Note: This guest post is by Kevin Dandridge, certified OSHA instructor and owner of 1 Life Safety. He has certifications in OSHA 500, Asbestos, Lead, CFM, NFPA 70 arc Flash Instruction, disaster worker instruction, MEWP, scissor lift, forklift, and First Aid/CPR/AED instruction, as well as others.
Good morning. I hope you and your workers are doing the absolute best to stay safe during the current pandemic. Also, OSHA has released another mandate for staying safe during the crisis.
I have received many calls regarding what we should be doing during this crisis; What extremes we need to take to continue safe practices during the pandemic.
Regarding that, I have been continually reviewing OSHA and CDC materials for guidance. Most companies want to do their best to keep their employees protected but also keep their businesses running. I have been asked what safety PPE should be added to combat COVID-19 on their sites. I advise providing masks, gloves, and eye wear, and also making providing clean water and soap to sanitize and wash hands. Make sure that you are disinfecting work areas, tools, office equipment, and never share those items.
Keeping as much social distance between employees as humanly possible on a job site is important. We all know that social distancing in construction can be extremely difficult to do in tight quarters. Train employees to recognize illness and to understand that if they are not feeling well for any reason, to not come to work. If you have the fixability, provide safer options; working from home or in shifts that make the workplace less crowded. In construction it can be an extremely hard decision to not come to work because you are not going to get paid.
Setting and enforcing proper PPE and rules required to be on a job site is imperative to keeping your workers safe—as well as their families. Instituting mandatory temperature checks to enter a job site as well as midway through the day to monitor and potentially limit exposure is another key factor to job site safety.
If an employee is infected with the virus, employers should require a two-week quarantine at home and a negative test for that employee to return to work. Fortunately, I have not yet met an employer who has lost an employee to the virus. They all have recovered.
OSHA has always followed to the CDC rules for keeping us safe:
- Make sure you are doing social distancing.
- Always wash your hands number three wear masks.
- Avoid sharing tools and work equipment.
- Disinfect these items before and after use.
Other things to consider on the job site:
- Make sure that you give ample breaks to workers who must wear masks on job sites. Masks reduce oxygen during physical exertion—and working on a job site is definitely physical exertion. For every hour of work where there is extended or excessive heat and humidity, a 15-minute break should be added in.
- To help keep the social distancing rules, making sure that work tasks with other trades are evaluated and time adjustments make sure that other trades are not underfoot.
- Making sure that there are ample hand wash stations on the job site so workers can keep their hands clean.
- Making sure that PPE face masks, safety glasses, and gloves are readily available.
If you ever have any questions regarding safety on a job site, whether it has to do with the pandemic or just general safety, always feel free to reach out to 1 Life Safety. We are here to help keep you safe.