An Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) has always been standard procedure at construction worksites. No job sites wants to be plagued by worker injury and illness. It’s costly to both the client and the builder. In response to COVID-19, Los Angeles area commercial contractors H.W. Holmes, Inc. understand the importance of keeping its job sites safe from a viral spread. In this blog post, we’re going to break down exactly what we’re doing to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19 in adherence to state mandates for most California workplaces.
Training Employees About COVID-19
We feel it’s vital for all of our employees to understand exactly what COVID-19 is separate from any news media or political hyperbole. This is why we provide employees with consistently updated COVID-19 related information per the CDC. Particularly how the virus is spread, prevention recommendations, and how to recognize symptoms.
Increased Cleaning and Disinfection
All of our employees understand the importance of frequent hand-washing with soap and water and do so for at least 20 seconds before and after their work shift and when they eat, use the toilet, interact with any other person, come in contact with shared surfaces, equipment, or tools, before and after wearing masks or gloves, and after blowing their nose, sneezing, or coughing.
Hand sanitizers with an ethyl alcohol content of at least 60% can also be used in the interim if hands cannot be washed.
We’ve also established procedures to routinely clean and disinfect shared power tools or any commonly touched surfaces in our trucks or at our office. Any shared tools or equipment gets wiped-down with alcohol-based wipes before and after use.
Mandatory Use of Face Masks
Regardless of our individual beliefs on this subject, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) requires the use of cloth face masks. We do this understanding that this covering isn’t personal protective equipment (PPE). It offers little to minimal protection to the person wearing it. These coverings protect the people near us, not us, and don’t replace any need to physically distance or frequent washing of the hands.
When it comes to N95 respirator use, employees are encouraged to limit their use through engineering and work practice controls like water delivery and dust collection systems designed to minimize the production of and exposure to dust.
Keep a Personal Space of at Least Six Feet
Physical distancing is an infection control measure intended to slow down or altogether stop the spread on an airborne virus. Our crew avoids physical contact with others and adhere to a personal space of at least six feet whenever possible. Nobody outside of our crew are allowed in our trucks or in work-site trailers.
Breaks are staggered so there aren’t too many workers grouped together at any one time. Ideally employees are spread out during these breaks. This includes sitting at least 6 feet apart on break or when standing in line at food trucks, restrooms, or while working. Any place where workers might be forced to stand together in close proximity – hallways, hoists, buses, trucks, or work trailers are controlled by the on-site supervisor to ensure physical distancing is adhered to.
Depending on the size and scope of the project, crew sizes might also be staggered with employees divided into dedicated shifts. This also ensures work stays on schedule if one of the divided groups is required to quarantine.
There are additional on-site precautions taken like no sign-in sheets or mobile devices being passed around.
Keeping Others Safe
Needless to say, there are unique COVID-19 exposure hazards when our construction crew works in occupied residential homes, office buildings, or other establishments. This is why our crew is diligent about sanitizing work areas when they arrive on-site and will continue this sanitation throughout the workday and then again prior to leaving. This is done with the alcohol-based wipes we provide them.
Additionally, we ask that our employees keep a personal space of six feet from other occupants.
We encourage daily temperature checks among our crew and any employee running a temperature or not feeling well with flu-like symptoms is either sent home or advised to not come to work. They are advised to not return until they’ve self-quarantined for 14 days. They should wait 10 full days since their symptoms first presented and at least three days without a fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications) or without respiratory symptoms.
Employees should also notify us immediately if any family member at home is ill or they’ve knowingly been exposed to someone that tested positive for COVID-19.
HAVE A LOS ANGELES AREA RESIDENTIAL OR COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION PROJECT YOU’D LIKE TO DISCUSS?
H.W. Holmes, Inc. is a Los Angeles area residential home builder and commercial construction company open and ready to work. We follow all CDC recommendations and consider the health and safety of our employees and customers our highest priority. Let’s discuss your project today!