With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the closure of innumerable industries, and many people now having to work remotely, construction sites across the country continue to operate. While the government has released guidance on social distancing measures for those in the construction industry, following the rules will be difficult, and the potential threat to construction workers’ health will likely be ever-present for the foreseeable future.
During this uncertain time, health and safety management will be critical, and the sector will need to work together to deal with the physical and mental health difficulties many will endure. To help, here are a few tips on how construction workers can stay safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Limit Close Contact
The first step to staying safe as a construction worker during the coronavirus pandemic is by limiting close contact with others. To do this effectively, you should maintain a distance of 6 feet or more, when possible. To limit close contact, there needs to be a reduction of workers in areas such as spaces under construction.
Wear Cloth Face Coverings
If you are working in a public setting, it’s recommended by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) that you wear a cloth face covering. If you have difficulty adhering to social distancing measures, a cloth face covering may be able to prevent those who don’t know they have the virus from infecting others. Remember, cloth face coverings are not respirators or surgical masks, and are not suitable replacements for them in a workplace where they are required or recommended.
Clean and Disinfect
If you frequently touch surfaces and use shared tools, vehicles, machines, and other equipment, it’s vital that you clean and disinfect throughout the working day. It’s advised to clean and disinfect at the beginning of your shift and at the end. If anyone else has used your tools, vehicle, or workstation, they will need to follow suit in keeping everyone safe on the construction site.
Practice Proper Hygiene
One of the most important control measures is to practice proper hand hygiene at work. When following appropriate hand hygiene, this will add extra protection and mean you will not have to wear gloves. When you can, make sure that you regularly wash your hands with hot water and soap for roughly 20 seconds or more, or use a hand sanitizer that contains 60% alcohol at a minimum. There are portable hand sanitation devices that can be bought and used by construction workers on site.
Follow CDC Recommended Steps
If you feel ill at any time, it’s important that you follow the steps laid out by the CDC, and not return to work until you have isolated at home for the recommended amount of time. Make sure that you notify your supervisor beforehand and only return to work when you feel fit and well.
Research has shown that the COVID-19 virus can be spread from those who aren’t showing symptoms. As a construction worker, it’s vital that you follow the above precautionary measures to ensure you stay safe and protected at work.