This Covid-19 pandemic has created a crisis and thus, led to mandating of different policies and safety tips in many industrial sectors.
You can easily find information about Covid-19 through many resources, be it online or offline. But, the change in rules and work procedures is different for every other industrial worker. Schools have different safety rules, transportation has different seat capacity guidelines, and so are the safety procedures for construction workers.
Thus, in this post, our primary focus is on the COVID-19 guidelines that the government has regulated for safety measures in construction workplaces. So, let’s dive into the health and safety tips that construction workers should follow during work.
Screening before work.
The first step to reduce all chances of Covid-19 transmission is by preventing the entry of symptomatic construction workers and other non-essential people at the workplace. The employer could use construction project management software as a tool to actively screen their workers and other visitors, such as keeping track of their body temperatures. If anyone exceeds the set temperature limit, they should not be allowed on the project site.
Maintaining social distancing.
To potentially minimize person-to-person contact in the workplace, social distancing (2 meters) must be followed effectively. The employer can implement work arrangements like:
- Limiting the number of workers by rescheduling start times and breaks, prohibiting entry of unauthorized and non-essential persons, controlling site access, reorganizing tasks at hand, holding meetings at large spaces or with a limited number of people, etc.
- Considering workers’ movement by planning on-site mobility, increasing fresh air ventilation in on-site work vehicles, setting up one-way corridors and stairs, limiting elevator capacity, limiting non-essential work trips, etc.
- Encouraging workers to abide by safety guidelines by communicating to respective workers about the social distancing norm, asking them to notify their superiors about any practices that affect the physical distancing, and conducting inspections if the workers are practically following the distancing guidelines not, etc.
Wearing masks whenever possible.
People have been using face masks for a long time for many other purposes. But, since the pandemic strike, the government has made a face masks personal and essential protective equipment. An adequately made face masks specially designed for protection against this Covid-19 transmission should be made available to every construction worker on site. They should also keep extra stock with themselves for emergencies.
And I mentioned specially made face masks because not every type of face cover is fit for either purpose. Hence, all the persons involved in construction works should use face masks as a control measure.
Construction workers and whoever visits the workplace must use face masks as a way to source control. It means to protect each other when around. Suppose a work situation arises where the workers should be closer to one another, i.e., within 2 meters. In that case, they should wear PPE for Covid-19 for further protection. This PPE kit consists of a surgical mask, eye protection gear like goggles or face shields, and even gloves (although not necessary).
Maintaining hygiene and regular sanitation of the workplace.
The spread of Covid-19 is prominent through close contact. And the most vulnerable to this transmission is the people at work. It is already a rule for workplaces to maintain hygiene. Still, as the situation is now, the obligation for sanitation has risen.
Hence, to prevent any spread from working closely, the construction site can follow these tips to stay sanitized:
- Make access to water, disinfectant, and soap available at all times.
- Provide extra hand cleanser. An even better option is the alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Make a regular norm to clean washrooms, lunchrooms, and most used areas.
- Dispose of waste materials in a far and safe space.
- Frequently sanitize the standard equipment and common surfaces that workers come in contact with, such as door handles, site trailers, etc.
- Avoid using the same hand tools and equipment as far as possible. If necessarily shared, make sure that it is sanitized.
- Do not forget to put up posters and signs to remind the workers about maintaining hygiene and using sanitizer whenever possible. It would also increase the awareness of good workplace sanitation.
Ample airflow and proper ventilation.
The transmission rate of covid-19 is much higher in enclosed and crowded places. These places on a construction site could be the sheds, any indoor spaces, trailers, buildings, etc. So, to get more than sufficient airflow in the workplace, here are a few tips for ample ventilation:
- Make use of portable ventilation fans wherever possible.
- Keep doors and windows open.
- Alternate the time spent by workers in both outdoor and indoor tasks.
- Work in outdoor spaces as much as possible, meetings as well.
The employer should follow all the essential procedures and guidelines that benefit the safety of their workers. And since the construction workers are exposed to hazardous materials most of the time, they should emphasize more on their health and safety issues. This way, they can easily be compliant with the Covid-19 workers’ protocol.
Whatever other changes the company has to face or the employer has to make, their priority should be the health and safety of the employees.