Stopping Leaks, Running Plumbing Fixtures and the Spread of COVID-19: OSHA Guidance for In-Home Repairs | Greenberg Glusker LLP
As Americans spend more time at home due to home orders that result in the partial or total closings of offices and businesses, homeowners and renters are sure to find that things need repairing. To that end, landlords, property managers, and service providers should consider the social distancing protocols enacted by local, state, and federal regulators in relation to COVID-19. In addition to using personal protective equipment (“PPE”) and maintaining a minimum separation of 6 feet between other people, the Federal Agency for Safety and Health at Work (“OSHA”) has issued additional guidelines for home repair workers such as installation and repair of sanitary, electrical or heating / air conditioning / ventilation devices.
OSHA describes what they consider appropriate safety measures for employees to use for home maintenance calls, including a list of questions to be asked of a tenant or customer. While we encourage interested readers to carefully consult the OSHA guidelines, the agency’s decision to issue additional guidelines specifically for home repairs appears practical, given the new culture of doing anything, and should not be overlooked.
In particular, the OSHA guidelines distinguish between elective (ie non-emergency) work that might justify postponing where possible, as opposed to urgent emergency work that cannot be delayed. As the current circumstances and related public health guidelines evolve as we learn more about the novel coronavirus, the real estate community should continue to monitor applicable government agency guidelines to ensure compliance and the safety and wellbeing of customers, tenants and customers the community as a whole.