By Kyle Schwarm, ABC of Wisconsin Marketing & Communications Director
While construction has had its share of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin, the industry has not been hit as hard as some other essential sectors, such as the food industry. Limiting exposures is up to contractors and the protocols they have put in place to prevent exposure to the virus, according to Don Moen, ABC of Wisconsin Director of Human Resources and Safety. Moen said ABC members are doing their part to keep COVID-19 from spreading.
“For the job sites that have been following the safety procedures — put in place by the CDC since the beginning of the virus — they have seemed to do well,” said Moen.
Moen reminds contractors of the types of safety rules every contractor should be putting into place, including:
- Temperature screening before individuals enter the job site
- Wash stations and sanitizer must be provided on site; procedures for cleaning common areas must be followed
- Safety meetings and toolbox talks should be done by phone or through web conferencing
- If toolbox talks are conducted on site, they should be done in small numbers in a large area outside to maintain six foot spacing
- Employees should maintain distancing of six feet and avoid physical contact with others; spread out during breaks
- In situations where social distancing is not possible, masks should be worn by individuals
- Employees should not share tools and equipment that must be shared should be sanitized before and after use
- Employees should not ride share to jobsites
- Water coolers and jugs should not be shared
Moen believes many of the new procedures contractors are putting in place will remain after the pandemic.
“I think as we look at the future, some of the changes we’re going to see is a more sanitized job site,” he said. “I think that’s going to continue; cleaning things down, washing areas and tools, things like that.”
Employees are feeling safer, thanks to these additional safety protocols, which can be good and bad, depending on the perspective of the employee. Some employees may get a false sense of security. Moen says that makes communication with employees more important than ever.
“You need to communicate about what you’re doing on the jobsite, why you’re doing it,” Moen said. “Tell them that they have to follow the rules.”