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Keeping Employees Safe: How to Successfully Re-Open Your Job Sites

As states begin the slow, careful process of reopening, many of you might be wondering what your construction site will look like or what additional steps you can take to ensure your employees remain healthy. We’ve put together a list of ways you can help ensure your site is reopened safely.

Start by creating and posting a COVID-19 exposure control, mitigation, and recovery plan at each job site.

Next, designate a COVID-19 supervisor at every job site. They should be responsible for monitoring the health of employees and enforcing the job site safety plan.

a COVID-19 supervisor

Safety Training

Conduct a training on your job sites on the first day of returning to work, and weekly thereafter, to explain the new procedures and protective measures that are in place for all workers. Maintain social distancing during these training sessions. In addition, post the safety requirements in highly visible areas at each of your job sites.

Social Distancing

Ensure employees are able to maintain at least six feet of separation. Mandate that workers take breaks and lunch in shifts, minimizing the possibility of large group gatherings. Identify and control “high-risk areas,” such as those where workers typically congregate, to ensure they are practicing proper social distancing.

Minimize interactions between those picking up or delivering equipment and/or materials. Try to restrict the number of job site visitors and screen those that do come prior to their arrivals.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Sanitation and Cleanliness

Provide employees with personal protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, face masks, and face shields.

Post information on hygienic practices, including:

  1.   Don’t touch your face with unwashed hands or while wearing gloves
  2.   Wash hands as often as possible with soap and water for 20 seconds
  3.   Use hand sanitizer
  4.   Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as workstations, phones, machines, shared tools, and doorknobs
  5. Cover your mouth with your inner arm when coughing or sneezing

If an employee reports feeling sick and leaves the job site, immediately disinfect the area(s) where that person was working.

Employee health

Start each employee shift by taking temperatures and asking if they have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, or new loss of taste or smell. Use a thermometer that is no-touch. If a no-touch thermometer is not available, the thermometer used should be sanitized between each use.

Encourage employees to stay home or leave the worksite when feeling unwell or if they’ve been in close contact with someone who is confirmed to have COVID-19. If an employee has a sick family member at home, he or she should inform his or her supervisor and that employee should follow the isolation/quarantine requirements set by the State Department of Health.

Don’t force employees to come back to the job site. If they don’t feel it is safe to return to work, they should be allowed to leave and stay at home.

These are some of the best practices that have been put into place where construction projects are up and running. The challenge for the construction industry will be to ensure workers can effectively do their jobs, sometimes in close quarters, while also protecting the health of everyone else on the job site.

For more information, updates and additional recommendations, visit the CDC website.

This blog was written as useful information only; use of the content provided herein is at your own risk.

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Resources:

https://abc.org/Portals/1/Documents/COVID/Phase%201%20Construction%20COVID-19%20Safety%20Requirements%20–%20Adopted.pdf?ver=2020-04-29-110843-967&timestamp=1588173670969

https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98158-528335–,00.html

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/