With stay at home and shelter in place restrictions beginning to lift, construction companies are faced with difficult questions that must be addressed as they transition back to normal operations, such as: How can we protect our employees, third-parties, and projects from the disease? First and foremost, we encourage you to create a return to work action plan.
Click here to download an example action plan
The following tips can help reduce the risk of exposure:
- Complete a task-based risk assessment/mapping of the project site to determine best strategies for social distancing of at least 6 feet, and ensure staff have face coverings.
- To the extent tools or equipment must be shared, provide and instruct workers to use alcohol based wipes to clean tools before and after use. When cleaning tools and equipment, workers should consult manufacturer recommendations for proper cleaning techniques and restrictions.
- Keep in-person meetings (including toolbox talks and safety meetings) as short as possible, limit the number of workers in attendance, and use social distancing practices.
- Eliminate non-essential visits, such as job tours, vendor demos, etc.
- Clean and disinfect portable jobsite toilets regularly. Hand sanitizer dispensers should be filled regularly. Frequently-touched items (i.e., door pulls and toilet seats) should be disinfected.
If an employee tests positive for COVID-19 there are actions you can take to protect other employees, clients, and your business:
- Cleaning and disinfecting should be done immediately by trained personnel and they must wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including face coverings and dispose of gloves after use and wash hands and face when complete.
- Visibly dirty surfaces shall be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water PRIOR to disinfection.
- For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70 percent alcohol, and EPA-registered disinfectants on List-N should be effective. The CDC recommended bleach solution mixture for cleaning can be found here.
- Consider wearable technology such as proximity devices worn on hard hats or wrist bands to monitor employee physical distancing and tracing of contacts.
- PPE: for close contact activities that cannot adjust for physical distancing, consider providing enhanced PPE or a face shield with a face covering while fully considering all the potential OSHA requirements.
For further guidance, read through the AIHA Returning to Work: Construction Environment guide.
Please note: Construction companies and vendors should continually monitor global (World Health Organization WHO), federal (CDC), state, and local guidelines for changes in recommendations, disinfection strategies, worker protections and other best management practices.
Please join us to learn from two of Amerisure’s risk management experts about protecting your workplace from the unique risks posed by COVID-19. We’ll discuss:
- Your company’s role in responding to the pandemic
- Initial steps for safely bringing back employees once your facility is open
- Daily access procedures
- General employee work practices and controls
- Protocols for employees while they are traveling
Thursday, May 21 at 2:00 p.m. EDT
Click to register
Several factors make vacant and idle facilities particularly vulnerable to loss. The most common property perils facing a vacant and idle facility include fire, vandalism, and inclement weather. While these perils are also present for operating facilities, they are magnified when a facility is vacant, operating on a skeleton crew, or idled.
During this period of uncertainty and reduced staffing due to COVID-19, it is especially important to prepare and mitigate the risks that are unique to vacant or idle facilities. The following strategies can help mitigate the risks with vacant and idle buildings:
- Ensure that fire protection systems are maintained and fully functional. Verify that sprinkler control valves are secured in the open position and that fire pumps are in the automatic setting. The typical service and maintenance activities for fire protection systems should be continued where possible.
- Central station alarm companies and local fire departments should be notified when a facility is vacated or idled. The emergency response procedures and alarm protocols should be discussed and adjusted to address the lack of on-site personnel.
- Fuel and power should be verified and maintained for any fire pumps and special extinguishing systems.
- Housekeeping conditions should be addressed to eliminate or reduce any unnecessary combustibles in the building. Combustible storage outside the building, such as idle pallets, should be eliminated. Waste receptacles should be emptied and secured.
- Operations involving flammable or combustible liquids should be discontinued, and flammable liquids should be removed or relocated to properly protected areas.
- Steps should be taken to ensure that critical machinery is shut down and idled in a safe manner. Equipment manufacturers should be consulted for guidance on long-term shutdown of sensitive machines.
- The perimeter building areas and exterior doors should be secured. Personnel with keys and key cards should be reviewed to ensure that only designated approved individuals have access to the building.
- CCTV cameras should be verified and/or installed to cover sensitive areas. Remote monitoring should be established by designated facility personnel or central station alarm companies.
- Building roof areas should be inspected to ensure unnecessary storage is removed from the roof. Building drains and scuppers should be cleaned to ensure effective drainage.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate reach out to your Gulfshore Insurance Client Advisor who can offer assistance. We are here to help.
Gregory Havemeier, CIC, AAI, CIRMS is a Client Advisor and Partner at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in community and condominium associations. Gregory works with a wide range of business clients to deliver strategic risk analysis and guidance. Comments and questions are welcome at email@example.com
The Department of Homeland Security considers construction an “essential critical infrastructure workforce.” However, all safety measures that can be taken, should be taken. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has taken the initiative and put together a detailed plan that outlines the steps that every employer and employee can take to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
The plan describes how to prevent worker exposure to coronavirus, protective measures to be taken on the job site, personal protective equipment and work practice controls to be used, cleaning and disinfecting procedures, and OSHA guidance on what to do if a worker becomes sick, including record-keeping requirements.
National Association of Home Builders COVID-19 Plan:
These resources are also available in Spanish, here.
Gulfshore Insurance is focused on supporting and addressing client concerns. Visit our Coronavirus Resource Center for guidance on risk management measures and resources to help manage ongoing operations.
Effective January 15, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has increased the maximum allowable penalty amounts for OSHA violations in federally-mandated states.
The 2020 numbers are a result of a cost-of-living adjustment multiplier based on the Consumer Price Index, which was calculated at 1.101764 as of October 2019. The most recent penalty amount for each level of violation was multiplied by this number and rounded to the nearest dollar.
The maximum penalty amounts that may now be assessed are:
For more information: OSHA Memo, Jan 10, 2020.