The measures taken as a result of the health crisis caused by the COVID-19 crisis did not impose a halt to activity in the construction sector, but the fact is that many works were halted or their activity drastically reduced due to the difficulty of the agents involved in establishing health and safety measures that would guarantee the health of all the people involved in the building process.
This decrease in construction activity was increased by the measures taken by the authorities to reduce the mobility of the population in the context of the fight against COVID-19. The impossibility for employees to go to the construction sites resulted in the temporary suspension of activity on most of the sites that were still open.
In view of a possible opening of construction works to try to cope with the health crisis caused by COVID-19 in the construction sector, a number of recommendations have been made to support action on health and safety at construction sites.
Recommended preventive measures on construction sites in the wake of the health crisis caused by COVID-19
The builder must take into account in each of his construction works the recommendations that will be applicable to his workers, subcontractors and all those companies and/or persons who access the work site. All of this is without prejudice to the fact that, if necessary, they will be individualized and adapted to the reality of the specific work, given that some measures depend fundamentally on the characteristics of the work spaces, the planning of tasks that they have at that moment or the means that the center has at its disposal. This individualization and adaptation to the specific work may be formalized by the builder by means of an action protocol or an annex that modifies, completes and perfects the Health and Safety Plan of the work.
Each company must work to achieve compliance with preventive measures in order to prevent workers from being infected by the SARS-COV-2 virus.
Companies must guarantee the protection of all workers. Companies must guarantee the protection of all workers. They must try to minimize the number of different trades and favor individualized work, provided that the health and safety measures allow it, reducing work and rectifying the program, establishing staggered work shifts to reduce the number of workers in the installations, as well as implementing the continuous working day, avoiding concentration in the changing rooms and toilets, canteens or meal times on site.
It is recommended that the company install information panels at various points on the site with the basic recommendations for preventing the spread of the coronavirus. Also, the company will inform the workers about the content of the protocol of action before the resumption of the works.
The site will have an area equipped with water, soap and blotting paper for hand washing and/or hydroalcoholic solution for disinfection (whenever available). Waste containers will be provided and will also be available as reinforcements in certain areas of the site to avoid long journeys to the toilets.
The frequency of cleaning and disinfection of offices, toilets, changing rooms, meeting rooms and all those where workers are not wearing the required gloves must be increased to at least once a day. Cleaning shall also be carried out on manual work tools, work equipment, materials and scaffolding that are shared. After the change of user, cleaning shall also be carried out on the manual work tools that are shared.
There will be a daily record in which the name, identification document, company and date of entry of the people who access the work will be noted, including control of visits. Each company will designate a daily manager who will manage its own register, and must remain on the site at the disposal of the workers. This information shall be made available to the health authorities, the health and safety coordinator, the developer and the relevant prevention services in the event of contagion. Each company shall be responsible for complying with the regulations on personal data applicable to the aforementioned records.
When it is known that in the workplace a worker who lives or has lived with a person who has contracted the coronavirus infection or who has been preventively isolated, develops symptoms or has been infected with the virus, the company must notify the relevant authorities.
Companies shall have an approved non-contact thermometer that allows for remote temperature measurement available to workers in the first aid kit.
Tasks should be organized in such a way that supplies of material and/or support are punctual and, as far as possible, in time slots that allow safety distances to be maintained, as warned by the Health Authority.
Shift planning should be in place to avoid crowding. Workers shall be informed of the prohibition of sharing eating or drinking utensils and equipment, among others.
The personnel must use in a continuous way the personal protection equipment, including the pertinent equipment for the prevention of the COVID-19 infection.
All of this meassures are important to fight back the health crisis caused by COVID-19.