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Washington’s Phase 1 Construction Restart Plan

Updated: Apr 29

On April 24, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee signed an addendum to Gubernatorial Proclamation 20-25, Washington’s plan to restart low-risk construction projects with COVID-19 safety plans in place. Effective immediately, Washington State will allow “low-risk” construction projects to resume so long as adequate social distancing and safety measures are implemented. If adequate social distancing and safety measures cannot be implemented at a job site, construction work is not authorized to resume.

(Last Updated: April 28, 2020).


Notably, this plan does not delineate between different types of construction, whether residential, commercial, or heavy civil. All ongoing construction work is authorized to restart as long as the social distancing and safety requirements mandated by the Governor’s Phase 1 Construction Restart Plan are met for the resuming construction activities on each job site:


  • All contractors are required to develop and post at each job site a comprehensive COVID-19 exposure control, mitigation, and recovery plan. This plan must include policies regarding the following control measures: personal protective equipment (PPE) utilization, on-site social distancing, hygiene, sanitation, symptom management, incident reporting, site decontamination procedures, COVID-19 safety training, and exposure response protocol. A copy of the plan must be available on each job site during any construction activities and available for inspection by state and local authorities. Failure to meet posting requirements will result in sanctions up to and including the job being shut down.

  • All contractors are required to post at each job site written notice to employees, subcontractors, and government officials of the Phase 1 work that will be performed at that job site and a signed commitment to adhere to the requirements outlined in Governor Inslee’s Phase 1 Construction Restart Plan.

  • All contractors have a general obligation to keep a safe and healthy worksite in accordance with state and federal law. Failure to follow these requirements will be considered a violation of these duties and will be penalized accordingly.


  • For projects that were previously deemed “essential” under Gubernatorial Proclamation 20-25, limited operations where social distancing standards may not be maintained may be conducted. In such case, a hazard assessment and control plan must be implemented identifying appropriate PPE use in accordance with Department of Labor & Industries requirements.


Governor Inslee has outlined his Phase 1 Construction Restart Plan in a detailed 30-step protocol, including requirements for COVID-19 site supervisors, safety training, social distancing, PPE, monitoring employee health/symptoms, and job site visitors.


These Phase 1 COVID-19 job site safety practices are required as long as the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Gubernatorial Proclamation 20-25 is in effect or if adopted as rules by a federal, state or local regulatory agency.


The Associated General Contractors of Washington has provided several resources to help contractors streamline the process required by Washington’s Phase 1 Construction Restart Plan, including site-specific work plans, health-screening memos, COVID-19 awareness training videos, and templates for COVID-19 site supervisor responsibility and jobsite compliance posters that can be customized with firm and supervisor names, for posting at jobsites.


This article is intended to provide you with general information regarding the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on construction work in Washington state. This article is not intended to provide specific legal advice. If you have any questions about the contents of this article or if you need legal advice on an issue, please contact Heffernan Law Group at contact@heffernanlawgroup.com.

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