Keeping Construction Workers and City Inspectors Safe during COVID-19

The March 20, 2020, stay-at-home order issued by Governor Pritzker identified activity that was considered “essential.” Included on this list is “Construction” which is interpreted to mean both private and public construction projects. The continuance of construction during the COVID-19 outbreak means City of Champaign employees must continue to serve that industry by reviewing building permits and performing on-site inspections to ensure compliance with building codes. To better protect construction workers and building inspectors, the City has required that General Contractors for the larger private construction projects in Champaign submit a COVID-19 Jobsite Safety Plan to the City. This plan indicates the measures that will be taken by contractors on the jobsite to reduce the risk of the spread of infection among workers and inspectors. Such measures include, but are not limited to, assessing the health of workers upon arrival and during work, providing additional hand washing stations and requiring their use, requiring use of PPE where necessary, maintaining separation from other workers wherever possible, limiting sharing of tools and equipment, and conducting discussions and inspections virtually when possible. Most plans also emphasize measures to be taken by workers as they leave the jobsite for the day and return to their homes.

In total, 27 different General Contractors were asked to submit a COVID-19 Jobsite Safety Plan by April 10. This covered approximately 35 different job sites in Champaign, including projects like The Dean at Sixth St. and Green St., pending construction of Costco Wholesale store on North Neil St., and construction continuing within the Carle at the Fields site at the I-57 and Curtis Road Interchange. The construction and development community was quick to respond and all identified projects now have an active COVID-19 Jobsite Safety Plan on file with the City’s Building Safety Division. On behalf of the Building Safety Division and the Planning and Development Department, thank you to all the contractors for their prompt attention to the matter and their understanding of the importance in keeping their workers and City employees as safe as possible.