COVID Vaccine Mandates Problem or Protection?

COVID Vaccine Mandates

It’s confusing on its best day. The construction industry is promoting COVID vaccine policies for all workers. But the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is mandating vaccinations, and that isn’t sitting well with many construction companies. Employees must vaccinate or prepare to test weekly by January 4, 2022.

OSHA’s COVID vaccine mandate would make all businesses with 100+ employees face fines for violations. The proposed maximum penalty is $13,653/violation and “willful or repeated violations” at $136,532 or less per violation.

Most opponents contend the OSHA vaccine mandate:

  • Exceeds CMS’s (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’) authority
  • Violates 42 U.S. Code 1395; “…to exercise any supervision or control over the practice of medicine…”
  • Violates APA (Administrative Procedure Act) and is “arbitrary and capricious” under the APA
  • Violates the CRA (Congressional Review Act)

Construction industry-related organizations, including:

  • American Road and Transportation Builders Association
  • Associated General Contractors of America
  • Signatory Wall and Ceiling Contractors Alliance

…filed a petition for OSHA to review the mandate. The contention is it will cause employers to lose employees in what is currently a labor shortage.

In addition to construction industry-related organizations, several states are filing suit. States protesting the mandate include:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

November 2021, Georgia governor Brian Kemp said the mandate is an unprecedented and unconscionable use of power by a president that will cripple Georgia’s economy. Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said, “If the rule of law prevails, Georgia’s economy will be stable.”

Construction Monitor Customers

Who uses the software services Construction Monitor provides?

  • A few power-hungry startups seeking alliances, partnerships, and competitors’ information receive weekly reports.
  • A food truck service mapping its citywide service to construction sites.
  • A small business in Ohio with fewer than 40 employees utilizes our mass-mailing service.
  • Some international organizations seeking to develop U.S. areas of opportunity use our real-time leads.

The fact is, if you’re in any business in the U.S.A., we likely have information that would benefit your company. Ask us. We’re marketing pros with ideas we’re eager to share. Contact Construction Monitor.

Construction Professionals’ Refusal To Get Vaccinations Raises Alarms

COVID-19 vaccinations in Construction Industry

Being classified as “essential workers” along with medical personnel assured construction professionals what we do is valued. We are valued. But even though we were among the first to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations, the percentage of construction workers getting the vaccination remains low.

Promoting Vaccinations Among Construction Professionals

Construction companies that want their workers to be vaccinated have their work cut out for them. Construction Dive

Not only do contractors and project managers face challenges in promoting COVID-19 vaccinations, but author Robyn Griggs Lawrence says their skepticism is “raising alarm bells for public health officials.” Researchers are trying to understand what’s behind construction workers’ reluctance to get the vaccination. They say until we can understand and address construction professionals’ concerns, we cannot effectively promote vaccination.

Reasons Why

Basically, U.S. construction workers say they don’t trust the vaccine and they don’t trust our government. Some of them believe the misinformation they read online. Many believe the rush to get the vaccine out of the lab and into our arms means the developers may have cut corners, making the vaccine unsafe.

Construction professionals are usually young and healthy, and the majority believe the vaccine is unnecessary. One-third of the unvaccinated population believe they have to pay for the shots, which are free to everyone. 

Then there’s the political side of the pro- and anti-vaccinators. The blue states had higher vaccination rates than the red states. Poll results indicate 91% of Democrats and 51% of Republicans were willing to get the vaccination. 

Cultural, Political Objections Prove Difficult to Overcome

The mindset challenges to the COVID-19 vaccination are cultural and political. That’s a difficult mix to overcome. With the exception of religious or medical reasons, not getting the vaccination is proving to be problematic.

Already, the Delta variant is spreading faster among unvaccinated populations. This can lead to another labor shortage for construction companies if we can’t persuade our employees to get vaccinated.

Contact Construction Monitor for information about overcoming business development slumps. We have a marketing strategy that provides business-building leads.

OSHA Updates Vaccination Policy for Construction Industry

COVID-19 vaccine construction workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommended construction industry project managers and team leaders encourage COVID-19 vaccinations. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) suggested onsite vaccination clinics, paid-time-off incentives, and other promotions to increase the number of vaccinated construction workers.

To clarify, the general consensus is an employer can require the COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment. Michigan and Indiana currently have bills preventing this, but there’s been no action taken.

OSHA 29 CFR 1904 said if an employer required the vaccination as a condition of employment and an employee suffered an adverse reaction to the vaccine, the event should be recorded. Documenting adverse reactions to the vaccine on OSHA 300 logs was required.

Then OSHA said never mind.

OSHA said it felt the Form 300 requirement disincentivized employers’ vaccination encouragement efforts. The May 21 updated guidance is in effect through May 2022.

Employers must record work-related injuries and illnesses if they involve:

  • Days off work
  • Death
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Medical treatment beyond first aid
  • Restricted work or transfer to another job
  • Significant injury

While allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine have been rare, many people suffer flu-like symptoms shortly after their vaccinations. Those flu-like reactions can be debilitating enough that the “days off work” stipulation would be applicable.

Construction industry employers were concerned that by recording adverse vaccination reactions (days off work due to flu-like symptoms), enough red flags would be raised that could increase their workers’ comp costs. The logs may have tripped a wire that would increase onsite OSHA inspections. And the “dings” on their OSHA records might have affected bidding opportunities.

Partnering Can Overcome Challenges

Working through the pandemic fallout and encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations remains challenging.

Another challenge faced by the construction industry is we’re still slow to adopt technology. Robotics, drones, 3D architecture – when you’re juggling expenses, upgrades are often low on the list of priorities.

Construction Monitor LLC has an affordable technology that shows a measurable ROI (return on investment). Our information is U.S.-related, but our customers include global investors. To learn more about our technology tools and strategic partnerships, contact us today.

Construction Industry Encouraged to ‘Roll Up Your Sleeves!’

construction industry

Among U.S. workforces, the construction industry has the lowest rate of workers willing to be vaccinated. Something we should be asking ourselves is “Why?”

It’s demeaning to the construction industry when statistics indicate we are less-educated and therefore make uninformed decisions about COVID-19 vaccination. Many construction workers say they work outside; not in cramped offices where one sneeze can contaminate the air for 15 people in seconds.

We feel automatically protected from some diseases because we work in a healthier environment. That’s misinformation. One study revealed between March-May 2020 the highest numbers of deaths from COVID-19 occurred among construction industry workers.

Social media has spread misinformation faster than the pandemic itself. It’s our job to share fact-based, solid information with our co-workers and employees. That’s why United Contractors developed “Roll Up Your Sleeves,” a resource website for construction industry contractors and leaders.

How You Can Increase Vaccinations in the Construction Industry

A Construction Dive survey found 93% of construction industry employers aren’t offering incentives for the vaccination, but they are encouraging it.

As a contractor and employer, your encouragement can be pivotal. You can coordinate with other companies to coordinate an onsite project vaccination event. (Then make sure you and the team leads are seen first in line for the vaccine.)

Communicate vaccine information with your crew regularly. “Make vaccines a tailgate topic,” says VaccinateConstruction.com. Ensure unions are on board with in-the-field concerns about the vaccine and verify your policies are consistent with union agreements.

Go to https://vaccinateconstruction.com/contractor-covid-19-vaccination-resources to access resources. Some of the information is in English and Spanish and includes:

  • COVID-19 compliance for employers
  • COVID-19 vaccine facts
  • Myths vs. facts
  • Printable, key messages/materials
  • Sample employer newsletter
  • Sample letter to employees
  • Social media toolkit
  • Vaccination webinar
  • Vaccine presentation/slides and PowerPoint presentation

The Power of Information

Construction Monitor building permit data is fact-based, solid information, too. And it’s got powerful business-building potential when you know how to use it. Construction Monitor professionals can show you how. Call 800-925-6085 or contact us today.

4 Vaccine Incentives for Hesitant Construction Business Workers

construction business workers

Despite being considered at higher risk for COVID-19, workers least likely to get COVID vaccinations are employed in:

  1. Food/beverage (53%)
  2. Transportation (50%)
  3. Retail (48%)
  4. Construction business (47%)

Project and other managers “might have their work cut out for them” if they plan to require or simply encourage vaccination among construction business employees says Construction Dive.

Construction Business Owners Hesitant Too

This is truly a damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t situation. The majority of construction workers want to be protected and are willing to vaccinate. The other percentage may be wary or even angry about vaccination or mask-wearing. Construction business owners are facing legal liabilities from both sectors.

Employers can mandate that their employees get the vaccine. Such a rule would require them to navigate federal laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and other federal, state, and local regulations.

4 Incentive Ideas

You are advised to consult with an attorney before implementing any of these incentive ideas for construction business employees:

  1. Paid sick leave day-after vaccination(s) if needed – This one is tricky; something similar may need to be offered to employees unwilling or unable to get the vaccination(s).
  2. Paid time off – Encourage vaccination during work hours and offer pay for the number of hours required to get vaccination(s).
  3. Provide education – Make information about the benefits of vaccination readily available to employees. Consider an onsite class led by a medical professional, complete with a questions-and-answers session.
  4. Vaccine clinic onsite – Invite a team of medical professionals to set-up a vaccination clinic at the project worksite.

Valuable Information for Your Construction Business

The possibilities for Construction Monitor building permit data are exciting. You can develop business leads but maybe, more importantly, you gain valuable information from your customized datasorts. And it’s the kind of information that can drive construction business decisions.

Informed decisions are best, and Construction Monitor has the information you need. Call 800-925-6085 or contact us today.