Tips for Construction Work After COVID-19

Tips for Construction Work After COVID-19

When restrictions start to ease up and people begin going back to work, you'll want to take steps to make your construction sites and other workspaces as safe as possible. Your staff will likely have questions and concerns about returning to work, and for a good reason. Set their minds at ease by implementing rules and procedures that will help protect them.

Adapting to the Situation

Deciding when to reopen for the public will be a tough decision for any business. Unfortunately, it's likely that when you resume operations, there will still be a chance of contracting COVID-19. Given the potential for danger, you'll need to adapt to the situation by implementing sanitary practices at work sites.

Understand that though you'll be reopening, you'll not be going back to business-as-usual. Your company should make appropriate adjustments, and those in leadership positions should communicate those adjustments to the rest of your staff. Ensure everyone is informed about the changes to lower the risk that you or your workers may be exposed to COVID-19 at work.

Safety Tips for Going Back to Work

As construction work begins again, you'll need to create a safe environment for all your crew members. Some of the primary construction safety tips after COVID-19 starts to decrease include:

1. Establish Open Communication With Employees

It's likely that when the country opens up for construction work, workers will still be vulnerable to contract the coronavirus. Workers who have chronic medical conditions like lung disease, diabetes and heart disease are more likely to experience serious complications from the coronavirus. To comply with ADA regulations, your management should not directly ask employees about personal health conditions. Even if you're asking with the best intentions, it can put your company at legal risk.

You can, however, take steps to improve communication between managers and crew members with a forum for workplace safety. By establishing open communication with crew members and encouraging them to put their health first, you can take steps to protect those who may have a higher risk.

Encourage employees to consider their health and begin a dialogue about potential safety adjustments. In this dialogue, a worker can choose to disclose medical information on their own and ask for accommodations. If you are able and at-risk crew members are willing, you can temporarily adjust their duties so they're not in a high-risk environment.

You can also implement recommended sanitation measures to keep vulnerable workers safe. The key is to reassure workers you are willing to make accommodations and take time to have respectful, honest conversations.

2. Adjust Job Rules to Make Social Distancing Possible

Social distancing is likely going to be a part of everyone's life for a while, and it will need to be a part of your job site. Job site rules may need to change to make sure social distancing is possible. To facilitate proper social distancing, implement these tips on the job site:

  • Adjust rotational hours: To avoid a job site getting clogged up with personnel, you may want to change work hours and rotational times of employees. A staggered schedule can ensure you have fewer people at the work site at one time, which makes it easier for employees to avoid crowding and maintain the needed distances. Additionally, you can stagger lunch times for staff to decrease the chances of large gatherings or the need to use the same area, like a break room.
  • Hold social distance-approved meetings: You can still have meetings at a work site, especially if some staff members don't have the tech to take part in virtual meetings. If you have an in-person meeting, hold it outdoors, keep the attendees to ten or less and maintain a distance of six feet from one another. If you have the ability to hold meetings over the phones or virtually, it's recommended you do that instead.
  • Restrict work site access: If someone doesn't need to be at your work site to do their job, they shouldn't be. Place strict rules on who's allowed onto your work sites, and make sure to enforce them.
  • Divide your staff: It's a good idea to split your staff into at least two groups that don't interact with each other. By keeping the groups separate, you can ensure that if one group is exposed to the coronavirus and needs time off, you'll still have an operational group that's able to complete the needed projects.

3. React to Symptoms

Staff and crew members should be trained to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19. With many people returning to construction job sites, you'll want to be able to spot warning signs that could indicate someone has the coronavirus. It's crucial to foster a "see something, say something" mindset among employees so you can react quickly to any possible dangers.

If you see any symptoms in an employee, enforce a plan to keep them away from others. If they test positive for the coronavirus, the employee should stay away from your work site as long as they feel symptoms to prevent the spread of the virus and give them time to recover. The primary symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Sore throat
  • Chills
  • New loss of smell or taste
  • Muscle pain

4. Make Masks Mandatory

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend people wear masks when they're in public, and the same should be true for your work sites. A mask helps prevent the wearer from coming into contact with the virus, but most importantly, it reduces the chances of a virus carrier spreading the virus.

Since N-95 masks are in short supply, it's not recommended workers use these masks unless their type of work requires them to do so. For most jobs, workers should wear cloth masks that they routinely wash. Provide information about making and cleaning cloth masks to staff members. You can also require workers to wear heavy-duty work gloves at work for added protection. Like masks, these gloves should be washed after every use.

5. Make Hygiene a Top Priority

Hygiene is always important, but it's even more crucial in times of a pandemic. Ensure your team has the ability to stay clean by providing handwashing stations they can use at the work site. Additionally, staff in an office environment should be trained to always disinfect commonly used objects like doorknobs, coffee machines and lunch tables throughout the day. Make cleaning and disinfectant supplies available throughout your office space to make it easy for employees to practice proper hygiene.

Looking to the Future

Now that you're aware of some of the main construction safety tips, you should plan to implement them at your work site. Even if you can't bring your crew back to work yet, start communicating these changes to employees in advance so they can prepare themselves for the new work site rules. You can also look to the future by purchasing necessary hygienic supplies and preparing your workspaces for social distancing before employees come back to work.

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To help you meet deadlines and have the capacity to enforce hygiene standards in your workspace, browse our selection of Cat heavy equipment rentals today.

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