On April 17, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency released version 3.0 of its guidance on the essential critical infrastructure workforce.
CISA’s list of essential services is intended to help state, local, tribal and territorial officials as they work to develop policies to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety as well as economic and national security.
The guidance says that decisions should appropriately balance public safety, the health and safety of the workforce and the continued delivery of essential critical infrastructure services and functions.
“Overall, the updated guidance document appears to be good news for parts of the construction industry that are able to continue work safely and in compliance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Protection and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It lends additional support for government policies that affirm the construction industry is essential to America’s economy and fight against COVID-19,” said ABC Vice President of Regulatory, Labor and State Affairs Ben Brubeck. “The guidance is especially welcome news for companies operating in states that follow CISA guidance when crafting their policies identifying essential businesses and workers that may operate during COVID-19 stay-at-home policies.”
The CISA guidance is not binding on states and localities. However, roughly 10 states directly follow CISA’s guidance, while dozens of other states and localities consider it along with many other factors informing their stay-at-home and essential industry policies.
ABC continues to update its resource tracking state and local COVID-19 policies impacting the construction industry. If a new or amended state or local policy is issued in your chapter territory, please alert via email Brandon Ray, Nick Steingart and/or Ben Brubeck on ABC’s State Affairs team.
In the Public Works and Infrastructure Support Services portion of the CISA guidance (p. 13), two new bullets were added and listed first, giving construction services related to critical infrastructure a brighter green light:
• Workers who support the construction, maintenance, or rehabilitation of critical infrastructure.
• Workers supporting construction materials production, testing laboratories, material delivery services, and construction inspection.
In the Commercial Services bucket (p. 18), a bullet was added which is of interest to ABC member contractors performing maintenance and construction of commercial buildings:
• Workers supporting the operations of commercial buildings that are critical to safety, security, and the continuance of essential activities, such as on-site property managers, building engineers, security staff, fire safety directors, janitorial personnel, and service technicians (e.g., mechanical, HVAC, plumbers, electricians, and elevator).
In the Residential/Shelter Facilities and Services bucket (p. 19), guidance was edited to clarify essential housing and commercial construction-related activities:
In the Energy bucket (p. 9), construction was broadly highlighted as an essential service, as well as specifically mentioned in the electricity (p. 9), petroleum (p. 10) and natural gas (p. 11) sections of the document:
Also of note, in the Considerations for Government and Business section (p. 3) of the document, there is significant new language and discussion about following CDC and OSHA guidelines while performing essential services.
Visit abc.org/coronavirus for quick access to CDC, OSHA and other resources for employers and ABC’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Resources for information on hosting a safety stand-down, conducting toolbox talks and protecting total human health in the COVID-19 era.