Tips on Managing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Construction Industry

Posted by on May 12, 2020 1:30:10 PM
construction site from overhead active but impacted by covid-19

There is no denying how much the global COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all industries, the construction sector included.

With governments issuing stay-at-home orders and shutting down countless businesses, the disease brought about by the newest strain of the coronavirus continues to have a massive impact on economic activity on a worldwide scale.

Aside from the shutdowns, players in the construction sector are also weighed down by other concerns such as the validity and effectiveness of existing construction insurance policies.

Still, when compared to other industries, the construction sector has found itself in a somewhat better position, with all US states declaring that construction projects focusing on public infrastructure and related to COVID-19 relief efforts are essential, and, therefore, should continue.

The continuation of essential construction projects, however, comes with the condition that they all should put measures in place that will help manage the impact of COVID-19. Here are some tips that will help those in the construction industry do just that.

Strict Implementation of Social Distancing and Sanitation Measures

If there’s a phrase that the COVID-19 pandemic has burned deep into the public consciousness, it would have to be “social distancing.” From all indications, it now seems that avoiding physical contact with others and staying six feet away from the next person has become the new normal.

That said, construction sites must implement social distancing measures as strictly as possible. Those running projects should set up work schedules in a way that will keep the number of people in a construction site down. With fewer people working at any given time, there will be more space for everyone, which should make observing social distancing protocols a bit easier.

All construction sites must also have sanitation stations and wash areas at strategic points throughout. If it’s possible for workers not to share equipment or tools, then that would be great. If not, then make it a point to remind the workers concerned to disinfect tools before and after using them. Provide them with alcohol wipes as well as instructions on how to clean their tools thoroughly.

Wearing masks over their nose and mouth while on the job can be optional, especially if workers are following social distancing rules strictly. However, in situations where it’s not possible for two or more workers to stay six feet or more away from each other, all workers involved should wear face masks at the very least.

Monitor Compliance With Measures

As mentioned above, all social distancing and sanitation measures must be implemented strictly. To do that, people running a construction site must assign personnel to help monitor compliance among workers.

On top of tasks like performing temperature checks using non-contact thermometers, members of the monitoring team may also be expected to document any safety or health-related issue that may arise. They can also periodically remind other workers to follow social distancing and sanitation measures at all times while on-site. After all, everyone on site is only human and can be prone to forget the rules that were set for the project.

Come Up With A Response Plan

COVID-19 is proving to be a highly-communicable disease, and the risk of any construction worker onsite falling ill due to the coronavirus is ever-present.

All construction sites must have a response plan in place in the event a worker exhibits symptoms while on site. Make sure, however, that when you send that worker home to self-quarantine or maybe even to seek immediate medical care, you do it in such a way that won’t seem discriminatory or retaliatory. After all, your worker has rights, and it’s your duty to uphold them in any situation.

Draft a response plan with your HR, safety officers, and even the company legal counsel to make sure everything is above board and fair.

Keep Everyone Informed

The COVID-19 pandemic is unfamiliar territory for just about everyone on the planet. Even experts are still pretty much in the dark, and whatever we know about the virus now could no longer be true a short time later.

Considering how critical information is in the time of coronavirus, it is your duty to provide everyone involved with updates about the pandemic, the social distancing measures in place, and the status of the construction project itself. As the pandemic rages on, it’s essential to communicate with stakeholders, suppliers, and workers regularly.

So, while your construction project is still allowed to operate, see to it that you provide everyone at the worksite the safest working environment possible amid the COVID-19 threat. Aside from the tips mentioned above, you can also refer to guidelines issued by government agencies to ensure the safety of everyone involved in your construction project. With everyone’s utmost cooperation, the construction industry should be able to manage the impact of COVID-19 well enough.


About the Author

Rachel Porter is the content specialist for Custom Contractors Insurance, LLC, an Arizona roofing and contractors insurance company. When not writing, she enjoys reading and mountain biking with her friends.

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Topics: Construction, Compliance, Safety