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The coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused a complete government shutdown that has resulted in countless businesses being closed. This has adversely affected the construction industry and delayed numerous landmark projects that will be beneficial to the public.
Not only has the government shutdown led to the unproductive use of essential taxpayer dollars, but it has also caused government officials, project managers, and the general populace to formulate and rethink safety conditions for the industry to continue with full steam ahead.
As the United States government begins to reduce its restrictions on public movement, all of these entities will have to work together to create safer environments for construction works to dwell in.
To receive insight on how you should conduct your construction project, continue reading below for more information.
Health and Safety for All
The COVID-19 virus has infected thousands of people in the United States. People in large crowds face a larger risk of being infected. This includes construction site employees, contractors, suppliers, and passerbys.
As a result, property owners are responsible for considering this liability, as well as mandating safety precautions for their staff and contractors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these safety precautions absolutely must be taken:
- Hand Washing – Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. If soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content. Avoid touching any part of your face with unwashed hands.
- Interpersonal Contact – Avoid contact with people who are six and remember to always practice social distancing. The CDC warns to avoid mass gatherings but in this special case, keep your distance whenever it’s possible.
- Face Coverings – All members of your construction team should wear a mask or similar face covering – no exceptions!
- Coughs & Sneezes – Remember to direct all coughs and sneezes into your arm. By wearing a mask, sanitization and hand washing isn’t necessary.
- Cleaning & Disinfecting – Make sure you clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces daily. Also, clean all dirty surfaces. You are free to use EPA-registered household disinfectants.
- Monitoring Health – Always be on alert for flu-like symptoms, which include fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Take the temperatures of all construction workers daily and make no exceptions even if a person isn’t exhibiting any symptoms.
These are fundamental tips for keeping your workplace clean and safe for your staff to reduce liability and the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Outline Safety Concerns and Hazards
Construction sites are known for having zones, in which employees and contractors are informed about the hazards that lie inside. This is meant to warn incomers and reduce liability in case of an accident or fatality.
In the same way, construction sites should outline similar safety concerns and hazards where incomers can face the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus. This isn’t to claim that you should allow infected persons to enter the construction site.
This does mean that construction sites are analogous to mass gatherings. No one, despite any rigorous safety precautions, can be completely certain that an infected person won’t enter the workplace.
Wherever there may be gatherings of a high concentration of workers, follow all of these tips:
- Place signs at workplace centers where employees and contractors will be required to be within a 6 feet distance.
- Place signs indicating the location of handwashing stations, social distancing markers, and more.
- Place signs presenting the safeguards you have in place to minimize the safety risks to your employees and contractors.
Safety mandates for workplaces during the COVID-19 virus are controlled by OSHA. If you want to see the exhaustive list of safety precautions you have to take, refer to this helpful guide written by OSHA.
Expect Disruptions and Delays
As a result of the widespread potential of the coronavirus pandemic, many construction projects across the country will experience significant disruptions and delays. Some states have halted construction projects entirely, while others have considered these projects to be “essential duties”.
For example, major repair work to public buildings and hospital construction to accommodate today’s massive strain on healthcare services are permitted across the United States.
Other construction projects may not receive this permission. For this reason, it’s important to check with government officials to ascertain whether or not you can continue your project without any considerable upheavals.
As time goes on, the COVID-19 virus will cause cash-flow issues, supply-chain discrepancies, and funding restrictions. Fortunately, a part of successful project management is foreseeing future pitfalls and risks.
It’s important to take a definite time period to reevaluate your project to assess a cost-benefit analysis for continuing its production.
Do You Need Further Guidance?
A lot of the information listed above can be a lot to take in. This is especially true if you have strict deadlines to meet and haven’t discussed the plans for moving forward internally.
If you are interested in creating an optimized construction schedule or speaking with one of our construction scheduling engineers