Construction sites are high-contact worksites where workers touch many surfaces and work in close collaboration throughout the day. For those reasons, COVID-19 is a significant risk.
Indeed, that risk is exacerbated by the fact that construction sites are also complex, shared workspaces. The team for any given project may consist of not just your own employees, but also a variety of contractors and subcontractors.
Coordinating between all those parties to keep everyone safe can be a challenge. But the construction industry’s chief concern has always been safety. That means that you can adapt to keep workers safe not only from other workplace hazards, but from coronavirus as well.
Below, we share some tips. We will start by talking about how to sanitize surfaces and tools at your construction site. Then, we will go over additional best practices to prevent COVID’s spread.
Sanitizing Recommendations to Prevent COVID-19 at Construction Sites
1. Use safe and effective cleaning procedures.
First of all, you should train all of your workers to know how to sanitize properly. They should follow these practices:
Wear goggles and gloves when sanitizing.
Combine soap and water for cleaning.
Choose an appropriate disinfectant from the EPA’s
Make sure your workers are familiar with the contact time for the product you are using. Some products need under a minute to work, while others need in excess of 10 minutes. Make sure the products have sufficient time to work before you allow surfaces to dry.
Employees and contractors should discard disposable products they used while cleaning immediately after they are done.
Train your staff to be mindful of possible cross-contamination and to avoid it.
Employees should wash their hands when they are done sanitizing.
2. Clean regularly.
There are some surfaces with a high amount of traffic at a worksite that need extra sanitizing. Clean them on a set schedule each day.
3. Keep supplies fully stocked.
Your employees and contractors cannot keep their hands clean if soap and paper towel dispensers are empty. Check on them frequently and refill them when necessary.
4. Bring professional cleaners onboard.
The more time your own crew spend sanitizing, the less time they will spend working on construction. Not only that, but workers who are trying to meet deadlines may sometimes be tempted to rush through proper sanitizing.
For those reasons, it is wise to bring a professional cleaning service into the picture. A third-party crew can be fully dedicated to sanitizing at your worksite. They know how to be thorough and safe, and unlike your workers, they are not trying to juggle other responsibilities. They can give their full attention to their job. Your workers can then focus on construction, with their health more fully protected.
Best Practices to Keep Workers Safe from COVID-19 at Construction Sites
Following the recommendations above for sanitizing will go a long way toward promoting a safe and healthy workplace. But there are still other ways that coronavirus can spread around your construction site. Here are a few additional best practices to follow.
1. Set equipment and tool restrictions.
Restrict access to particular equipment and tools to those who need to use them. Do not allow members of different crews to handle what isn’t theirs. This will help to reduce overall potential exposure. If there is an outbreak with one work crew, it will be less likely to spread to members of another.
2. Require masks.
Everyone on your construction site should be wearing masks with filters, covering their noses and mouths.
Not only should you mandate this, but you should enforce it. If you see workers violating the masking policy without good (i.e. medical) reason, you should give them a warning. If they continue, you should strongly consider firing them for the good of the rest of your team.
3. Maintain social distancing.
Unless a specific task demands it, your workers should stay at least six feet away from each other. You also should set limits on how many people at a time can be in enclosed environments together like the canteen.
4. Schedule wisely.
One way to make it easier to maintain social distancing is to avoid overcrowding your construction site. You can do this in part through staggered scheduling.
5. Check for fever and other symptoms.
Although it is not a foolproof way to check for COVID-19, it can help to take temperatures as people check in for work.
If a worker has a high temperature, they may or may not have a fever. Have them sit down for 15 minutes, then check again. Sometimes, temperatures are simply elevated from commuting. If the temperature has not decreased, however, your employee may be ill and should go home.
You can also be alert for other possible symptoms of COVID-19. If a worker has a persistent cough, for example, and does not know why, you should send them home for the day and arrange a COVID test for them.
6. Follow isolation protocols and support your workers.
When a worker has COVID, they should not come back to the construction site until they clear quarantine. Follow CDC quarantine and isolation guidelines.
Even if there is no law mandating paid leave for your sick employee at the time that they get COVID, you should consider providing that paid leave. Otherwise, workers are caught between choosing whether to compromise their health or their financial security.
Additionally, failure to provide paid time off encourages workers to try to conceal that they are sick so that they can continue coming into work. If a worker does this successfully, they could expose many around them to COVID, leading to a sizable outbreak.
7. Work remotely when possible.
A lot of the work that goes on with a construction project must take place in person, but not all of it. Meetings, for example, can often take place online instead of face-to-face. When this is possible, you should take advantage of the opportunity to work remotely and reduce exposure.
8. Train, train, train.
It is easy to assume that your employees and contractors know how to properly wash their hands, sanitize surfaces, or wear a mask. But many people lack these basic skills. So, make sure that you provide training to everybody at your worksite.
You may need to repeat training sessions periodically as well as a refresher. This is also your chance to update safety guidelines based on the latest research on coronavirus.
Construction Worksite Safety During COVID-19 is Everyone’s Job
The complex and high-touch nature of a construction site can make it is a challenge to keep employees, contractors, and subcontractors safe from COVID-19.
But when you provide the training, scheduling, and supplies that workers need to prevent the spread of coronavirus, everybody can do their part to maintain health and safety at the worksite.
Need help from a dedicated construction site cleaning and sterilizing crew? Contact Boss Construction Cleaning today at (788)899-2006 to set up a consultation. Let us take care of sanitizing your job site so your team can focus on your construction project.