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Stop! In The Name of Covid

Navigating Stop Work Orders for COVID-19 Noncompliance.

As non-essential construction has gotten back on its feet in the wake of New York’s phased reopening, DOB inspectors have been patient with site managers as the industry adjusted to the new site safety measures put in place to minimize the spread of COVID-19 among construction workers.

But now, it’s crunch time. As of July 8, 2020, construction sites found not following the new guidance, either by failing to have a visible Safety Plan or affirmation in place, or failing to provide at least hand-washing/sanitizing facility onsite will be issued a Stop Work Order.

After months of waiting, you don’t want to be forced to delay again for too long – here’s how to avoid and resolve the issue.

How to Avoid Penalties

Beyond some of the obvious requirements, like making sure workers maintain social distance as much as possible and requiring acceptable face coverings for workers, the Department of Buildings has asked that all permitted job sites:

  • Have a COVID-19 Communication Plan, Safety Plan, Cleaning Log, Affirmation to the State and Contact Log on-site at all times.
  • Have a COVID-19 Safety Monitor designated.
  • Have hand hygiene stations (with either soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer) available, while keeping existing restroom facilities under 50% capacity using appropriate signage.
  • Keep elevators under 50% capacity, with signage in the elevator cab and at each landing.
  • Post signage throughout the site reminding workers of proper PPE, distancing, hygiene, and cleaning procedures.

How to File a SWO Rescind Request

In the event you do get a stop work order for a COVID-related violation (and only for COVID-related violations), once you have corrected the violation(s), you or whoever is the applicant of the permit associated must go through eFiling to log in to

From there:

  1. Select “SWO Rescind Request” from the Violations dashboard under the Safety portal.
  2. Search for the complaint number of your job site by address or BIN number.
  3. Add the complaint number to the request – note, only one complaint can be submitted per request application.
  4. Indicate the violation(s) has been corrected in the General Information tab. (Other information will be auto-filled from the applicant’s account.)
  5. Save and upload proof the violation was corrected in the Documents section.
  6. Complete the Statements & Signature section.
  7. Save again, and click Submit.
  8. Check for confirmation email in the permit holder’s email account.

Once receipt and rescinding of SWO is complete, you may take down the notice at your job site and get back to work. Any additional COVID-related SWO can be resolved with a new request.

Additional Penalties

Also note that rescinding the SWO will not resolve any Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) summons related to the complaint. COVID-19 non-compliance OATH summons will carry an initial $5,000 penalty, plus $10,000 each additional offense. Only a Certificate of Corrections request submitted through the OATH Administrative Enforcement Unit can resolve such a summons.

All in all, regulating and enforcing job sites during the coronavirus crisis is no easy task. But as the city continues to move out of lockdown, it’s important everyone plays their part to keep each other safe and keep cases from surging again.

If you need help with your project delays, or need advising on how to keep your building or job site safer, feel free to reach out to the code and zoning experts at Outsource Consultants.