Experts believe that while the first wave of COVID-19 is starting to ebb in many regions, the threat may be around for much longer. If you are headed back to the jobsite, you should know that the virus is still a concern, and not just because people are afraid of contracting it. Here are several ways you can assess your jobsite’s risk and plan to minimize them.
Watch for Regional Spikes in Cases
The number of COVID-19 cases in your local area is most likely to serve as an indicator of what you can expect for yourself and your business. Since you’ve probably been watching this information for months, it’s tempting to let your research fall to the wayside under the assumption that you’ll hear about it if there’s a significant spike in cases. However, the way that people have been inundated with information about COVID-19 may make it easier to tune out such news. Set a reminder to take a look at the numbers of new cases in your area at least once a week. Pay attention to other figures like the number of people who were tested. This will help you determine if a major resurgence is on its way.
Look at the Most Likely Areas for Transmission
There are certain areas of each jobsite where people are more likely to congregate. They typically center around access points, break areas and practical facilities. In some cases, you can set limits on the number of people who can be there at any given time. However, the last thing that you want to do is to start micromanaging people’s use of the bathroom. If you cannot reasonably control who is in a particular space at a particular moment, then you may want to increase the number of facilities or increase the level of sanitation. For example, if you find that there seems to be a long line at a particular handwashing station, you can add a second one several feet away. This will cut down on wasted time and minimize social contact.
Identify Busiest Times in the Schedule
Staggering work times may be one of the best ways to manage risk. This doesn’t mean that you have to have people working onsite 24 hours a day. Staggering the times that people begin and end their shifts by as little as 30-60 minutes may dramatically decrease the risk of transmission, if you can otherwise minimize contact throughout the workday. Make sure that everyone on the jobsite understands the guidelines and can commit to following them. If you’re trying to stagger lunch breaks but workers don’t comply, you still have a higher risk situation.
Avoid Dismissing Reports of Illness
By this point, you have probably seen or interacted with dozens of people who told you that some obvious symptoms they have is an indicator of another illness. For example, you might have someone say that they are sick, but it is just allergies or a cold. Since COVID-19 symptoms can present differently among people, and it’s not always easy to figure out the cause, this may be an indicator for further investigation. Above all, try to avoid developing a habit of encouraging employees to dismiss mild illness. Many cases of COVID-19 have had minor symptoms. This means that someone who does not appear to be particularly ill could possibly make others very ill.
Make a Plan for Necessary Site Visitors
As a business owner, it’s not reasonable to dictate what people do while they are not working. You can make recommendations about what workers can do for their own safety and out of their colleagues. You can also set rules for the types of visitors who are allowed at the jobsite and how they must conduct a visit. For example, you may need to hire inspectors throughout a particular project to ensure that the work meets certain guidelines. When they arrive, you can request that they follow OSHA guidelines to minimize transmission of diseases. This may include things like wearing personal protective equipment or washing their hands when they arrive.
Managing risk is just another day as a contracting business owner. To start building your business, visit CSLS today!