NRCA recognizes this is a time of uncertainty, and we want to provide a clearinghouse of information and resources addressing various issues you may be facing in managing your business through the crisis. This includes best practices for prevention; links to authoritative information from the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization and Occupational Safety and Health Administration; legal resources, including key contract provisions; insurance resources; federal financial assistance; employers’ and employees’ rights; and more. Check back often as we will provide updates on an ongoing basis.
The Centers for Disease Control provides regular updates about the COVID-19 virus, prevention, what do if you are sick, a workplace poster, etc.; and the World Health Organization offers guidance for getting workplaces ready for COVID-19.
The CDC provides the latest information about COVID-19; visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov.
The CDC discusses symptoms, complications, prevention and what to do if you are sick; click here.
The CDC document, Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers, offers the following recommended strategies for employers to use now:
The CDC offers a poster, Do Your Part to Slow the Spread of Germs, for use in the workplace, click here to download.
The World Health Organization offers the document, Getting Your Workplace Ready for COVID-19, click here to download. This document addresses how COVID-19 spreads and provides simple ways to prevent the spread of the virus in the workplace.
WHO and public health authorities throughout the world are taking action to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. However, long-term success cannot be taken for granted. All sections of our society, including businesses and employers, must play a role if we are to stop the spread of this disease by taking the following action:
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers a COVID-19 planning guidance, information for workers and employers, and resources for small businesses.
OSHA had developed a safety and health topics page that includes information in English and Spanish regarding COVID-19 worker exposure, hazard recognition and control, reducing risk, enforcement memos and additional resources organized by industry sector. OSHA updates the page regularly, so you can check back for the latest information. Click here to access this OSHA resource.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration developed a COVID-19 planning guidance based on traditional infection prevention and industrial hygiene practices. It focuses on the need to implement engineering, administrative and work practice controls and use of personal protective equipment. The OSHA guidance is advisory in nature and informational in content. It is not a standard or a regulation, and it neither creates new legal obligations nor alters existing obligations created by OSHA standards or the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Pursuant to the OSH Act, employers must comply with safety and health standards and regulations issued and enforced either by OSHA or an OSHA-approved state plan. In addition, the OSH Act’s General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1), requires employers to provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm. OSHA-approved state plans may have standards, regulations and enforcement policies that are different from, but at least as effective as, OSHA’s. Check with your state plan, as applicable, for more information.
The guide is located here.
The OSHA COVID-19 webpage, www.osha.gov/covid-19, offers information specifically for workers and employers.
OSHA released a document explaining how the OSHA standards pertain (or not) to COVID-19 in the workplace. It is important to note if roofing company employees contract the COVID-19 virus, it does not constitute a recordable incident for OSHA log purposes. For OSHA guidance on recordables, click here.
OSHA has issued a Memorandum on Discretion in Enforcement when Considering an Employer’s Good Faith Efforts During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic, which will take effect immediately and remain in effect until further notice. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, OSHA understands some employers may face difficulties complying with OSHA standards because of the ongoing health emergency. Widespread business closures, restrictions on travel, limitations on group sizes, facility visitor prohibitions and stay-at-home or shelter-in-place requirements may limit the availability of employees, consultants or contractors who normally provide training, auditing, equipment inspections, testing, and other essential safety and industrial hygiene services. During the course of an inspection, OSHA area offices will assess an employer's efforts to comply with OSHA standards that require annual or recurring audits, reviews, training or assessments, and evaluate whether the employer has made good-faith efforts to comply with applicable OSHA standards and, in situations where compliance was not possible, ensure employees were not exposed to hazards from tasks, processes or equipment for which they were not prepared or trained. The guidance is intended to be time-limited to the current public health crisis.
In mid-March, OSHA issued temporary enforcement guidance about healthcare workplaces that revised OSHA’s annual fit-testing requirements for respirators in an effort to conserve limited supplies of certain respirators critical to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 8, OSHA issued the following expanded guidance that makes the original guidance for healthcare workplaces applicable to all workplaces where respirator use is required by employers. Click here for the temporary enforcement guidance.
On April 8, OSHA expanded temporary enforcement guidance allowing OSHA field offices to exercise enforcement discretion concerning the annual fit-testing requirements as long as employers have made good-faith efforts to comply with the requirements of OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard and follow the steps outlined in OSHA’s March 14, 2020, memorandum. Employers also should assess their engineering controls, work practices and administrative controls on an ongoing basis to identify any changes they can make to decrease the need for N95s or other FFRs. Click here for the expanded temporary enforcement guidance.
You need to review your contracts and understand clauses like force majeure to make sure your company is protected.
ConsensusDocs, a not-for-profit coalition of national associations, including NRCA, represents diverse interests in the design and construction industry. ConsensusDocs recently created its COVID-19 Resource Center, which includes a comprehensive analysis of contract issues, including a sample notice letter, worker restriction orders across the U.S., and a sample essential worker certificate. Click here to access the resource.
Richard Blystone, an attorney with Cotney Construction Law, offers the following guidance regarding employers taking employees temperatures. Click here to view.
The following articles from NRCA Counsel Trent Cotney provide information about contract provisions and the effects of COVID-19 on construction.
Attorneys Philip Siegel and Benjamin Lowenthal of Hendrick Salzman Phillips and Siegel, Atlanta, have put together answers for many of the most pressing labor and employment related questions that they have been receiving. Please note: If you have a company handbook, they suggest you first consult and follow your company’s policies as published in your company handbook.
The following information from Cotney Construction law provides general best-practices when terminating an employee. Employers must be aware of the recently enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which includes anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation provisions related to new paid leave laws and provides for enhanced unemployment benefits for employees whose termination is related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to view the guidelines.
Attorney Stephen Phillips of Hendrick Phillips Salzman & Siegel PC, Atlanta, provides information and contract provisions regarding potential job delays, delays in obtaining materials, inability to staff a job as originally contemplated, supply chain disruption, unexpected and substantial price increases and other potential cost impacts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic with regard to ongoing and upcoming projects. Click here to read.
There are many additional safety resources that provide valuable information about how to manage COVID-19. NRCA will provide information and links as they become available.
NRCA has assembled useful resources to help roofing contractors increase worker awareness and understanding of COVID-19 and how best to protect against the virus. The resources provide everything a contractor needs to conduct an initial COVID-19 training session, which can be done virtually or in person, for his or her employees. If conducted in person, NRCA suggests using chairs, traffic cones or 5-gallon buckets separated by 6 feet to mark where employees should stand or sit to maintain a safe physical separation as the facilitator presents the material. Much of the content comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and may be of use to minimize other health hazards not involving COVID-19.
OSHA has loosened enforcement of respiratory-protection requirements because of shortages of N-95 respirators. The CDC recommends face coverings as a means of protecting others from the coronavirus where N-95 respirator use is neither required nor available. Click here for details.
NRCA provides guidance for how manage service technicians during this time, including social distancing, sequencing, communication, site access, transportation, tools and equipment, and payment. Click here to view.
Given that many NRCA members will likely be required to suspend work during the COVID-19 period, NRCA’s Technical Service section has prepared guidance for contractors who find themselves having to suspend jobs in progress. Click here for details.
NRCA has developed a document providing considerations for managing COVID-19. Click here to learn more.
The Construction Industry Safety Coalition, comprising 25 trade associations from all sectors of the construction industry, including NRCA, the Associated General Contractors of America, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of the Remodeling Industry and Tile Roofing Industry Alliance, have prepared a COVID-19 response plan for construction. The response plan is available in English and Spanish and includes:
The Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention says employers have a key role to play not only in taking care of their employees’ physical health and safety during this difficult time, but also their mental health. The alliance offers resources to educate yourself and equip your employees to help them get through this challenging time. Click here for more information.
The following is a summary of the provisions that may be applicable to businesses in the roofing industry. Click here to view.
The Federal Reserve Board announced it is expanding the scope and eligibility for the Main Street Lending Program, which assists small and mid-sized businesses employing up to 15,000 employees or that have revenues up to $5 billion annually. Click here for the announcement and related information.
Under the CARES Act, the Department of Treasury is offering assistance to small businesses. The Paycheck Protection Program authorizes up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses. Click here for a top line overview of the PPP loan program, information for lenders and borrowers, and an application.
SBA has issued the following three Interim Final Rules that govern the terms for participation in the Paycheck Protection Program:
The CARES Act encourages eligible employers to keep employees on their payrolls with an Employee Retention Credit, and the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act requires certain employers to pay sick or family leave to employees unable to work or telework because of circumstances related to COVID-19. Employers are entitled to a refundable tax credit for the required leave paid up to specified limits. Click here for FAQs provided by the IRS.
Click here for the summary document.
DOL has issued 79 questions and answers about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Click here to access them.
DOL released guidance in the form of frequently asked questions and answers regarding the exemption for businesses with fewer than 50 employers from the paid leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Click here for a summary of the provisions regarding the small business exemption as discussed in questions 4, 58 and 59 of the DOL FAQs document.
The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division issued a notice March 24 announcing its first round of published guidance to provide information to employees and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act when it takes effect April 1. Additional notices were issued March 26 and 28. DOL notices can be viewed by clicking on a date below.
The Department of Labor issued a notice March 25 saying all employers with fewer than 500 employees are required to display a new COVID-19 poster in a conspicuous place in the employer's main office. Because many employees are working remotely, DOL is allowing employers to satisfy this notice requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website. The poster can be downloaded here.
DOL also provides FAQs about its notice requirement; click here to view.
Eagleview, Bellevue, Wash., is offering a free online diagnostic tool to assist small-business owners quickly evaluate eligibility for financial assistance programs offered by the Small Business Administration and generate applications for SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program. Click here for more information.
The U.S. Small Business Administration provides a number of helpful resources regarding COVID-19, including the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, guidance for businesses and employers, SBA products and resources, government contracting and local assistance. Click here to learn more.
The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus. Click here to learn more.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was enacted March 18 and requires certain employers to provide expanded family and medical leave and paid sick leave to employees unable to work or telework because of certain circumstances related to COVID-19. This notice provides that the tax credits for paid qualified sick leave wages and paid family leave wages required to be paid by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act will apply to wages paid for the period beginning April 1, 2020, and ending Dec. 31, 2020.
Click here to view the notice.
The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced the tax filings and payments for all federal income taxes (including self-employment tax) due on April 15, 2020, regardless of amount, will now be due on July 15, 2020. Click here to learn more.
It’s important you know about workers’ compensation and business interruption insurance as they relate to COVID-19, as well as your duty to notify your insurance company in the event of a claim.
Worker’s compensation coverage is triggered by injury or illness as the result of employment activities sustained by a worker. The nature of an illness like COVID-19 is not likely to be triggered by activities directly involved in roofing-related work. It doesn’t mean a roofing worker cannot expose a fellow worker or be exposed by a customer; however, the work itself does not involve managing or work involving the virus.
In addition, the latency period (the time between exposure and when symptoms develop) varies reportedly from two to 14 days, making it virtually impossible to pinpoint when someone was exposed. For example, it is more likely health care workers who are on the front lines at a hospital and are constantly exposed to infected patients might contract the illness as a result of workplace activities. In such cases, there is clearer evidence that healthcare workers who contract the illness are considered recordable for OSHA purposes and workers’ compensation coverage is triggered. However, OSHA, in a memo issued April 10, revised its guidance on whether employers are required to record cases of COVID-19 in their 300 Logs for reporting occupational injuries and illnesses. OSHA’s memo is in direct response to significant concerns raised by the Construction Industry Safety Coalition in its March 23 letter to OSHA (see attached letter) regarding its position on the recordability of COVID-19 cases.
OSHA states that in areas where there is ongoing community transmission, employers may have difficulty making determinations about whether workers who contracted COVID-19 did so because of exposures at work. Until further notice, OSHA will not enforce its recordkeeping requirements to require these employers to make work-relatedness determinations for COVID-19 cases, except where there is objective evidence that a COVID-19 case may be work-related, and the evidence was reasonably available to the employer. However, employers of workers in the healthcare industry, emergency response organizations and correctional institutions must continue to make work-relatedness determinations pursuant to 29 CFR Part 1904.
OSHA’s guidance takes effect immediately and remains in effect until further notice, which is intended to be time-limited to the current national public health emergency. Regarding workers’ compensation coverage; remember, it is always determined by the insurer guided by state-specific laws. Given the nature of this pandemic and the way it is affecting daily life, things can change. Check back for updates.
Contingent business interruption insurance provides coverage for economic losses caused by supply chain disruptions. For example, this may come into play as a result of expected shipments of materials that rely on foreign suppliers that, because of the interruptions caused by the virus, cannot fulfill their obligations. There always are limits to coverage, but this insurance is triggered typically only by physical damage to the supplier’s or customer’s covered property.
Some companies schedule annual events for customers and others. These events have expenses and may have revenues associated with them. If you have event cancellation insurance, it provides coverage for losses resulting from the cancellation, postponement or relocation of an event for reasons beyond the control of the event organizer. Some event cancellation policies contain exclusions for infectious diseases, and your insurance agent can clarify.
All insurance policies have a duty to notify the insurer when there is a loss. It is vital to contact your agent as soon as possible to avoid denial of a claim for failure to notify. It is important to keep careful documentation of all losses associated with your business.
NRCA and 10 roofing industry associations sent a letter March 24 to National Governors Association leaders Lawrence Hogan Jr. (Md.) and Andrew Cuomo (N.Y.) asking that governors across the nation include language in executive orders that are written, maintained or modified that encompasses roofing industry companies (including contractors, manufacturers and their raw material suppliers and distributors) as part of “essential businesses, workers and infrastructure.” Click here to view.
The attorneys at Hendrick Salzman Phillips and Siegel, Atlanta, compiled a list of state executive orders applicable to construction. The document provides a state-by-state listing of how some states, counties and cities are interpreting executive orders for essential construction work during this pandemic. It is wise search for a specific area(s) as this information can change. Click here to view.
Click here to view a generic authorization letter.
As more cities, states and counties issue and revise emergency orders to stop the spread of COVID-19, the National Association of Manufacturers is working to help manufacturers nationwide assess and understand the implications of these orders. NAM is advocating for states to at least adopt the federal CISA guidelines for essential businesses, specifically by incorporating by reference those guidelines in any executive orders or similarly binding declaration. Click here to view.
NRCA is providing the following guidance to assist members when they deal with regulatory actions at the state and local levels that may limit roofing industry activities. NRCA believes roofing should be classified as an essential businesses and roofing workers should be classified as essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis, primarily because roofing is integral to our nation’s infrastructure. Click here for details.
There many are state-specific resources that provide valuable information about how to manage COVID-19, “essential work” determinations and more. NRCA will provide information and links as they become available.
Multistate, a government relations services company located in Alexandria, Va., offers numerous resources about the state and local government response to COVID-19, including a dashboard, maps, and other resources for tracking how states and localities are responding to the crisis. Click here to view.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation provides charts that show projected hospital resource use based on COVID-19 deaths. Featured is a drop-down link that shows projections for each state. Click here to view.
Many states are ordering nonessential businesses to close to stop the spread of COVID-19, but others have included exemptions for construction workers, allowing them to continue working. The National Association of Home Builders offers state determinations, which are updated as new information becomes available. Click here to view.
The Governor of Illinois issued an order March 20 that broadly includes construction as essential work. Click here to learn more.
Gov. Hogan issued a Stay at Home Order March 30 that states no Maryland resident should leave his or her home unless it is for an essential job or for an essential reason. Essential businesses must make every effort to scale down their operations to reduce the number of required staff, limit interactions with customers and institute telework for as much of the workforce as is practical. No Marylander is to be traveling outside of the state unless such travel is absolutely necessary.
The order did not change what businesses are deemed essential or nonessential. Commercial and residential construction, including roofing, can continue in Maryland. Click here for more information.
The Ohio Department of Health issued an order March 22 that broadly includes construction and service in the order as essential work. Click here to learn more.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced all business in the construction industry will be permitted to resume in-person operations starting May 1. On April 23, this administration issued guidance for all construction businesses and employees to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Click here for more information.
Gov. Northam issued a Temporary Stay at Home Order March 30 requiring individuals to remain in their places of residence unless exempted. The order remains in effect until June 10 unless amended or rescinded. The restriction does not apply to the operation of businesses not required to close under the governor’s prior executive order; as such, construction is allowed to continue in Virginia. Click here for more information. Click here for more information.
Stay tuned to NRCA as we will be holding more Telephone Town Hall meetings in the near future.
On April 14, NRCA held its second Telephone Town Hall to discuss the latest developments regarding COVID-19 and the roofing industry. Panelists included roofing contractors sharing best practices for navigating the COVID-19 crisis and government relations and health and safety experts answered questions.
On March 30, NRCA held its inaugural Telephone Town Hall to discuss the latest developments regarding COVID-19 and the roofing industry. The town hall was moderated by NRCA CEO Reid Ribble, and expert NRCA presenters included Vice President of Enterprise Risk Management Tom Shanahan, Vice President of Government Affairs Duane Musser, Vice President of Technical Services Mark Graham and NRCA General Counsel Trent Cotney.
On April 24, the Roofing Alliance asked its members to complete a survey regarding business conditions in the roofing industry in quarters two and three. Here are the April 24 survey results.
On April 9, NRCA surveyed contractors to help gauge the ongoing implications of the COVID-19 crisis and to make sure NRCA continues to provide useful resources and support. Here are the April 9 survey results.
On March 24, NRCA surveyed its contractor members asking how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting their businesses. Here are the March 24 survey results.
There are many additional resources that provide valuable information about how to manage COVID-19. NRCA will provide information and links as they become available.
The Mayo Clinic has developed an online COVID-19 self-assessment tool you can access to better understand whether your personal situation and symptoms may require testing or more immediate medical assistance. Click here for the link to the tool.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency publishes “List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2” that lists disinfectant products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. EPA notes surface disinfectant products on its List N have not been tested specifically against SARS-CoV-2, but the agency expects them to kill the virus because they have demonstrated effectiveness against a harder-to-kill virus or another type of similar human coronavirus. Because COVID-19 is a new virus, it has not been subjected to laboratory testing to see whether specific disinfectant products are effective at killing it. Click here for EPA’s List N.
The following links contain demonstrations for using specific disinfectant products in a variety of settings. The procedures demonstrated are not applicable to all disinfectants, so be sure to check with the product manufacturer to see whether the product you are using is safe for all surfaces and materials and not harmful to humans.
ICC Coronavirus Response Center
The International Code Council is providing information from the Code Council, governments, and building and fire prevention departments highlighting relevant virtual products, solutions, services and best practices to support business continuity for the building safety community. Click here for more information.
ICC member survey
The International Code Council surveyed its members to find out how code officials are coping with the professional challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The results show trends on how jurisdictions in the U.S. are keeping up with inspections, new building permits and new construction during the pandemic.Click here to view survey results.
ICC Building and Fire Departments Survey
The International Code Council surveyed building and fire departments to find out how code officials are coping with the professional challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey results show trends on how jurisdictions throughout the U.S. are keeping up with inspections, new building permits and new construction. Click here to view survey results.
Vice President Mike Pence is asking the construction industry to donate its N-95 respirators to local health care facilities. This government request is something to consider depending on your supplies and work activities. It is important to first consider your workers’ needs for the work they are performing from a safety standpoint (for example, silica and dust exposures and employees who work in close proximity to the public or each other) and for OSHA compliance. Click here for details.