Construction Work & COVID-19: How to Safely Reopen and Protect Your Crew

The construction industry faces unique challenges in returning to work and remaining open during the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically given the primarily in-person, hands-on, and team-focused nature of construction work.

Whether indoors or outdoors, all construction sites carry the risk of contamination by COVID-19, especially any job sites that are poorly ventilated or jobs that require a large number of crew members in a confined space with limited equipment. Noncompliance with any local or state mandates related to COVID-19 safety may result in further amplifying the public health emergency and halt any current or planned construction work.

How to Safely Reopen Construction Sites

To keep construction workers safe and avoid stop-work orders, construction companies must practice an increased level of diligence in keeping all tools and equipment sanitized, reducing the number of on-site workers, and enabling social distancing between construction workers despite the need for frequent collaboration.

Given the high-risk nature of construction work activities, construction firms have taken risk management frameworks and shifted that same mindset to address the health-related risks of COVID-19, providing unique solutions to adapt and manage worker health.

Our “Back to Work Safely: Guidance for Construction Environments, 2nd edition” guidance document was created in collaboration with the AIHA construction committee using the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance to provide your construction crew a clear and actionable COVID-19 safety plan.

The guide discusses a range of considerations and recommendations for construction work employers, employees, and job site visitors completing essential construction work. The goal of this guide is to help your construction team return to normal business operations while protecting construction crews, with specific guidance on:

How construction employers can protect themselves and their workers during COVID-19:

  • Information on the essential personal protective equipment that employers should provide to all construction workers
  • Suggestions for how to limit the number of jobsite crew and visitors, including how companies can use a daily visitor log for contact tracing
  • How to restructure work shifts to isolate and compartmentalize staff
  • Daily activities to monitor employees’ wellness
  • Best practices for sanitizing construction equipment and how to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 when using shared tools or equipment
  • Recommended disinfection cycles for temporary spaces like site/job trailers
  • Ways that employees can use wearable technology to monitor employee physical distancing
  • Strategies for keeping workers in their designated workspaces
  • Tips for screening and conducting temperature checks with employees
  • Why employers should develop a team of professionals to monitor, assess, and implement new COVID-19 safety strategies as they become available

How construction employees and visitors can protect themselves during COVID-19:

  • Social distancing protocols for construction workers
  • Proactive measures to monitor one’s own health and protect team members
  • What construction employees should do if they think they have been exposed to COVID-19
  • Personal protective equipment considerations for on-site construction crew members
  • Recommendations for restructuring weekly toolbox talks and all-hands meetings to ensure team safety
  • How employers can use virtual technology for project tracking to reduce visitors

Download our “Back to Work Safely: Guidance for Construction Environments, 2nd edition” guidance document today to learn more about safely reopening construction sites and resume construction work with COVID-19 considerations in mind.