NABTU and CPWR-The Center for Construction Research and Training Announce National Disease Control Standard for U.S. Construction Sites

WASHINGTON – April 27, 2020 – Today, North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) and CPWR-The Center for Construction Research and Training released a new national standard for infectious disease exposure control practices for U.S. construction sites. These guidelines aim to prevent disease, disability and death caused by infectious disease exposure in lieu of federal action by OSHA.

The new national framework outlines planning and implementation elements with strong minimum standards, screening policies and the requirement of a comprehensive employer exposure control plan comprised of control measures, symptom checking, social distancing, training, hygiene and decontamination procedures.

“The COVID-19 pandemic clearly underscores the need for and value of a strong, adaptable and multi-purpose exposure control standard to prevent the spread of infectious diseases on U.S. construction sites,” said Sean McGarvey, President of NABTU. “Amid growing concerns across various industries regarding workplace safety in lieu of federal actions, the building trades are trying to do our best to protect our members and contractors on the job, and – for that matter- everyone in the construction industry.”

“With the broad and complex challenges from infectious diseases today, providing a framework of exposure control practices is critical. COVID-19 has not only raised awareness about the emergence and spread of infectious diseases, it has also provided the opportunity to advance their control,” said Chris Trahan Cain, Executive Director of CPWR-The Center for Construction Research and Training. “Given the current pandemic and the probability of future infectious disease outbreaks, this national framework will help the construction industry advance functions to better prevent and control infectious diseases and improve health on worksites.”

“In many places across the country, our unions, contractors, and project owners have already implemented these protocols,” McGarvey said. “The industry has been calling for a single national standard, and this is a product we highly recommend for owners, contractors, union members and all of our industry. We hope these guidelines will raise the bar to prevent and control infectious threats and improve safety and health management practices for not just construction, but all industries.”


Press Contact: Betsy Barrett, 202-756-4623,

About NABTU: North America’s Building Trades Unions is an alliance of 14 national and international unions in the building and construction industry that collectively represent over 3 million skilled craft professionals in the United States and Canada. Each year, our unions and our signatory contractor partners invest over $1.6 billion in private-sector money to fund and operate over 1,900 apprenticeship training and education facilities across North America that produce the safest, most highly trained, and productive, skilled craft workers found anywhere in the world. NABTU is dedicated to creating economic security and employment opportunities for its construction workers by safeguarding wage and benefits standards, promoting responsible private capital investments, investing in renowned apprenticeship and training, and creating pathways to the middle class for women, communities of color and military veterans in the construction industry.

About CPWR: CPWR-The Center for Construction Research and Training is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit institution created by North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) with the mission to improve safety and health in the U.S. construction industry. Recognized as a world leader in occupational safety and health research, CPWR works with a network of academics from over 30 universities across the United States and Canada to respond to existing and emerging hazards facing the construction industry. The organization partners with representatives from management, labor, and government on its research, training, and service initiatives. CPWR is uniquely positioned to serve U.S. construction workers, contractors, and the scientific community, having partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) on construction safety and health research initiatives since its inception in 1990.