A pandemic like COVID-19 has affected the world to a great extent. When it comes to construction sites; jobs, owners, workers, visitors and contractors all have to protect themselves from the spread of the disease. Individuals that work at a construction site must work on new plans to enhance the safety of everyone and limit the spread of infection. This is done by training site workers, creating more awareness surrounding the spread of Coronavirus and the use of protective gear like masks. Workers in the construction industry are used to all sorts of training like fire fighting training and safety briefings. Therefore, they should be quick to adapt to Coronavirus safety training.
Some recommendations include the following:
- Site workers must practise distancing from each other, and practice social distancing during break times and lunchtime. This is because the disease is spread through physical contact.
- As the disease is often symptomless for days, it is important that all site workers sanitise their hands regularly. This is especially important after sneezing or coughing. Workers should go home if they are coughing or sneezing a lot.
- Commonly used areas must be sanitised often, including the staircase rail, toilet door knobs, handles, the lift doors and lift buttons.
- All site workers, visitors and contractors have to wear protective face masks at all times when on-site.
- There should be no sharing of food or clothing among the site workers. Lunchtime and breaks should be carried out in a timely manner one after the other.
- To make sure these rules are taken seriously, employees must sign a written policy of acceptance.
- There should be clean disposal areas for gloves, face masks and other items.
- There should be transparent information in the event of any shutdown
- There should be a plan for employee safety with the OSHA to provide employees with masks, gloves, hand sanitisers.
- There should never be a large crowd or large gathering at any cost. There should be no more than 10 people in one place and they all should refrain from shaking hands.
- There should be a process to identify and recognise workers who are sick at the construction site. If an employee is sick, they should stay home mandatorily.
- All meetings are to be conducted virtually so that there is no gathering in enclosed spaces. Employees must be equipped with additional technology and gadgets to prevent in-person meetings.
- The employees who work at the site must avoid travelling during this period.
- No new visitors should be allowed at the construction site and there should only be essential and needed employees at the site.
- Employees have to screen themselves and there should be a record of their last 30 days including having their travel and medical history documented. All the employees are thus pre-screened before they enter the premises.
- Additional workers should be employed to constantly clean surfaces with disinfectant to prevent any spread of disease. Surfaces and areas that are constantly being used by multiple workers should be sanitised.
- There is strict monitoring of these practices by a person, camera or drone to ensure the rules are being met.
Therefore, it is important to provide site workers with a safe environment to work in and prevent the spread of disease. When there is a global pandemic threat and most countries are under lockdown, we must all work together. These steps are to be followed closely, as there aren’t any specific instructions for construction sites other than keeping a 1.5-metre distance. As the disease is still being studied, nobody is certain of its effects, as some show symptoms while others are carriers of the disease, who simply spread the disease without being aware of it. Occupational first aid equips individuals that work in high-risk industries. Workers who have completed this course should find it easy to follow new distancing measures created for safety in the workplace.