As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep the globe, business operations are put on a halt. The construction industry anticipates huge losses this year from site closures, work restrictions, and sick workers. As we are several months into the pandemic, governments all around the world have allowed few construction sectors like road, rail, school buildings, rural development, etc., to resume work.
Construction industry workers who cannot work from home are encouraged to return to work under strict SOPs. If your business fails to follow required safety procedures at construction sites, you may be forced to shut down by the local authorities.
Ways to Manage Construction Sites During and After COVID-19 Crisis
As the construction industry is slowly resuming work, it is essential for construction businesses to protect the health of their employees by implementing various site procedures to decrease the spread of COVID-19.
The following are the essential ways to maintain active construction sites and protect your work and employees.
Site Safety and Security
In regards to your site safety and security, you need to follow the following measures:
- Practice Social Distancing:
Continuously monitor the construction site to ensure that workers are following social distancing guidelines. It would be best if you also guided your suppliers to remain inside their vehicles when bringing in the materials to reduce physical contact between employees.
- Reduce Site Traffic:
Prohibit entry from multiple access points to limit physical contact and avoid congestion. To ensure this, you might need to introduce working hour shifts so workers can alternate between each other to restrict the number of people in attendance at one time.
- Prioritize Sanitation:
Make sure employees are wearing gloves and masks. Ensure a routine cleaning of materials and equipment and make it mandatory for workers to wash and sanitize their hands before leaving the site.
Businesses are required to provide their employees with a means of heating food and preparing hot beverages like coffee. But these special circumstances call for the removal of all such things because you cannot keep utensils sanitized at all times.
Advise you, employees, to bring their own water bottles and pre-prepared meals to limit human contact. If you have to provide food, make sure only a limited number of people can eat at the same time, and eating areas should be cleaned after each shift.
During the pandemic, construction companies need to follow SOPs. It also includes welfare facilities. Ensure you meet the following safety standards when it comes to the welfare facilities at your construction site:
- Toilet Facilities:
Limit the number of workers permitted to use the toilet facility at the same time. Ensure that toilets are cleaned timely, focusing on door handles, locks, toilet flushes, etc.
- Changing Facilities:
Similar to toilet facilities, changing facilities like showers and locker rooms should be sanitized routinely. Try to restrict the number of workers using the facility at one time. Consider increasing the number of facilities to minimize physical contact between the employees as much as possible.
Travel to the Construction Site
It is advised to restrict movement to and from the construction site and offices, but if necessary, encourage your employees to travel alone, using their personal transport. If your employees use public transport, then they should consider cycling or walking if the travel distance is feasible.
If travel distance is considerably long, then make sure to arrange transportation for your employees, so they can safely be transported to the construction site. On-site, make sure to have suitable arrangements for parking cars that limit the physical contact between staff.
Review Risk Insurance Policies
Even though construction work is slowly starting to resume, there is still a great deal of risk associated with construction work. You never know when the government places a new lockdown if things go sideways. Therefore, you MUST review contractual details and insurance policies to protect your business against the worst.
Construction Business owners MUST consult a delay expert to review contractual policies like force majeure clause protecting them against such delays and site shutdowns. Make sure you understand and perform specific reporting obligations to your insurer to safeguard insurance in case of property damage or construction loss.
Review your construction insurance contract for specific clauses that deal with stoppage or termination of work to see the extent of coverage.
Support Your Construction Business Now!
Health authorities around the world and the World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed concerns over the fact that the pandemic and its effects may drag on for this whole year of 2020, if not worst. Hence, it is recommended that business owners should consult construction management companies and support their businesses to start work in a sustainable manner.
These are some of the ways to manage active construction sites during the crisis and making sure your business continues during such times.