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March 2020

COVID-19 Construction Jobsite Considerations & Safety Suggestions

March 31, 2020

In light of the CISA update that includes Construction as part of the country’s essential infrastructure activities, contractors must be wary and ensure that they are implementing all necessary safety measures on their construction jobsites.

Given that construction projects around the United States are continuing and most contractors and construction workers are exempted from “shelter-in-place” and “stay-at-home” orders, all parties involved in the construction process should continue to be vigilant and do their best to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. The following are some recommendations and tips that should be employed to assist in the effort to ensuring safety on the construction jobsite.

Overall Project Planning and Management

  • Implement and communicate your safety and jobsite management plan.
  • Minimize project staffing to the extent possible.
  • Require all personnel displaying flu-like or who have come in contact with someone who has COVID-19 to stay home.
  • Ensure that proper social distancing measures are implemented and post appropriate signage with instructions. For example, it may be appropriate to limit elevator occupancy to two (or fewer) individuals depending on the square footage.
  • Require all personnel to wear appropriate PPE (protective personnel equipment), such as gloves and masks.
  • Set-up additional hand washing stations on project sites.
  • Encourage all personnel to wash hands with soap and hot water frequently for a minimum of 20 seconds each time.
  • Perform daily environmental cleaning, such as sanitizing common surfaces, including workstations, countertops and doorknobs, provide disposable wipes.
  • Perform daily sanitization of small, handheld tools.
  • Avoid having any outside lunch vendors on the jobsite.
  • When required to travel in vehicles, if more than one person is required, try to keep to only one passenger and sit in the back seat on passenger side.
  • Implement a Daily Crew Assessment that includes checking on health to ensure ill workers are not reporting to work.
  • Use shoe sanitation (non-bleach sanitizer solution) prior to entering the jobsite if possible.
  • Do not use a common water cooler.
  • Encourage workers to bring their own water.
  • Identify specific locations and practices for daily trash including for paper, towels, food, boxes, containers, etc.
  • If possible, utilize disposable gloves; wash hands after removing.

Personal Responsibility

  • Stay Home When You Are Sick
    • It is important that if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19 – fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, as well as tiredness, aches, runny nose, sore throat -- that you notify your supervisor immediately.
  • If any employee or worker appears to be sick, he or she should be reported to management immediately. That individual should be asked to remain home until they are symptom-free and/or released by a doctor.
  • Workers should also stay at home of they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. If you notice that a fellow worker is experience these symptoms – report it!
  • Wash Your Hands
    • Be sure to wash your hands frequently, especially after using the restroom, before and after eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • Be sure to use soap and water for at least 20 seconds and use disposable towels to dry your hands.
    • If hand washing with soap and water is not feasible, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol.

On the Jobsite

  • Practice Staged Working
  • For tailgate meetings:
    • Meet outdoors/in large, open areas
    • Avoid clipboards or pens for check-in; each worker to use his or her own pen.
    • Implement an app/web-based system if possible.
  • Perform meetings in shifts when possible, keeping the same group of workers together to limit exposures.
  • If on site, maintain a minimum of 6 feet distance between other people.
  • Do not eat lunch or take breaks indoors with other people – try to remain outdoors and maintain a 6 foot distance from others.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a Kleenex or on the inside of your elbow.
  • No hand-shaking, fist bumping, or other physical social greetings.
  • Use walkie-talkies or other communication tools to facilitate remote engagement.
  • Keep the Jobsite Clean
    • Ensure you are properly using PPE. Do not share PPE if possible. Sanitize any reusable PPE.
    • Wipe down common areas including office desks, tools, and doorknobs.
    • Sanitize all tools and equipment.
    • Tools
    • Water coolers or water bottles
    • Hand towels at hand washing stations
    • Food/Lunches
    • Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

After the Jobsite

  • When you leave the jobsite, be mindful of tracking pathogens into the home.
    • Remove shoes and handle clothing carefully.
    • Do not shake out work clothes.
    • Wash work clothes separately in warm water with a sanitizing detergent.

Of course, decisions involving the jobsite are not always black and white, if you have further questions about how to handle a particular situation involving COVID-19, please contact Gordon & Rees’ COVID-19 Task Force. We are closely monitoring daily developments involving the construction industry and stand ready to assist clients with their questions and concerns.

Visit our COVID-19 Hub for ongoing updates.


Brian J. Comarda