Weathering the COVID-19 Hurricane : Safety Guidelines for the Construction Industry

** Updated April 19 2020

While ‘shutdowns’ and ‘shelter in place’ orders are the reality for most of the nation, there is growing talk on easing restrictions across the country. In construction, this means that more and more of our workforce will return to job sites in the coming weeks.

Therefore, it is critically important that we take care of our construction workers . There is growing concern over issues of jobsite safety including social distancing at the site. Around the US, different states have come up with guidelines about essential activities that can be continued during the Covid-19 outbreak. While some states, cities and counties have recognized construction as an essential activity that can be continued, others have halted all construction activities.

In these volatile times with changing restrictions and guidelines, contractors are left wondering how to keep their job sites safe?

AGC Safety Guidelines on the Jobsite for Covid-19

Here are some of the steps outlined to make sure workers stay healthy. The top few aren't exactly news unless you have been living under a rock :)

  • No handshaking

  • Follow social distancing. Maintain 6 ft. distance

  • Clean your hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol, or wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If your hands are visible dirty, use soap and water should be preferentially used to clean them

  • Do not share tools

  • Avoid congregating at lunch areas and water coolers and bring your own food and drinking water if possible.

  • During tailgate meetings, meet outdoors in large open areas. Remember not to circulate pens, clipboards or devices such as iPads. Use an app/web-based system if possible for attendance tracking. Meetings can also be held in shifts when possible, keeping the same group of workers together to limit exposures.

  • Limit the exchange/sharing of paper documents and encouraging use of electronic communication whenever possible.

Tips for Employers to Create a Safer Jobsite

  • Provide hand washing stations and hand sanitizer dispensers at multiple places at the jobsite

  • Provide shoe sanitization tubs (non bleach solution) for use prior to entering and leaving the jobsite.

  • Avoid stacking trades if possible

  • Provide routine environmental cleaning - door knobs, keyboards, counters, and other surfaces.Clean surfaces of service/fleet vehicles, steering wheel, gear shift, instrument panels, etc.

  • Avoid cleaning techniques, such as using pressurized air or water sprays that may result in the generation of bioaerosols.

  • Do not share PPEs and sanitize reusable PPE per manufacturer’s recommendation prior to each use.

  • Implement a daily crew assessment guideline to follow zero tolerance policy for sick workers. Refer to state wise guidelines to make sure you are in compliance.

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