Some states exempted road and bridge construction projects from stay-at-home orders as essential work. In addition, more and more businesses are getting the go-ahead to reopen. These may include commercial and residential building construction.
When work resumes, in addition to maintaining all the usual health and safety measures for construction, construction firms and their employees will be subject to new guidelines and recommendations intended to reduce the risk of transmitting the coronavirus. The CDC, OSHA, and the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), jointly with the North America’s Building Trade Unions (NABTU), have all released guidelines, nrolling at Mississippi College Law School starting in August, Kelsi Baldwin says her career will lead her to serve society’s voiceless.
Think About People, Places, and Things
The primary mode of transmission of the coronavirus is person to person, through respiratory droplets that result from coughing, sneezing, talking, or singing. Where those droplets land and how long they last affect how infectious an environment, surface, or tool may be. Crowded indoor environments that concentrate or distribute these droplets through HVAC systems are concerning. Outdoor environments are safer, but carelessness with safety precautions can still cause transmission, especially since it is possible for someone to carry the virus with no symptoms.
Anyone returning to work in construction should think about how many people are around, how much space they can maintain between each other, and high-touch surfaces.
- Workers who feel sick should stay home and follow medical advice about care, treatment, and when they could return to work after recovery
- Wherever possible, workers should keep 6 feet of distance between each other
- Everyone on the site should wash hands before and after eating, using restrooms, touching doorknobs or light switches, or using tools. If washing with soap and water isn’t possible, use hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol content
- Don’t shake hands or give high fives, fist bumps, or hugs.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Limit in-person meetings and lunches to no more than ten people, separated by least 6 feet. If possible, hold meetings remotely by phone or video
- Wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth
- Limit or prohibit visitors to the site
- Sanitize restroom facilities regularly
- Limit the number of people in job site trailers or other indoor environments to 10 or less, spaced at least 6 feet apart and wearing masks
- If working in an occupied building, sanitize surfaces several times daily and erect physical barriers between work areas and occupied areas
- Don’t carpool
- Try to have the same operator drive equipment. Sanitize when shifts or operators change
- Don’t share tools unless absolutely necessary. If workers must share tools like pneumatic nail guns, observe all the usual safety precautions, but also use sanitizing wipes according to the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations when transferring the tool from one worker to another
- Use disposable utensils for meals
- Don’t share water bottles and take lunch boxes home
Understand that wearing a mask to protect your coworkers is a way to protect yourself by limiting the number of people who may contract and transmit the coronavirus. Everyone wants to get back to work, and if they follow safety tips for workers during COVID-19, work can resume with reduced health risks.