Empire State Development Issues Written Guidance on Essential Construction in New York
Good morning Empire Chapter Members,

Empire State Development has issued written guidance on essential construction in New York. These guidelines will be used to enforce that only projects that meet the definition of essential construction, as defined below, continue to move forward in New York state.

Essential Construction
All non-essential construction must safely shut down, except emergency construction, (e.g. a project necessary to protect health and safety of the occupants, or to continue a project if it would be unsafe to allow to remain undone, but only to the point that it is safe to suspend work).
Essential construction may proceed, to the extent that:
  • the construction is for, or your business supports, roads, bridges, transit facilities, utilities, hospitals or healthcare facilities, homeless shelters, or public or private schools;
  • the construction is for affordable housing, as defined as construction work where either (i) a minimum of 20% of the residential units are or will be deemed affordable and are or will be subject to a regulatory agreement and/or a declaration from a local, state, or federal government agency or (ii) where the project is being undertaken by, or on behalf of, a public housing authority;
  • the construction is necessary to protect the health and safety of occupants of a structure;
  • the construction is necessary to continue a project if allowing the project to remain undone would be unsafe, provided that the construction must be shut down when it is safe to do so;
  • the construction is for projects in the energy industry in accordance with Question No. 14 in the FAQ at: https://esd.ny.gov/sites/default/files/ESD_EssentialEmployerFAQ_033120.pdf;
  • the construction is for existing (i.e. currently underway) projects of an essential business; or
  • the construction work is being completed by a single worker who is the sole employee/worker on the job site.

At every site, it is required that the personnel working on the site maintain an appropriate social distance, including for purposes of elevators/meals/entry and exits. Sites that cannot maintain appropriate social distancing, as well as cleaning/disinfecting protocols must close. Enforcement will be conducted by state and local governments, including fines up to $10,000 per violation.

Construction may continue solely with respect to those employees that must be present at the business location/construction site in support of essential business activities. No other employees/personnel shall be permitted to work in-person at the business location/construction site. Any other business activities being completed that are not essential are still subject to the restrictions provided by Executive Order 202.

As noted above, local governments, including municipalities and school districts, are allowed to continue construction projects at this time as government entities are exempt from these essential business restrictions. However, to the greatest extent possible, local governments should postpone any non-essential projects and only proceed with essential projects when they can implement appropriate social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting protocols. Essential projects should be considered those that have a nexus to health and safety of the building occupants or to support the broader essential services that are required to fulfill the critical operations of government or the emergency response to the COVID-19 public health crisis.

As always, if you have questions, please reach out to us and we will get you answers as soon as possible.

Brian Sampson
President, Associated Builders and Contractors, Empire State
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has extended NYS on Pause for an additional two weeks. The Governor also directed schools and nonessential businesses to stay closed for an additional two weeks through April 29th. The state will re-evaluate after this additional two-week period.

Governor Cuomo also announced the state is increasing the maximum fine for violations of the state's social distancing protocol from $500 to $1,000 to help address the lack of adherence to social distancing protocols. The Governor reminded localities that they have the authority to enforce the protocols.
Essential Employee Verification Letter
With the New York PAUSE Act enforcing tighter restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, employees may need to provide evidence that they work for an essential business.

The Empire Chapter is providing this fillable template for members to provide to their employees in the event that they are asked for proof of employment with an essential business.

This 10-hour Video training course is a convenient way for workers to learn about workplace safety, hazard avoidance, workers' rights, filing an OSHA complaint and more.

This training is interactive with class and instructor. You will need to have access to any web-enabled device (like a smartphone or a laptop).

Dates: April 21 & 22, 2020
Time: 8:00am -1:30pm
Must attend both days!

$100 per person training fee

Keep Your Workers Trained and on the Payroll
The Empire Chapter hopes our members are staying healthy and safe during the COVID-19 crisis. We understand that many members may be looking for ways to keep their workforce productive during these ever evolving times.

As always, we can assist with online training and web based learning on a number of different safety topics, including:

OSHA 10 / OSHA 30 / Construction Industry
Asbestos/ Lead & Mold awareness
Electrical Safety
Fall Protection
Lockout / Tagout
Hazardous Communication
Ladder safety
Electrical Safety
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Silica Awareness
Work Zone Safety
Work Place Safety

If you are interested in discussing or setting up training for your employees, please contact Amy Platenik: platenik@abcnys.org  or call 585-363-1657

Date: Friday, April 10, 2020
Time: 1:00 p.m EDT

Webinar Speakers:
Paul Buehler (Member @Bond Shoeneck & King)
Paul represents clients in a variety of complex labor and employment matters and in proceedings before federal and state courts and various government agencies, including the New York State Division of Human Rights and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Description: The program will cover employer considerations when determining whether to layoff and furlough employees in the wake of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Topics will include enhanced unemployment benefits available to laid off and furloughed employees, and the effect of layoffs and furloughs on benefits available to employers under the CARES Act.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Time: 3:00 p.m EDT
Length: 60 minutes
Speakers:  Calvin Beyer, Cobb Strecker Dunphy Zimmerman (CSDZ); Gary Clevenger MS, CSP, RRE, CNA; Kevin Sell, United Group Services; Michelle Walker, SPHR, SSC Underground
Moderator:  Greg Sizemore, ABC National
ABC Members Only
A panel of industry, safety and mental health experts will discuss proactive strategies your organization can take to address total human health on your projects, including signs and symptoms and available resources your company and your employees can access to ensure a mentally healthy work environment.
Date: Thursday, April 16
Time: 3:00 p.m. EDT
 Speakers: Matt Abeles, ABC National; Jeff Sample, eSUB; Karl Sorensen, Blue Collar Labs
Which technologies can help your business succeed during the coronavirus pandemic—and immediately improve your bottom line when you are back up and running at full capacity? Hear about collaborative technologies that will improve productivity and learn which solutions could work best for different contractors. Plus, discover simple tech solutions you can implement to jumpstart and help scale your business your business after we overcome the COVID-19 challenge.

Supplemental Unemployment Plans can provide compensation to employees beyond state unemployment insurance during lay off periods. SUB plans can help ease the financial stress of layoffs, generate peace of mind and worker loyalty, and offer significant tax advantages compared to severance pay.

To learn more, click here to listen to DirectAdvisors podcast where they discuss how a SUB plan can be beneficial in such a difficult time.

Length: 60 minutes
Speakers:  Anthony Huey, Reputation Management LLC

Moderator:  Mike Bellaman, ABC National

ABC Members Only
Join crisis communication expert and international keynote speaker Anthony Huey for this timely and energetic webinar that provides contractors with pragmatic insider tips on communicating clearly during the current coronavirus pandemic and beyond. Learn how to quickly and effectively communicate with critical audiences in a crisis, including owners, employees, subs, vendors, partners, the news media and more.

Length: 60 minutes
Speakers:  Maury Baskin, Littler Mendelson P.C.

ABC Members Only
Two major laws dealing with the COVID-19 virus, along with dozens of state and local orders, are severely affecting the construction industry. As of April 1, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act mandates new paid leave for employees, while the CARES Act offers federal stimulus to help employers retain their employees in the face of mounting layoffs. ABC general counsel Maury Baskin will describe the latest guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board and state and local agencies to help contractors understand the new rules governing all construction workplaces.

COVID-19 & Contractors: Navigating Workforce Issues in Uncertain Times

Description: Overview of what contractors who are working should do to protect their people and jobsites, and how to juggle the onslaught of new laws, regulations and Executive Orders in a way that minimizes legal exposure
Webinar Speaker, Russell McEwan:

Russell J. McEwan combines real world business experience, legal acumen and pragmatism to effectively manage labor and employment law issues faced by clients in a wide variety of industries, including the construction, manufacturing, retail, service, and transportation industries. His practice entails representation of clients in federal and state court litigation, before labor arbitrators, at the bargaining table, and before regulatory agencies such as the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the U. S. Department of Labor, and numerous state departments of labor.


Moderator:  Mike Bellaman, President and CEO, ABC National
 Speakers: Representatives from JLG, Southwire, Tradesmen International, United Rentals and Viewpoint
Hear from a panel of ABC’s strategic partners about how contractors and supply chain partners can collaborate with a win-win attitude to plan for and execute construction business continuity today, tomorrow and over the next few months as we battle COVID-19.

Moderator:  Mike Bellaman, President and CEO, ABC National
Speaker: Brian Robertson, Fringe Benefit Group 

Company owners and human resource managers will receive an overview of pressing employer regulatory and employee benefits issues related to the coronavirus pandemic and legislative response. Topics to be covered include special enrollment periods and well as premium grace periods for the fully insured, as well as self-funded group health plans and an overview of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Notice.
Cornerstone Training Institute
Offers Three Web Based
COVID-19 Training Courses
2 Hour COVID-19 Awareness
This brief awareness level training is geared for employees that will be returning to the workplace and will be responsible for light cleaning and disinfection in their work space. The objective of this course is to raise the awareness of COVID-19 with factual information and simple steps that employees can take to avoid spreading the disease within the workplace and spreading it home
$65/pp (group discounts always apply)
April 10 8:00 am - 10:00 am
April 16 8:00 am -10:00 am
April 16 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
April 17 8:00 am - 10:00 am

4 Hour COVID-19 Disinfection Worker Certification
This half day session is geared toward janitorial, custodial, cleaning and remediation contractors and employees that are working diligently with the main focus of deep-cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and entire facilities. This training touches on Hazard Communications and Personal Protective Equipment, however, it is highly recommended that individuals that attend the class have some additional experience and training in a remediation field. This course isn't intended to meet and OSHA requirements.
$105/pp (group discounts always apply)
April 15 8:00 am -12:00 pm
April 15 12:30 pm - 4:30 pm
April 22 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
April 22 12:30 pm - 4:30 pm

8 Hour COVID-19 Disinfection Supervisor Certification
This in depth, full day interactive seminar is the perfect event for building & grounds managers, property managers, construction project managers, custodial managers, remediation managers, and many more. We will cover in depth, the importance for creating and implementing an effective cleaning and disinfection regimen. We will discuss the various classifications of exposure (per OSHA) and how to manage this within your facility. The program will discuss what situations you might consider bringing in a professional decontamination/disinfection contractor, such as if there is a positive COVID-19 case in the workplace. The multitude of disinfection methods will be discussed in depth. We will also discuss a way to effectively communicate to all building occupants about the serious measure that the facility is taking.
$175 (group discounts always apply)
April 13 8:00 am - 3:30pm
April 14 8:00 am - 3:30pm
April 20 8:00 am - 3:30pm
April 21 8:00 am - 3:30pm

To register, call: 585-319-3625 email: dyehl@ctiny.com

New York Offers a Free Mental Health Hotline to Help with the Emotional Trauma of the Coronavirus
On Wednesday, Governor Cuomo announced the creation of a free mental health hotline for New Yorkers. It is staffed by thousands of mental health professionals, all volunteers.

Anyone can call the hotline and schedule an appointment with a mental health professional for free. Callers to the hotline will hear an introduction to the "New York State COVID-19 Emotional Support Helpline," and then will be directed to a trained volunteer.

You can reach the hotline at 1-844-863-9314 .