For the moment, social distancing seems to be the order of the day. While you can still do work, your contracting business needs to be accomplishing as much as possible. But trying to do that while you stay six feet apart from everyone else and avoid touching things feels impossible. Here are five things you can do to keep your workplace and jobsite safer, with a few concerns to note along the way.
Ensure Access to Sanitizing Implements
When you’re working on a job site, things tend to be a bit rougher than they might be inside a workshop or office. Instead of standard bathrooms, you might be dealing with portable toilets. However, this is one of the most important times to make sure that everybody has an opportunity to wash their hands and to keep the place sanitary. Your health literally depends on it. If the site where you are working doesn’t already have these tools, bring them in. Request additional assistance from clients if necessary.
Structure Tasks for Maximum Distance
Depending on the type of work that you do, you might have several employees working at various points on the job site. Or you might have two or three people working head-to-head. If you’re in the former category, keeping a minimum distance of 6 feet might be easy. If you’re in the latter, you may need to rethink your workflow. The reason for social distancing is that if someone coughs or sneezes, the droplets can only go so far. Ensuring a safe distance between workers minimizes the chance of contact.
Clean Each Station Between Tasks
Outside of industries like healthcare where absolute cleanliness is vital, most employees may not be accustomed to cleaning the area where they were just working. To understand the importance of cleaning stations, tools, and reusable protective gear, imagine that you’re just about to follow someone at the gym. When a person is done using a particular piece of equipment at the gym, it is a standard practice to wipe down everything that they may have touched. That’s mostly to keep the equipment from getting gross, but you can see how it applies to keeping your workplace sanitary. Providing anti-microbial wipes or sprays in various places will make it easier for people to clean up when they are done with a task.
Encourage Practical Use of PPE
Many industries have diverted significant numbers of supplies of personal protective equipment to the healthcare sector. This is because there has been a dramatic shortage of PPE like:
- N95 masks
- Sterile gloves
- Protective gear to limit contact with eyes
Even if you don’t think you or any of your employees have contracted COVID-19, you may not necessarily be able to assume that nobody could. The virus has an incubation period of 7-14 days, which means that somebody may have it for up to two weeks before they see any symptoms. This doesn’t mean that everybody needs to suit up like a hazmat expert before they start work for the day, but maintaining a reasonable commitment to regular cleaning and the use of PPE as needed can minimize transmission.
Implement a Sickness Protocol
If you haven’t already significantly changed your standards for how to handle a worker who is obviously sick, now is the time. The last thing that you want is to have an employee infected with COVID-19 coming to work because they feel like they have no recourse. Take a moment to examine new federal policies concerning paid leave for workers who have COVID-19. And then make sure that everybody on your team understands that they need to stay home when they are sick.
While construction remains an essential service for the state of California, you may need to continue going to the jobsite and finishing projects as needed. Taking this advice can help you minimize your risk. For more information about building a safe contracting business, visit CSLS today!