Construction Safety Practices for COVID-19

Industrial / Construction, Material Handling / Crane, Safety News, Safety Tips

​While many people are working from home during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, many construction projects are in full swing. But to protect employees – and deadlines – construction companies and workers must follow construction safety practices for COVID-19. The safety experts at Safety Management Group in Indianapolis tackled this topic in a recent blog post, summarized here.

Monitor and Enforce Physical Distancing

Because coronavirus-bearing droplets can travel up to 27 feet through a couch or sneeze, it is critical to ensure physical distancing between workers. Some sites report OSHA inspectors verifying physical distancing, housekeeping and sanitation of break areas. Take these steps:

  • Evaluate and include COVID-19-safe practices into job briefings and task hazard assessments. Identify whether each task can be performed by a single employee, and if not, what type of Personal Protective Equipment is needed to assure the safety of all employees.
  • Monitor workers for proper social distancing on the jobsite and in parking areas.
  • Modify work schedules by staggering shifts or offering alternate days of work or dedicated shifts can reduce the number of workers on a site at any time. Breaks should also be scheduled to reduce interactions.
  • Reduce Meetings. Whenever possible, perform meetings online or via conference call. Limit groups to no more than 10 people. Make sure everyone is at least six feet apart.
  • Evaluate confined spaces for maximum occupancy and to determine how to maintain physical distancing. Post signage as a reminder of restrictions.

Review Site Logistics and Control

Limit the number of jobsite visitors and screen all workers and visitors to verify they do not have a fever. Deliveries to the site should be carefully planned with contact and cleaning protocols:

  • Identify specific areas as laydown sites for deliveries.
  • Paint lines to limit the areas for gang boxes and material sources.
  • Place barriers to separate workers from delivery locations.
  • Keep trash in specific locations where it can easily be removed from the site.
  • Instruct delivery personnel to remain in their vehicles when possible and have minimal contact with site workers.
  • Adopt a zero-tolerance policy for working while sick and encourage sick workers to remain home and self-quarantine.

Increase Sanitation and Hygiene

  • Frequent handwashing is a critical practice at this time. Be sure jobsites have adequate facilities and supplies.
  • Eliminate sharing of tools wherever possible and clean all tools regularly.
  • Disinfect shared equipment (including tools and vehicles) before and after each use.
  • Users of the tools or vehicles should wash or sanitize their hands before and after use.

Educate Employees

Don’t assume that workers are well-informed about the realities of COVID-19. Much false information is being shared. In addition to posting and communicating COVID-19 policies, supervisors and safety personnel should discuss COVID-19 protocols, such as how to perform proper distancing, how to report if they exhibit symptoms or suspect a fellow worker might be ill, steps for disinfecting and when workers who have exhibited symptoms can return to the worksite.

Make sure workers are aware that their off-work behavior can expose them to the virus. They should follow any government stay-at-home orders and practice social distancing when shopping, exercising or engaging in any other essential activities.

These construction safety practices for COVID-19 can help keep workers safe – and worksites on-schedule. As with all safety efforts, steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on your jobsites will only succeed with the complete encouragement and cooperation of company leadership at all levels.

 

COVID-19 Resources: