GBCA has various industry partners continually monitoring and sharing industry recommendations and best practices. The group is comprised of GBCA staff, contractors, labor leaders, health officials, and others. We are addressing issues facing our industry as they continually develop and will report to our membership regularly. Please review the following information:
Hygiene and health is key. You’ve heard it before, but frequent and thorough hand washing is the top priority. Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If soap and water is unavailable, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Don’t forget – Avoid touching your face, especially around your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Check out our Toolbox Talk for more information.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, objects, and tools using a household cleaning spray or wipe. Avoid sharing items.
Practice the good hygiene habits above. Also, cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue. Dispose of the tissue immediately and wash your hands. If no tissues are available sneeze or cough into the inside of your elbow. It’s best to always wear a face mask covering in public. Please see the CDC’s guidelines for using face coverings.
You can help stop COVID-19 by knowing the signs and symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
Seek medical advice if you develop symptoms or have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
Call your primary care physician (PCP) to determine next steps. If you do not have a PCP contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 1-877-PA-HEALTH. Also, contact your employer to let them know of your potential exposure. Finally, be prepared to quarantine for at least 14 days. Again, it is best determined by contacting a health care provider. He or she can give you tips on how to stay safe and protect those around you, as well as what red flags to look for that would indicate you need to see a doctor or nurse in person, or be moved to the hospital. Follow CDC Guidance.
STAY HOME – except to get medical care! DO NOT GO TO WORK! Avoid contact with others. If you are sick with COVID-19 symptoms, contact a medical professional. Call ahead first; do not simply go to the doctor’s office, urgent care, or hospital. If you have cold or flu like symptoms, you should isolate yourself from others for up to 14 days. Also, contact your employer to let them know of your potential exposure.
For most people, the immediate risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. Older adults and people of any age with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, lung disease, or heart disease, are at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
It is perfectly normal to have feelings of anxiety. There is an unusual amount of pressure on all of us. But remember, you are certainly not alone. Talk to a family member, a friend, or a co-worker about what you are feeling and what they are feeling. Be sure to get the phone number of your employee or member assistance program. They have trained professionals that will help you through these difficult times. Tips for Coping with the Coronavirus. If you need help coping, you can also text PA to 741-741.
Understanding the amount of information being put out and how rapidly the situation is changing can be a real challenge. You have to start by educating yourself and your employees. There is certainly no shortage of sources, but everyone agrees that the best place is the CDC Website for Coronavirus COVID-19.
Supply portable washing stations or hand sanitizers for workers. Frequent hand washing is one of the best ways to protect workers from exposure. Many projects, however, have limited access to running water. Portable stations with water containers should be placed on site to allow workers to wash their hands frequently. Portable stations can be rented from local suppliers or created by workers. In areas where portable stations are not practical, supply hand sanitizer for workers. Hand sanitizers should contain at least 60% alcohol. Download our suggestions on how to deal with working on a jobsite, as well as our health and hygiene reminders for all workers.
Separate construction workers from occupied building workers. To reduce exposure to possibly exposed or infected persons, implement procedures for minimizing contact between workers that don’t usually work together. This may be a problem for jobsites where workers are in occupied buildings. Review with workers policies to keep them safe from exposure. Some policies may include separate bathroom facilities, isolating workers lunch and break areas, and limiting interactions with building employees. Download our suggestions on how to deal with working on a jobsite, as well as our health and hygiene reminders for all workers.
Provide training and Toolbox Talks (PDF) for your workforce. Information is the key to protecting workers. Discuss with employees the hazards associated with coronavirus. Use informational bulletins circulated by the Centers for Disease Control CDC, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA (PDF), The National Safety Council NSC, and the World Health Organization WHO. Reference information from reputable sources, as some information you may find on the internet may be misleading or wrong.
Disinfect high traffic areas frequently. For areas of high use, use disinfectants to keep areas clean. This includes, but is not limited to, break areas, lunch areas, and bathroom facilities. Job trailer doors and stair rails, meeting tables, and coffee stations should all be frequently cleaned using a bleach-based cleaner. Download our suggestions on how to deal with working on a jobsite, as well as our health and hygiene reminders for all workers.
Most importantly, have those employees contact a medical professional for guidance. Next, notify everyone on the project or office, that they may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. They also should contact a medical professional for guidance. At this point, most people will need to self-quarantine for up to 14 days. With medical guidance that period may be reduced to 5-6 days. Finally, it is time to stop all work on the project until such time you are certain the original exposure did not result in a positive COVID-19 test result. You will have to trace the reporting employee’s whereabouts to determine who he or she may have come in contact with on the jobsite or even jobsites. This can be a particularly cumbersome job if the employee or another employee traveled between jobs.
The key is to determine if the illness was contracted on the job. Refer to OSHA’s website.
Some employers are asking their employees to take their temperature before coming to work. If they have a fever they are to stay home and begin self-quarantine if advised by a medical professional. Also, it is a good idea to hold a roll call each morning of your employees and your subcontractors’ employees. You should contact any worker on the project who did not report that day to find out why they are not at work.
This is certainly uncharted territory for many employees and employers. Here is some guidance one of our members has provided: Tips for Working at Home (PDF), courtesy of PJ Dick Incorporated.
Everyone needs to develop their own procedures to meet the unique needs of their situation. However, here are some general guidelines for shutting down a construction site.