We have all been dealing with the impact of COVID-19, but the situation becomes more personal when one of our own employees reports that he or she is suffering from COVID-19 symptoms. And, with all the guidance out there, it may be difficult to figure out exactly what to do. We sifted through the various CDC guidance and other governmental regulations on this and compiled these best practices on responding to COVID-19 concerns on your worksite.
Step One: Create an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan
There is no “one size fits all” Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan and there are a number of resources to draw from in creating your plan. Association of General Contractors (AGC) has a good template that you can use as guide. If you have a multi-language workforce, make sure you prepare translated versions of the plan.
Step Two: Train Your Employees on the Preparedness Plan
It is imperative that you share with your employees the Preparedness Plan. Obviously face to face training is difficult, but a properly socially distanced toolbox talk may be a good idea to share the basics of the plan. You can also provide copies of the plan at your jobsites. Here is a sample handout for a ToolboxTalk.
Step Three: Maintain a Healthy Work Environment
Review your current work conditions and implement as many measures as possible to minimize the risk of spread on the worksite. These include:
- Enhance ventilation by increasing air exchanges in rooms;
- Modify workstation layouts to ensure all employees remain at least six feet apart;
- Close common areas where employees are likely to congregate and interact or enforce social distancing protocols and use other methods to physically separate employees;
- Increase the frequency of cleaning frequently touched surfaces and shared objects to minimize the potential for cross contamination; for example, clean before and after shifts or immediately before and after the use of shared objects; and
- Communicate with your employees about job stress related to COVID-19 and ways to cope with that stress.
Step Four: Keep Up to Date with CDC Guidelines
The guidance provided by the federal and state governments is changing constantly. Assign someone in your office to review the key websites and identify any changes that will impact your operations. The main COVID-19 website for the CDC can be found here.
Dealing with COVID-19 on the jobsite is critical for your continued operations. If you have any questions about your Preparedness Plan, we recommend you contact an experienced construction attorney.