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COVID-19 Updates + Prevention Measures for the Construction Industry

By July 20, 2020 Personal Insurance

As COVID-19 continues to ambush our country, we recommend staying current with the latest information on how to prevent the spread in the workplace and how to keep your employees safe. Below we’ve compiled a list of updates on COVID-19 as well as preventative measures on how to keep the workplace safe.

 

  1. Someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 is infectious for 11 days from the onset of symptoms
  2. Is spread through droplets (airborne) especially when in close contact with someone who is sick (within 6ft)
  3. Virus is viable on surfaces for 4-5 days – it is imperative to be cleaning surfaces frequently throughout the workday
  4. There is a high probability of transmission when someone is pre-symptomatic and symptomatic
  5. The transmissibility of asymptomatic people is extremely low
  6. There is a much lower chance of younger people getting COVID-19 and transmitting
  7. The probability of walking into a grocery store and getting sick is very low (about 1/400)
  8. You have a higher likelihood of contracting the disease from other household members that have become sick
    1. 16% chance that other household members will become sick
    2. 21% chance of transmitting the disease to another person in the household
    3. Where you live is the #1 predominant factor in transmission
  9. Weekly deaths in the US have dropped dramatically
  10. Age and smoking are the biggest predictors of severe disease

 

Construction has been identified as low risk sine there is less likelihood of meeting with people who are unknown and ventilation doesn’t tend to be an issue. But what can we do to help prevent the spread in the workplace?

 

  1. Employee screening – daily or periodic questionnaires and/or temperature measurements
    1. If positive, restrict employee from workplace and advise evaluation from a healthcare provider. Return to work once cleared by provider
  2. Screen subcontractors, suppliers, and visitors
  3. If someone has been in contact with an infected person, they should be evaluated by a healthcare provider especially for high risk exposures.
  4. Out of work for 14 days until assessed and released for work
  5. Sick employees should stay home – to eliminate all contact between the healthy workers and anyone with potentially infectious symptoms
    1. Should be evaluated by a healthcare provider and encouraged to undergo testing if available
  6. Social distancing
    1. Consider rotating workers between home and work settings to reduce workplace population densities
    2. Increase distance between workers, installing temporary barriers, marking 6-foot distances on the floor between co-workers
    3. Consider social spacing in the cafeteria, closing cafeterias or having workers eat their own food at their workstations
    4. Consider one-way walkways through a workplace
    5. Reorganize shifts to spatially and temporarily, spread workers
    6. Provide barriers for employees who interact with the general public
    7. Consider discouraging carpooling and mass transit
    8. Minimize reasons for external individuals and the public to enter a workplace
  7. Employees Returning to Work After COVID-19
    1. Symptom-based Approach: recommends recording temperatures 2 times per day and 3 days have passed without fever. A minimum of 10 days must have passed since the onset of symptoms
    2. Testing Based Approach: requires two negative RT-PCR viral tests obtained at least 24 hours apart and improvement in respiratory symptoms without fever. At least 10 days have passed since exposure
    3. Time-Based Approach: If positive RT-PCR test return to work 10 days after first positive COVID-19 test
  8. Disinfection Practices and Contact Spread Measures
    1. Clean commonly touched worksite surfaces frequently (hourly or between shifts), including machine controls, door handles, bathroom doors, bathroom fixtures, faucet handles, lunch tabletops, breakrooms, etc.
    2. Avoid shared equipment when possible (keyboards) and clean common surfaces between shifts or between worker usage
    3. Clean surfaces with an EP-approved viricidal agents for at least 1 minute
    4. Provide ample hand sanitizer and hand-sanitizer stations
    5. Encourage frequent hand hygiene
  9. Ventilation Issues
    1. Use local ventilation to supply clean air to a worker’s workspace
    2. Utilize increased air exchanges in the HVAC system to dilute the general ambient air including HEPA filters in the HVAC system
    3. Where possible, use portable HEPA filtration systems for small work areas

 

Texas Mutual Insurance Company. “COVID-19: Updates and prevention measures for the construction industry.” https://www.texasmutual.com/. 7/17/2020. Dr. Bernacki, Director of Health Solutions, UT Health Austin.