Which Mandatory Safety Standards Apply to Construction?

June 29, 2020Publications / Mentions
Associated General Contractors (AGC MA) of MA’s Building Best Practices

On May 18, 2020, Governor Charlie Baker unveiled the long-awaited reopening plan for the Commonwealth of  Massachusetts.  In advance of sharing the Commonwealth’s four-phase approach, Governor Baker released Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards that apply universally to all businesses open in Phase 1. ¹ These safety standards require all workplaces to adhere to new safety protocols and recommended best practices that:

• promote social distancing and require face coverings at all times; 
• provide hand washing capabilities and regular sanitization of high-traffic areas; 
• manage new and resolved cases of COVID-19; and 
• maintain cleaning protocols that take place at frequent intervals. 

In connection with the Commonwealth’s  reopening plan, Governor Baker supplemented these Mandatory Workplace  Safety Standards with sector-specific workplace protocols, including Safety Standards for Construction.² Companies  operating as “Essential Services,” per Governor Baker’s March 23, 2020 Executive Order (as updated), had a short grace period to implement these new safety protocols.  Following that grace period, all project participants must comply with the required safety protocols.³ In order to better understand these comprehensive requirements, Massachusetts published the following documents, which set forth mandatory safety standards and recommended best practices.

• Sector-Specific Workplace Safety Standards For Construction To Address COVID-19, 
• Construction Protocol Summary, and
• Construction Checklist.

Here’s Rhian Cull, a Director at Goulston & Storrs, on how to approach these sector-specific protocols and recommended 
best practices: 

¹Reopening: Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplaces, MASS.GOV (May 18, 2020),
² Safety Standards for Construction, MASS.GOV (May 18, 2020),
³Reopening Massachusetts, “General Business Guidance,” MASS.GOV (May 18, 2020),