The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically changed the way people live and work. It may seem difficult to implement Covid-19 specific safety measures in certain industries. Here are eight tips for maintaining your construction company during the pandemic and ensure small business success.
1. Focus on Social Distancing
One of the most effective ways to keep people safe and healthy during the pandemic is social distancing. There are many ways you can coordinate social distancing measures at your construction company and onsite. You can reduce the number of people working by staggering employee work schedules with extra shifts or alternating business days. You can adopt physical markers to help people stay six feet apart and utilize technology to minimize the need for in-person interaction. Implementing the use of tools such as a construction calculator app, for example, will allow your employees to do tasks like time tracking and site monitoring from their personal devices, reducing the need for physical proximity or sharing physical tools such as paperwork and pens. This will improve the rates of social distancing on the construction site and reduce the risk of exposure.
2. Communicate Honestly
You must communicate openly and honestly with your employees regarding the pandemic and your response to it. It's good to reassure people, but your employees will also want to know how you're handling safety measures and what your priorities are. Make sure employees know what they need to do to keep themselves safe and where they should go for more information. You can create a pandemic response page on your employees' intranet or your website. You can also send out email news blasts periodically with any important updates. Most vitally, you must let your employees know if they have potentially been exposed to the virus. You don't need to reveal the identity of someone who tested positive, but anyone exposed has the right to know so they can get tested, quarantine and prioritize their health and the safety of others.
3. Introduce Screening Protocols
Screening protocols can be quite effective in halting the spread of Covid-19. Train your employees to recognize the physical signs of suspected Covid-19 infection and make sure they know where to report anything they notice. Implement temperature checks to enter the office and job sites. Follow CDC guidelines for quarantine and testing after suspected exposure before allowing employees to return to work.
4. Create a Pandemic Response Team
Many companies are creating pandemic response teams. These teams work to stay updated on Covid-19 news and updates, and continually review your company's safety measures. They may also monitor scams that may prey on employees' pandemic fears, provide mental health resources and tips and implement various benefits programs to assist employees.
5. Conduct Hazard Analyses
You should conduct hazard analyses of each construction site you're contracted to work on. These analyses allow you to determine the level of danger present at each individual site. Map out the site and the construction activities needed. Determine which activities are low, medium or high risk. Once you know the risk level, you can discuss your options and decide whether you need to delay the high-risk work or have the appropriate safety measures set up already.
6. Distribute Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Since construction workers are used to wearing various types of PPE on construction sites, it should be relatively easy to train your employees on how to properly use pandemic PPE. However, PPE should be reserved for hazardous situations that involve dealing with someone suspected of having Covid-19 or entering a site with respiratory dangers. Make sure employees dealing with these kinds of situations have appropriately protective gloves, face shields, masks and goggles. Make sure employees are well-trained in using devices such as respirators. In the office or on a normal worksite, make sure employees maintain social distancing and wear cloth masks or use plexiglass shields to protect themselves and others.
7. Improve Hygiene Measures
In tandem with social distancing, good hygiene is imperative to stopping the spread of Covid-19. Make sure your employees have ample access to hand sanitizer, clean water and soap or both, in both the office and onsite. Post reminders on how to wash your hands appropriately and to refrain from shaking hands or touching your mask or face. Implement more thorough cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing measures in the office and onsite. Train employees to keep their workstations sanitized and make sure all CDC hygiene guidelines are being followed.
8. Prepare for the Future
The effects of the pandemic will be felt for some time. You must continue utilizing pandemic protocols such as hygiene measures and social distancing even after vaccinations have become widespread. It's vital you continue to assess and evaluate the situation as it evolves and make contingency plans for outbreaks and economic hardship.
All of these strategies can be incredibly helpful in keeping employees safe and preventing your company from becoming a Covid-19 hotspot.