House Bill 2400 to Finish Construction Projects Heads to the Senate and Needs to Become Law, Turzai Says
HARRISBURG – With more than 1.5 million unemployment compensation claims in Pennsylvania since March 15, the House today passed legislation to allow all public and private construction activities to be undertaken that adhere to mitigation measures set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect workers and mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) said. This is a voluntary approach, not a mandate. Those who want to work safely can do so. Those who do not want to work don’t have to do so.
“As we deal with this COVID-19 health crisis, we must be safe,” Turzai said. “House Bill 2400 will allow public and private construction activities that adhere to social distancing practices and other mitigation measures defined by the CDC to protect their workers. The governor has already granted waivers to some construction projects. This is not fair.
“This is not about business. This is about employees and self-employed persons in construction who want to put food on their families’ tables and provide shelter for their families. People across Pennsylvania want the dignity of work, an opportunity to care for their families, and to be safe. You can have all three, as it is happening across the country.”
The vast majority of states (the count stands at 47) allow such projects. That includes, among others, populous states like California, Illinois, Ohio, Maryland and Florida. Further, even New York and New Jersey.
Industries have already prepared CDC compliance protocols for members and employees, such as “Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Plan for Construction: Recommended Safety and Health Response Plan for COVID-19 Exposure Mitigation – March 29, 2020.” Published by the General Contractors Association of Pennsylvania, with a lead role by the Master Builders’ Association of Western Pennsylvania, it aims to assist construction projects with implementing an effective COVID-19 response plan for job sites.
Halting partially completed construction projects poses risks to public health and safety of communities and residents.
“We are simply trying to allow only the economic activity that can be safely done following CDC protocols for mitigation to move forward. Construction projects started, small and large, need to continue. Mitigation efforts are or can be put in place,” Turzai added. “Our efforts are focused on giving people hope for the future as well as some peace of mind.”
House Bill 2400 now heads to the Senate for consideration.