Updated: Jun 23, 2020
What steps do you take when an employee becomes infected with COVID-19? The intent of this article is to give you some steps to take and provide you with additional resources.
COVID-19 has made 2020 a challenging year, especially for us in the construction industry. We understand that the responsibilities companies and safety managers have regarding jobsite safety can be confusing. What steps do you need to take on the jobsite to ensure worker well-being? Chaos and confusion may overrun the workplace if there is not a thought-out plan to return to the workplace safely.
MeritEHS, a cloud-based safety, compliance, and management software, is ready to help avoid unnecessary confusion and be an added resource of clarity and guidance. This article is a tool ready to serve your jobsite. We want to help you organize best practices and give you some steps that you can take based on guidance from the CDC, SCDHEC, NCDHHS, and OSHA. We will also show you how MeritEHS can assist you in maintaining compliance, as your employees return to the workforce.
So, what can you do if you learn your employee is infected?
Guideline 1: Air out the jobsite
Step 1: Close off any area on the jobsite that the contaminated employee used for prolonged periods of time. Most of the time you do not have to shut down the whole jobsite.
Step 2: It is recommended to wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting the contaminated areas. This is helpful in minimizing the potential for other employees to be exposed to respiratory droplets.
Step 3: During this waiting period, increase outside air circulation as much as possible. If the jobsite is outside, even better!
Since construction is under the critical infrastructure guidelines, it is not mandatory to wait a full 24 hours. However, the longer the organization waits, the better you minimize the potential exposure and contamination for other employees. For more details on airing out the jobsite visit CDC.
How MeritEHS can help
MeritEHS incident reporting feature can help you make sure proper evacuation, airing out, and cleaning of the infected jobsite take place. Click here for more information.
Guideline 2: Disinfect the jobsite
Step 1: Clean dirty or contaminated surfaces with soap and water.
Step 2: Disinfect surfaces with correct products that meet EPA criteria. Click here for more information.
Step 3: Make sure employees have proper PPE when they are cleaning with chemical products.
For more details please see CDC Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations.
How MeritEHS can help
You can easily track and document these steps by customizing our inspection forms. Schedule a demo to learn more about how our inspections work and can adapt to any standards or new regulations.
Guideline 3: Work with your employees to create a safe jobsite
According to the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, construction is considered essential in supporting critical infrastructure as of March 28, 2020. Therefore, the guidelines are different from the rules of the general public. Workers are permitted to continue working on the jobsite even if they have come in contact with someone who contracted Covid-19, provided they remain asymptomatic. However, under the guidelines, increased health procedure updates have to take place with that employee. See Guidelines below:
Step 1: Check the employee's temperature before they enter the jobsite and begin work. It is very important that you have the temperature checks documented in a central location.
Step 2: Regular monitoring of the employee should take place. Make sure you check that they do not show any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. Keep documentation to prove due diligence.
Step 3: The employee should wear a face mask at all times while in the workplace for at least 14 days after the last exposure.
Step 4: Employees should continue to maintain 6 feet apart and practice social distancing as far as work duties permit.
Step 5: Disinfect and clean all workspaces. Routinely clean, disinfect, and inspect all areas. For example porta-potties, operating vehicles, shared equipment, etc.
For more details visit CDC guidelines for Critical Infrastructure exposure.
How MeritEHS can help
MeritEHS can provide a means for making sure you are properly documenting temperature checks, wearing facemasks, and routine cleaning through our customizable safety inspection feature. Schedule a free demo to learn more.
MeritEHS is a cloud-based safety, compliance, and subcontractor management EHS solution for the construction and maintenance industry. We want to provide the best in class EHS software solution to help you get safely through COVID-19. We want you to know we are here for you. That is why we are offering our services for free for 60 days to Carolinas AGC members! This is just a small way we see that we can give back during this pandemic. Schedule a free demo today, and learn more about how we can help you in these challenging times.