With widespread COVID – 19 pandemic; the start of the year 2020 has brought the world’s businesses nearly to a halt. Nearly 3 million people have been infected throughout the world by Novel Coronavirus, creating a massive economic loss that exceeds trillions of dollars worldwide. Aside from the health and economic effects on the planet, the way people communicate and do business has changed altogether.
Because of this pandemic, there are plenty of businesses that are shut off while those that are still operating, face the challenges of their safety at work. Among those companies that still operate during COVID – 19, one of them is the construction sector. Staff, managers, and security personnel on construction projects must follow best practices to protect employees and their families from COVID-19 exposure. Construction projects have to create and incorporate a site-specific health and safety program that is consistent with best practices. Each construction project has unique characteristics and circumstances, so what is suitable and feasible for each project can differ.
The rapid spread of COVID-19 has created a need for a new approach to safety at sites. Despite existing regulations and safety culture within the construction industry, contractors were faced with a sudden need for new safety practices to be implemented. Some have rapidly developed best practices and even innovative approaches for continuing essential construction activities. Regulatory government agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), construction advocacy groups, and construction firms recently issued new workplace guidelines on reducing exposure opportunities and how to act in case of infection. Every contractors must ensure to follow these guidelines and procedures.
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have determined that coronavirus-bearing droplets of all sizes will pass through a cough or sneeze 23 to 27 feet from their host after emission. Research indicates that droplets can also be released by talking and that the virus will remain active on surfaces such as tables, door buttons, and equipment for several hours.Such findings underline the vital value of ensuring that employees are physically distant from one another. Owners and contractors are required to adopt and implement a Physical Distancing Protocol and post details of that Protocol on site. OSHA has been confirmed to be checking physical distancing, housekeeping, and break area sanitation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person can be kept out of the range of contagious, airborne droplets by keeping at least six feet away from another. Infectious disease experts are encouraging Americans to believe that everyone may be infected, despite the rapid spread of COVID-19 and its track record of not showing apparent symptoms in certain individuals.
But how can you keep a 6-foot distance on a construction site?
Changing work schedules by alternating shifts or providing alternative working days or dedicated shifts can reduce the number of employees at any time on a site. Wherever possible, encourage non – essential staff to work from home. It is also best to arrange breaks for many interactions. COVID-19 safe practices should be included in all job briefings and hazard assessments of tasks (THA). All THAs will determine whether a single employee can perform each task, and if not, what type of Personal Protective Equipment ( PPE) is required to ensure the safety of all employees.
It is best to appoint suitably trained workers to track proper social distance, similar to how individuals are chosen to perform the activities needed by fire watch. Sites may be monitored directly on larger sites, via web or security cameras, and by drones. Smartvid.io, a construction safety software provider, recently launched an application for its Vinnie AI platform that automatically decides when employees fail to properly separate themselves.
Popular habits should be modified to protect employees. Traditional touch greetings including handshakes and fist-bumps, for example, need to be removed. Workers who may work close can protect themselves by wearing a mask, and masks are required by certain owners and GCs.
The other two primary rules of the CDC regarding the containment of COVID-19 spread – namely, wash your hands frequently and don’t touch your face – also prompted changes on construction sites. Besides installing hand-sanitizer dispensers around sites, contractors build handwashing stations for soap-and-water use.
Since COVID-19 can live on several solid surfaces for approximately 24 hours, construction workers do have to take care when handling materials and equipment.
You also need to regularly disinfect tools, equipment controls, vehicle interiors, and other surfaces that are touched by multiple people.
The rapid spread of COVID-19 also means contractors need to track the safety of workers more closely and to implement precautions. Some contractors request that workers complete a brief questionnaire before entering a site. Based on CDC guidelines, it asks if the patient has acquired any flu-like symptoms, has traveled abroad in recent weeks, or has been in touch with anyone suspected of infection. At the beginning of each shift, several contractors perform temperature controls. Finally, all contractors need to implement a policy that staff will stay home if they experience any symptoms associated with COVID-19-fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, body aches, chills or exhaustion.
At True North Safety, It is our responsibility to ensure that our employees have a safe working environment, that the materials, tools, and equipment are safe to use and that our employees are trained to perform their duties. True North Safety is considered by it’s clients, partners as well as employees as one of the best Construction Safety Training Agencies In Canada. We provide many occupational health and work safety training certification courses that are required at many work sites. We understand there is cause for concern because of the current events around the COVID-19 situation.
We also developed high-quality protocols to reduce the risk of COVID – 19 spread. At @truenorthsafety our highest priority is the safety of both our customers and our employees. We have been monitoring the rapid progression of the COVID19 situation and we would like to discuss some health and safety steps being placed in place to ensure the wellbeing of everyone.