When the coronavirus pandemic struck, all businesses were affected. Governments encouraged their people to work from home. Unfortunately, that does not apply to the construction industry.
The ensuing lockdowns did not make the situation any better. Fortunately, after months of uncertainty, the construction industry resumed normal operations, even during lockdowns.
However, the law required the employers and other responsible parties to ensure the construction sites were Covid-secure. Here are some tips that help promote construction site safety during COVID-19.
Deciding Who Should Go to Work
Though the government guidelines state that construction work can continue, some rules determine whether an individual can go to work or not. Employers should be aware of these regulations to ensure they do not put anyone at risk.
Critical points on who should and should not report to a construction site include;
- Sick workers should remain home
- Clinically vulnerable workers should also remain home
- Workers with sick family members should observe CDC precautions
Ultimately, deciding who reports to work and does not depends on the type of project and how it has been affected by other businesses. Generally, anyone who is not considered vulnerable and does not meet the self-isolation requirements can be allowed into a construction site.
Arrival And Departure From The Site
The employer should come up with timely arrival and departure arrangements that will encourage social distancing. These include;-
- Staggered arrival and leaving times
- Creation of additional entry and exit points to prevent congestion
- One-way entry and exit points
- Additional parking facilities
- Hand washing equipment at entry and exit points
Hand washing At The Site
Regular hand washing is yet another crucial precautionary measure against Covid-19. Employers should provide adequate handwashing and sanitation facilities, well distributed on the site.
Additionally, work areas, equipment, and high-touch areas such as door handles should be cleaned frequently. Plus, posters and signs on proper hygiene and proper handwashing techniques should be visible all over the site.
The management should also make proper arrangements to ensure proper waste disposal of cleaning materials, rubbish, and used PPEs.
Observing Social Distancing During Work
One of the critical points in protecting oneself against Covid-19 is by minimizing contact with the other individual. Similarly, employers should make arrangements at construction sites to reduce person-to-person contact. These arrangements include;-
- Reorganized layouts that encourage people to work further apart
- Consistent pairing systems in situations that demand the workers function close to each other
- Minimizing non-essential trips by encouraging the use of radios and phones
- Decreasing occupancy of automobiles used for on-site travel
- Reducing duty and equipment rotation
- Implementing one-way systems around the workplace
Personal Protective Equipment
Already, construction workers have to wear PPEs for non-Covid related risks. These should continue to be won. Notably, additional PPE may be required for enhanced protection against coronavirus. However, this should be the last resort.
The employer should ensure all other Covid controls are in place – social distancing, hand washing, and effective cleaning – are in place. Should a worker require any additional PPE, the employer should provide and foot the cost.
For instance, a face mask may be necessary for an enclosed area where social distancing is impossible.
Construction Meetings and Gatherings
Though necessary, construction meetings increase transmission risks. For this reason, employers and their workers should observe the following measures;-
- Utilize remote working tools where possible to avoid face to face meetings
- Meetings should be held in a well-ventilated space
- Take advantage of visual communication tools such as whiteboards and posters
- During meetings, people should avoid raising their voices at each other
These include break and lunchrooms. Being that they are shared, these areas require an added emphasis on observance of social distancing. Measures that employers could try include;-
- Staggering break times
- Employees should be encouraged to remain on-site during breaks unless its necessary to leave
- Seating arrangements should be such that they maintain social distancing and minimize face to face interactions
- Extending break rooms into spaces that were freed by remote working
We have covered a lit bit of what employers should do to enhance their employees’ safety. Even so, it is crucial to keep up with the continually changing Covid-19 regulations, lest you put yourself at risk.
Employers should ensure they put the appropriate Covid-19 control measures in place while simultaneously ensuring that their workers receive the right information, training, and instructions.