Workplace safety has always been an important practice within the construction industry. Successful construction companies must make safety a priority with proper equipment and training to keep construction workers from getting hurt on the job.
Though the issue of occupational safety and health is not new for the construction industry, the pandemic has added a whole new dimension to the work of keeping employees safe. The typical safety protocols are designed to deal with construction hazards and were not designed to stop the spread of COVID-19 (or any other virus or illness on a worksite).
Federal Safety Efforts
In response to this unique public health crisis, the CDC and the Department of Labor have released updated guidance for the construction industry as they create response plans. The agencies’ recommendations include:
- Encouraging workers to stay home if they feel sick and screening incoming workers for COVID-19 symptoms at the job site.
- Promoting social distancing by asking workers to keep at least six feet apart while working.
- Training workers on new health and safety protocols and distributing personal protective equipment.
- Providing alcohol wipes, hand sanitizer or soap, and water to workers while on the job and encouraging workers to practice good hygiene.
OSHA has also made an important change to the rules regarding respirator N95 masks, saying that they are no longer required for certain construction jobs. Cloth face coverings or non-N95 masks are recommended whenever workers are required to be near each other. For companies that do have N95 masks available, the CDC has released updated guidance for sanitizing them for re-use.
State Safety Efforts
In addition to these recommendations, construction companies also need to monitor state-specific regulations regarding COVID-19 safety. Each state has different rules and regulations regarding everything from personal protective equipment to paid time off for sick workers. Companies that fail to comply with state-specific guidelines could face steep fines or wind up with costly worker’s compensation claims in the event of an outbreak.
Despite the new precautions, the construction industry has been hit hard by outbreaks. It can be difficult for workers to socially distance on the job, and there is a lack of proper personal protective equipment nationally. In light of these risks, all construction companies should undergo legal reviews to protect themselves from potential lawsuits.
At Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc., we take the health and safety of our workers seriously. If you have questions or concerns about our COVID-19 protocols or our new Maxwell Monitors service offering that we developed amid the pandemic, don’t hesitate to contact us today! Our team is equipped and ready to help!