Construction Site Safety Recommendations to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
How can the spread of COVID-19 be prevented in construction sites?
- Limit access to the site
- Implement social distancing markers
- Wear complete PPEs at all times
- Train workforce on safety precautions
- Clean all equipment
- Avoid sharing of materials
The COVID-19 virus is still continuing to rear its ugly head — but government authorities are slowly allowing the reopening of some establishments and other industries, particularly the construction sector. As people begin going back to work, they’ll inevitably be exposing themselves to the hazards of the outdoor environment. With this in mind, important construction site safety recommendations should be put in place in order to protect everyone and avoid further infection. Managers hold the responsibility of protecting the workforce, and it’s the duty of the workforce to adhere to these protocols. Read on to learn more.
Limit access to the site
As much as possible, construction site managers should ensure that the site has been properly closed off. A stringent enclosure and a physical site security protocol should be put in place so that no unqualified personnel would be able to enter the area.
Signage should be strategically placed in the exterior of the worksite proper in order to warn the public not to step foot inside the zone. High posts and fencing should be put up, signifying that people should keep out of the area.
Implement social distancing markers
In line with putting up signage in the site exterior, it’s also important to maintain the safety inside the space. Contractors or site managers should keep it a point that the workforce is following adequate social distancing measures. Gathering or crowding in a single space is no longer allowed — the constant flow of movement and processes that occur on construction sites may not easily meet this compliance guideline.
For example, the grounds of the construction site should be properly lined with markers — preferably high-visibility ones — which indicate how far an individual can position themselves relative to another person on the ground. These markers serve as a constant reminder to the site workers that they should not crowd together in a single space for a long time period. Furthermore, there should also be designated areas where the workers are allowed to take a breather away from the job.
Wear complete PPEs at all times
Everyone physically present at the construction site should also see to it that they’re wearing the complete set of personal protection equipment, or PPEs at all times. These pieces of protective wear should be worn on top of already-existing construction site equipment, such as hard hats, hearing protection, respiratory protection, gloves, or face shields.
In the event that the worker isn’t able to provide themselves with these objects, managers should hold the responsibility of supplying these low-value, yet critical items. There should also be designated storage spaces or locations in the construction site itself where the workers can gain access to these types of equipment, in case they forget to bring their own. Likewise, proper disposal of used PPEs should be practiced after every use.
Train workforce on safety precautions
As the workforce begins going back to work, it’s crucial to train them on the on-site safety precautions and practices that have been implemented by the management. This ensures that no one is left behind and that everyone knows what to do once work begins at a limited capacity.
The construction site manager should maintain a constant stream of communication among all those who would be physically presenting to work. Likewise, it’s also the responsibility of the employee to clarify precautions that might not be otherwise clear to them. If possible, workers should be allowed to provide their own input regarding their own safety, as they would understand the hazards of a construction site environment.
Clean all equipment
On the first day of resuming construction site work, it’s normal for fleets of equipment to remain untouched. Before they’re used, they should be thoroughly cleaned with special attention paid to the high-touch surfaces that may be present in both the vehicle’s exteriors and interiors.
All heavy equipment that is used in the site should be cleaned according to the recommendation of the manufacturer. It’s always handy to have the handbook or manual stored safely inside the vehicle for easy access. Some high-touch surfaces that need greater care and attention include steering wheels, gear shifts, instrument panel, dashboard, seatbelt, and the like. Cleaning equipment to be used should only be those that have already been approved by the necessary authorities.
Avoid sharing of materials
The COVID-19 virus can live on surfaces for up to several days. Construction sites should take this into consideration. In particular, they should see to it that everyone in the workforce has been provided with adequate materials to do their job. This means that each one should possess equipment that only they would be able to use.
Small tools that should not be shared include screwdrivers, power tools, knives, clamps, breakers, or other kinds of machine tools. In many cases, the sharing of tools and heavy equipment is inevitable. To make this practice safer, each object should also be thoroughly disinfected, for the safety of the next user. If possible, disinfection stations should be placed in the surrounding vicinity in order to provide a closed zone for sanitation and tool-cleaning.
Some construction site safety recommendations that both employees and upper management should adhere to include the following: proper disinfection of equipment, wearing adequate PPEs, and sticking to social distancing measures. Both managers and the workforce hold the responsibility of keeping the entire site safe, in order to create a more livable and conducive environment.
The tips above are just but a few of the many other protocols that should be observed in worksites, especially that work begins operating at a slightly larger capacity. All of these are crucial in preventing infection, and the spread of the virus.