While most organizations are offering their employees the option to work from home during the COVID-19 outbreak, this is not a viable option for the construction industry. A handful of construction-related tasks may be performed remotely, but for the most part, construction sites need the presence of their workforce to continue operating.
This pandemic is one of the most challenging times for the construction industry, which is why it’s crucial for people in the business to be aware of the liabilities they may face.
Below are some of the most common COVID 19 construction site liabilities and how to survive them.
Insurance and Financial Position
Construction companies worldwide find themselves in tricky financial situations, given the delays and hitches they have to go through because of the outbreak.
With the number of losses that they have to sustain, it’s crucial for these organizations to review and assess their insurance policies, current financial situation, and available credit lines so that they can take immediate and appropriate measures.
While many insurance policies exclude viruses in their list of covered risks, certain losses might be covered under worker’s compensation, business risk, or general liability insurance. That said, it’s also as good a time as any to increase contractor’s insurance coverage and endorse other policies that might be valuable while weathering this crisis.
As for money matters, many banks around the country are willing to work with businesses and help them stay afloat. The government also has relief measures in place to aid small and large companies alike.
Increased Employee Absences
Employee absenteeism is becoming a common problem in construction sites around the world as community quarantine and public transportation halts become widely used measures to contain the pandemic.
Nobody knows when the current health crisis is going to end, and even then, organizations will have to operate under a new normal. For now, it would be wise for construction companies to cross-train their workforce in handling other functions. It’s also the time to restructure schedules, amend sick-leave policies, and encourage employees who can be productive off-site to work from home.
Most construction sites are allowed to operate during quarantine, which is excellent for both the industry and the workforces. However, like most organizations in service these days, employees’ health and safety remain a cause of significant concern.
To protect workers, construction sites are advised to run at 50% capacity, so it’s easier for everybody to maintain physical distancing at all times. It’s on the site managers and supervisors to devise an efficient work schedule that also limits and regulates the number of people on the premises.
Aside from implementing strict round-the-clock physical distancing onsite, workers should also have access to sanitizers and handwashing stations around the location. It would be even better if everybody can wear facemasks and avoid sharing tools and equipment as much as possible.
With the ongoing delays in operations, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for construction companies to keep up with target dates and deliverables. That said, now would be the perfect time for contractors to revisit the force majeure clauses in their contract. Many projects have extendable deadlines, but others don’t.
Going forward, communication will become even more vital. With the existing supply chain issues and plenty of employees staying at home or having difficulties getting to work, delays and missed deadlines are expected. Letting the general contractor or the owner know about these issues and the possible solutions or compromises will help avoid any problems and misunderstandings in the future.
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.