction industry according to the Small Business Administration. The program ran out of funding on April 16, 2020.
NECA’s Look Ahead: With both the House and the Senate officially out of session until May, it seems unlikely that Congress will be able to agree to and pass by unanimous consent, NECA remains committed to urging Congress to continue to fund this important program and return to Washington D.C. to start critical negotiations for Phase IV COVID-19 legislation.