Best Tips for a Safe Construction Site Reopening

Construction sites around the world have weathered the ups and downs of mitigation measures and reopening schedules in response to COVID-19. As many contractors look to reopen their construction sites, they must take careful steps to ensure workers stay safe.

Looking for ways to safely reopen your construction site? Here's our top three tips for making health and safety a priority.

1. Stay Informed

Information about the novel coronavirus is always changing. Make sure you stay up to date on any new symptoms, prevention measures and cases in your area. The number of cases can vary widely from region to region, and outbreaks can appear quickly. Stay informed to ensure your practices evolve appropriately.

2. Don't Lean Into Your Old Practices

Construction isn't usually associated with high-risk activities for virus transmission, but you still need to assess your prior procedures and practices to ensure they are done safely. For instance, requiring workers to stand six feet apart can help you maintain recommended social distancing standards. Other adaptations to consider include engineering and administrative controls, such as implementing physical barriers when workers must be in close contact and conducting more training sessions.

For more information about updating your work practices, check out OSHA guidance for COVID-19 control and prevention at construction sites.

3. Focus on Appropriate Preparation

Employees can't stay safe without the proper tools, including training on how to use and wear personal protective equipment (PPE). Your team needs to know how the virus spreads and be equipped with the tools and knowledge to enact preventative measures.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has outlined many steps to safe construction site reopening. Among other things, employees must:

  • Notify their supervisor if they have symptoms and stay home as needed. Consider implementing flexible sick leave policies and promoting health-conscious leadership that encourages safe behavior. Make sure employees are well-informed with accurate information about symptoms.
  • Maintain at least six feet of distance between themselves and coworkers. Employers should provide workers with necessary PPE, including face masks, and physical barriers. In addition, consider implementing scheduling changes or adjustments to work patterns to reduce the number of people working close together at one time. It's also critical to take special care of high-risk employees.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Employees will need appropriate cleaning materials and time carved out of their day to complete this task. If possible, limit tool sharing and implement regular cleaning practices.
  • Practice proper hand-washing hygiene and avoid touching one's face. Provide workers with hand-washing stations or hand sanitizer with over 60% alcohol in multiple locations.

Another excellent approach is to designate a health and safety officer to take care of these tasks and communicate with employees about COVID-19 questions.

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