COVID-19 has upended all of our lives in myriad ways – and we may be living with it for the foreseeable future. For those in the construction industry, certain protocols should be followed to help protect workers and alleviate some of the COVID-19 stress associated with our new reality.
1. Communication and Awareness
Ensure your site has signage at all entry points outlining rules about social distancing, hand washing, and general COVID-19 best practices.
2. Access to the Site
When possible, workers traveling to the site should use individual modes of transportation (like a personal vehicle or bicycle. Also, entry and exiting of the site should be monitored and controlled to ensure that minimum physical distancing is not broken when shifts begin and end. Finally, for those who can, they should be working from home.
3. Monitoring the Status of Workers
An employee should be assigned the task of tracking of worker’s status on-site and off-site at all times. (e.g. fit to work, sick, off-work for family caring duties, etc.). A list of all quarantined workers should be updated daily, with their privacy maintained.
4. Limit Common Touch-Point Areas
It is a good idea to remove or limit the use of shared devices like coffee machines, water fountains, microwaves, etc. If concerns are raised over this, assign an employee the task of getting coffee, water, and snacks and food to the site, and distribute in a socially distant way.
5. Screening at Entry
Before entering the site, individuals must confirm that they are not exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19. The symptoms are varied, and health authorities are updating what they could be all the time, so be sure to check with relevant authorities on what they may be. Also, ensure workers have not been out of province or Canada in the last 14 days.
Written by Jeremy Power, a lawyer in Cotney Construction Law’s Toronto office.