Despite the number of COVID cases decreasing, construction sites still need to be mindful of the risks surrounding spreading the virus. A Coronavirus outbreak at a site can lead to major manpower shortages, project delays and cost blowouts – something no manager wants or needs. With the possibility of more lockdowns in future, it’s essential to manage this very real risk. Complete Scaffold Solutions have put together some points to consider for your sites to keep workers safe and projects on schedule.
Keep Personal Contact to a Minimum
The very first consideration is looking at who really needs to be on site. By keeping the number of staff at your sites to an absolute minimum where possible, the risks of the virus spreading can be reduced and controlled. Staggering work if possible across the week and only operating at full capacity when absolutely necessary is an option. This allows you to monitor your infection control procedures and safety systems to manage risks.
As far as practical, it’s also important to keep teams of workers as small as possible. This is known as cohorting and can be an effective method of preventing COVID outbreaks. For example, keeping scaffolding or vehicle crews working together instead of having crew members work across different shifts. This can also be implemented by dividing your sites into designated work zones using ground markings and signs. This clearly communicates areas to workers and is effective in restricting them to one section throughout the day. This physical separation can keep infections down to the lowest levels possible. Finally, you may consider reducing job and equipment rotation. By having workers focuses on a single task each day, contact between staff will be decreased along with the Coronavirus risks at your site.
Maintaining Social Distancing
One of the most important considerations in preventing the spread of the virus is implementing social distancing rules. By requiring all employees and contractors to maintain at least 1.5 metres physical distance from one another at all times whilst on site, infections can be reduced. Social distancing can be communicated clearly around the building by using signage and floor markings. Morning toolbox talks are also an important opportunity to raise this topic.
If it is not possible to practice social distancing in full for a particular construction activity, it should be reviewed to see if it is a mission critical task. If the job must be done, try to mitigate the risks as much as possible to reduce the risk of virus transmission. For example, this may include providing workers with face shields or face masks or asking that they work facing away from one another or side by side rather than face to face.
Implement COVID Hygiene Protocols
Staff should also be instructed to wash their hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. The site manager or foreman should facilitate this by providing appropriate workplace sanitation products such as hand sanitizer. Your workers also need to be encouraged to wash their hands before getting into enclosed machinery, such as excavators, and each time they get out. Your site manager may like to consider adding pop-up handwashing stations as well as providing soap and hand sanitiser.
Besides practicing safe personal hygiene, your foremen on your construction sites need to be increasingly conscientious of the overall on-site cleanliness. This includes regularly wiping down surfaces with disinfectant, especially high touchpoints such as door handles and buttons. Additionally, equipment and tools workers use should be disinfected between use.
Other Construction COVID Safety Tips
Some other COVID-19 safety measures that you could implement on your sites include:
• Placing a strict ban on sharing PPE, including hi-vis gear. Also encourage site visitors to bring their own PPE rather than borrow yours
• Reducing onsite movement through reducing non-essential trips
• Introducing one-way systems where possible
• Staggering smokos to avoid a large number of people gathering in break areas at one time
• Holding meetings and toolbox talks outside or in well-ventilated areas
These the key COVID safety measures for construction sites that you may like to consider applying in your workplaces.
Contact Complete Scaffold Solutions
With all that said, you’ll still need solid scaffolding for your site. The best scaffolding company is Complete Scaffold Solutions. We manufacture our own brand of proprietary Australian made scaffolding for sale and hire nationally. Whether you need aluminium scaffold or custom swing stage design and hire, our team of construction professionals can help. Please give us a call for all you scaffold hire and scaffolding sales requirements today on 1300 266 777.