“For the past year, contractors have faced many challenges keeping jobsites open, productive, and safe,” Goldberg Segalla’s Stefan A. Borovina writes in an article with Construction Dive. “While the country has been making a slow recovery, the increase in new variant cases and vaccine delays are signs that the virus may not be going away anytime soon.”
In the article, Stefan, a member of Goldberg Segalla’s OSHA and Worksite Safety and Construction practices, discusses steps contractors can take to mitigate potential personal injury lawsuits brought on by workers claiming they were exposed to COVID-19 on a jobsite.
“The hurdles in proving COVID-19 exposure are twofold: First, how does one prove exposure at a particular location, when, by definition, one can be exposed to the COVID-19 pandemic nearly anywhere?” Stefan writes. “On top of this, the virus has an incubation period of between two and 14 days before symptoms can develop. This means that the onset of symptoms is not necessarily a reliable indicator of when exposure occurred.”
He also added that contractors who can limit exposure to COVID-19 on a jobsite are less likely to be liable for an OSHA violation or a personal injury lawsuit.
“COVID-19, like other jobsite hazards, can be mitigated through the effective use of the hierarchy of controls,” he writes. “Contractors should aim to use the most effective control possible given the particulars of the job task or environment. These include practices such as enhanced ventilation and hygiene, social distancing, the use of PPE, and staggered shifts.”
“Take These Steps to Avoid COVID-19 Personal Injury Lawsuits,” Construction Dive, February 4, 2021
Stefan A. Borovina, a Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST) and attorney with more than a decade of litigation and risk-management experience, is an advisor to construction contractors, large subcontractors, developers, premises owners, and other clients across the country operating in construction, manufacturing, and other industries. Stefan is an authority on matters related to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the compliance issues in construction and general industry, as well as matters related to New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) inspections, citations, permitting, licensing, and general compliance. In addition to guiding clients through OSHA and DOB inspections and citations and advising on worksite safety programs, Stefan also regularly represents and advises clients with respect to construction contracts, payment performance, and liens.