COVID-19 AND THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

Here's How You Can Protect Your Business
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OSHA’s COVID-19 Guidance for the Construction Industry

COVID-19 is changing how the construction industry operates on a global scale. Like other industries, construction companies are making changes to their operations to improve worker safety and compliance with regulations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is leading the way toward a safer workplace by advising the industry on different ways to adapt to COVID-19, and companies are turning to Nashville construction lawyers to find the right ways to adjust their operations. In this article, a Nashville construction lawyer discusses OSHA’s COVID-19 guidance for the construction industry.

Related: 5 Safety Measures Contractors Can Use During COVID-19

Wear Masks

OSHA’s most important and easiest to implement guideline is to wear a mask. Masks have been shown to be effective in reducing the spread of multiple illnesses, including COVID-19. While they may be uncomfortable at times and there may be things that workers need to do that do not work well with masks, there is no reason to avoid wearing masks whenever possible. The more staff members you can have in masks, the less likely anyone is to spread diseases. 

Promote Personal Hygiene

Companies can do more than prioritize mask-wearing. They can also promote personal hygiene that has been shown to be effective in fighting diseases. Washing your hands for 20 seconds is enough to kill or remove the virus from your hands. As a company, you can promote hand-washing and other forms of sanitation as a means of reducing the spread through work areas and the staff. 

One way that employers can help prevent the transmission of pathogens and contamination through their facilities is to make sure that they keep all surfaces clean and germ-free at all times. Cleaning these surfaces frequently, including cleaning the surfaces of all equipment used by all employees and cleaning the surfaces of shared tools and materials used by all employees and departments, helps to reduce the spread of disease. Frequently touched surfaces, such as desks and office tables, keyboards, wastebaskets, and office walls, should be washed daily with disinfecting agents. When cleaning these surfaces, it’s important to remember not to wipe surfaces with a moist cloth since these surfaces may contain traces of previous contamination that could still be spreading.

In addition to regularly cleaning surfaces, other methods of disinfecting surfaces commonly used in construction, HVAC, and other types of facilities include the use of specially designed disinfectants. For example, an effective method of disinfecting surfaces that are frequently shared among different individuals and departments, such as desks, workstations, and computers, is the use of biological solutions. 

These disinfectants are diluted with tap water and applied on the surfaces, such as desks and computers, to kill any potentially harmful microorganisms. In order to effectively use these disinfectants, however, it’s necessary to carefully read and follow all instructions on the bottle. The use of disinfectants like chlorhexidine and thymol are particularly effective when disinfecting surfaces that are frequently used by several people. In this circumstance, a biological solution will probably be more effective than using a traditional disinfectant.


Related: How to Keep Your Construction Site Safe During COVID-19 Concerns

Disinfect Shared Equipment

COVID-19 is often spread through contact with shared surfaces. This includes shared equipment. Any piece of equipment that is used by more than one person has the potential to spread illness. There are many surfaces in construction that are shared quickly with little thought of sterilization. Instituting policies that each person is responsible for disinfecting their equipment after each use should be sufficient in reducing the spread. 

Keep Sick Workers Home

Workers that are sick are the most likely to spread the disease. The best way to stop them from infecting others is to keep them home. While this may seem like a simple thing, there are considerations of that workers’ home situation, work needs, and other factors that can make it harder for workers to make ends meet. Companies have the greatest influence on this since they can take action to reduce the stress on sick workers and make it easy for them to stay home. 

Related: Understanding OSHA’s Reporting Guidelines for COVID-19 Infections

Be Mindful of Ongoing COVID-19 Adjustments

Although the construction industry is making changes to adapt to COVID-19 for the present, these changes may prove to be permanent depending on how they affect construction. Some of the current changes may make working in construction safer for everyone, leading to permanent changes. OSHA will continue to work toward making construction safe from a wide range of hazards, including COVID-19, for the foreseeable future. Your company should stay up to date on the new COVID-19 recommendations as OSHA makes them available. 

OSHA’s recommendations are continuously evolving, and your construction company may need to adapt regularly to keep your workers safe. Staying informed about OSHA’s regulations is the best way to ensure that you can comply with industry best practices. If you have questions about OSHA’s COVID-19 regulations, contact a Nashville OSHA defense lawyer from Cotney Construction Law.

If you would like to speak with a Nashville OSHA defense attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.