Several organizations have developed plans and best practices for reducing the hazards associated with the coronavirus on construction job sites.
We’ve compiled and merged the best practices from a number of sources here including Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Building Trades Unions, and the Center for Construction Research as well as tips we’ve picked up from talking to contractors around the country.
Viruses are not like the usual hazards personal protective equipment is designed for. Face masks should be rated N95 or better, not just simple dust masks. When donning and removing masks avoid touching your face or hair as these surfaces may have traces of the virus on them. If you have washable masks, wash them after every use. Place other masks in direct sunlight for a day or so before reusing.
Disposable latex gloves should be used any time a worker or operator will touch or handle tools others have touched or the handles and surfaces on trucks or equipment others have been in contact with. When removing the gloves pull from the cuff end to minimize finger touching, dispose of them and then immediately wash your hands with soap and hot water. Any clothing you suspect may have been contaminated should be immediately placed in a washed immediately.
The coronavirus isn’t the only hazard out there. Make sure you’re not overlooking others. Some PPE can be awkward to wear. Workers with glasses will find masks often cause their glasses to fog up. Remind your crews of these issues and look for better quality PPE if needed.
Advise workers to avoid physical contact with others and direct employees/contractors/visitors to increase personal space to at least six feet, where possible.
Tell your own workers as well as suppliers, subcontractors and others to use texts, phone calls and emails rather than face to face conversations whenever possible. Enforce the six foot rule when texts, when face to face meetings are necessary.
Where work trailers are used, all workers should maintain social distancing while inside the trailers.
Also sanitize the trailers daily. Clean all surfaces, especially door handles and places or surfaces people touch with soapy water or disinfectants.
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