Working in construction comes with more than its fair share of risks. When we think of the common types of risks on the job, we often think of falling, equipment issues or maybe electrocution. Safety on the job is paramount for all and, with the global pandemic of COVID-19, the construction industry faces a new and different kind of risk to workers. At times like these, keeping safety top of mind to prevent or minimize the spread of an illness is just as important as being aware of physical job site risks.
First and foremost, to prevent or reduce the risk of COVID-19, educating workers is the most important step to prevention. Toolbox Talks, Tailgate Meetings, or Daily Huddles are a great way to take the time to educate your team on the risks of COVID-19 and how to minimize those risks. Going through the appropriate protocol measures and giving your team the tools or resources they need to be successful can help them to better anticipate what to expect and how to avoid the risks while performing their tasks. The team will also be able to respond more appropriately in a proactive and efficient way if issues occur.
Recommended Best Practices for Construction Worksites
- Talk to employees about the recommendations and procedures outlined by the CDC, OSHA, and other official organizations.
- Discuss prevention tactics and good hygiene practices.
- Discuss COVID-19 symptoms.
- Issue helpful materials and how-tos on best practices (i.e. hand washing, sneezing/coughing, social distancing, etc.)
- Ask employees, and any other people directly involved with the job site, daily questions to prevent anyone who may have been exposed to the virus from entering the site.
- Ensure social distancing protocols are being followed to the best of everyone’s ability.
- Ensure that all employees have Personal Protective Equipment that is not shared in any way.
- Provide and review additional protocols for tools and equipment on the site, such as not sharing hand tools and having operators only using the same piece of equipment for the whole day.
- Ensure all sites have disinfectant supplies for wiping down surfaces, tools, and equipment.
- Ensure employees can access necessary documents and fill out needed forms electronically. Preferably employees would use their own personal devices to minimize sharing and potential spread of germs.
- Any employees who are sick or displaying symptoms should be encouraged and asked to stay home.
For more information:
- How It Spreads
- How To Protect Yourself
- How To Clean and Disinfect
- What To Do If You Are Sick
- OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
- Protecting Workers During a Pandemic
Toolbox Talks on COVID-19
- General Building Contractors Association – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
- SCSA – Emergency Preparedness: Pandemic
- Division of Occupational Safety and Health – Review of Respiratory Protection for Workers
- Approach Management Services – Wash Your Hands
- SCSA – Social Distancing
- SCSA – COVID-19 Disinfection Protocol When Entering Your Home from the Public