Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc.

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COVID-19 Response: Industry Worksite Adaptations

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Content Courtesy of The San Diego Home Building Industry:

In this time of crisis, residential construction is essential to providing shelter for American families.  Critically, over 40,000 new homes are scheduled to be delivered in the next sixty days. Residential  construction is also a pillar of the American economy, providing employment for millions of U.S.  workers. This is why residential construction has been identified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) as an essential service industry  during the nation's COVID-19 response

In today's unique environment, the challenge is delivering critically needed new housing while  minimizing the health risk to our workforce. That workforce includes builders, suppliers, tradesmen  and subcontractors. We recognize that during the current crisis, additional safety procedures are  needed to protect our workforce. 

Residential construction, because of its inherent open-space workplaces, construction task  decentralization, and staggered scheduling processes has been able to quickly adapt to the challenges  presented by COVID 19. We are working with our trade partners and subcontractors, are in the  process of implementing a number of key provisional jobsite practices to promote social distancing  and help limit the potential for transmission of COVID-19. We are seeking to institute these practices  in addition to our ongoing commitment to comply with all federal, state, and local health and safety  requirements and ordinances, as well as special COVID-related recommendations made by OSHA.  

1. Instructing all workers to regularly and thoroughly wash hands with soap and water or use
alcohol-based hand sanitizers while on job sites.

2. Posting CDC guidelines for hygiene in both English and Spanish, together with any locally
required signage, in conspicuous locations on all construction sites.

3. Recommending along with our trade partners and subcontractors that all workers perform a
daily health assessment before leaving their home in the morning. If they have a fever, or are
exhibiting any other COVID-19 symptoms, or other symptoms of sickness, or if they are in a
high risk category, are required or advised to stay home, or have immediate or close family
members who are sick, they should stay at home, notify their manager/employer and follow
CDC guidelines.

4. Requiring that any worker who displays symptoms of COVID or other illness to leave jobsites
immediately, with notification given to the worker's appropriate management team.

5. Requiring that all workers on a jobsite, maintain a 6-foot distance between one another
whenever possible. Social distancing should also be maintained during all work breaks.
Workers who fail to maintain 6-foot social distancing are subject to reprimand by their
appropriate builder, trade partner, or subcontractor employer.

6. Having an on-site company supervisor who will coordinate and manage the COVID-19
response practices on each jobsite and perform regular jobsite inspections.

7. Recommending, in cooperation with our trade partners and subcontractors, that workers on
the jobsite not share equipment or tools except in instances where tools must be used by
more than one worker. Recommending that workers give special consideration to sanitizing
tools before being shared between workers.

8. Continuing to require usage of PPE when appropriate to job tasks, along with encouraging
the use of supplemental equipment, such as nitrile or latex gloves, when available.
Encouraging trade partners and subcontractors to provide supplemental PPE to their own
direct employees.

9. Staggering or otherwise altering the scheduling of trade partners to minimize the number of
trade teams working at a house at a time.

10. Prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more people at any time on the jobsite, including during lunch
and other breaks. Even under normal circumstances, houses under construction do not have
more than ten people working in them at any given time.

11. Recommending that all workers bring their own water jugs or bottled water to the jobsite;
that jobsites cease providing communal drinking water coolers for the time being, and
workers avoid sharing food or personal items.

12. Managing site deliveries to limit direct contact between workers, and to minimize the overall
headcount on the jobsite.

13. Recommending that the practice of ride-sharing be discontinued until after the health crisis
has abated.

14. Cleaning and/or sanitizing shared surfaces frequently. Ensuring that portable jobsite toilets are
regularly cleaned and/or sanitized. Recommending that cleaning techniques such as those
employing pressurized air or water sprays not be used during this time in order to ensure that
those processes do not result in the generation of bio-aerosols.

15. Recommending that homes/apartments be cleared of all workers during inspections to
lessen the potential for cross-contamination between trade teams as inspectors or
officials move between work areas.

16. Conducting only emergency/selective warranty service and customer care activity on the
interior of homes.

17. Notifying builder site supervisors, COVID-response coordinators, trade partners and
subcontractors that COVID-related local and state site requirements, when different from
these workplace adaptations, will prevail on the jobsites.

18. Establishing practices to ensure proper reporting and notifications should any worker who
has been on the worksite be exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19.

19. All workers are required to follow the CDC recommendation regarding the use of cloth face
coverings, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission for the recommended
time frame.

Content continued... learn more about the worksite adaptations being put into place here.