Medical Partners

COVID-19 Protocols For Construction

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Fort Lauderdale Government have implemented guidelines with regards to protecting the health and safety of America's workers and workplaces during COVID-19. These are recommendations as well as descriptions of mandatory safety and health standards and are intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthy workplace.

No Wait Medical Partners focuses on the need to follow appropriate guidelines during work shifts and while at home.


Employer Responsibilities



Assess the hazards to which your workers may be exposed; evaluate the risk of exposure; and select, implement, and ensure workers use controls to prevent exposure.


1. Implement Basic Infection Prevention Measures:



  • Promote frequent and thorough hand washing, including providing workers, customers, and worksite visitors with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60% alcohol should be provided. Regular hand washing or using of alcohol-based hand rubs are necessary. Workers should always wash their hands when they are visibly soiled and after removing any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Provide resources and a work environment that promotes personal hygiene, including tissues, no-touch trash cans, hand soap, disinfectants, and disposable towels for workers to clean their work surfaces. Post hand washing signs in restrooms. Ensure clean toilet and hand washing facilities. Clean and disinfect portable job site toilets regularly. Fill hand sanitizer dispensers regularly. Disinfect frequently touched items, including door pulls and toilet seats often.


  • Respiratory etiquette should be encouraged, including the importance of covering coughs and sneezes. Workers should be permitted to wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent them from spreading the virus. Face shields may also be worn if indicated, and on top of a respirator to prevent bulk contamination of the respirator.


  • Maintain regular housekeeping practices, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, equipment, and other elements of the work environment. When tools or equipment must be shared, provide and instruct workers to use alcohol- based wipes to clean tools before and after use. When cleaning tools and equipment, workers should consult manufacturer recommendations for proper cleaning techniques and restrictions (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, PPE).


  • When choosing cleaning chemicals, employers should consult information on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved disinfectant labels from List N, or that have claims against emerging viral pathogens, or that have label claims against the coronavirus for cleaning frequently touched surfaces like tools, handles, and machines. Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19, based on data for harder to kill viruses.

Donation

2. Physical Distancing



Policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts) should be explored, to increase the physical distance among and between employees. Staggered work schedules should include providing alternating workdays or extra shifts, to reduce the total number of employees on a job site at any given time and to ensure physical distancing. Downsizing operations with a reduced workforce, including cross-training workers across different jobs in order to continue operations or deliver surge services should also be considered.


Choke points should be identified where workers are forced to stand together, such as hallways, hoists and elevators, ingress and egress points, break areas, and buses, and social distancing should be implemented in these situations. Workers should avoid physical contact with others and direct employees/contractors/visitors, and increase personal space to at least six feet where possible. Operators should be provided with appropriate respiratory protection and other necessary PPE.

Coordinate site deliveries in line with the employer's minimal contact and cleaning protocols. Delivery personnel should remain in their vehicles if at all possible.

Keep in-person meetings (including toolbox talks and safety meetings) as short as possible. Limit the number of workers in attendance and use social distancing practices. Minimize contact among workers, clients, and customers by replacing face-to-face meetings with virtual communications and implementing telework if feasible.


Building ventilation systems should be improved and a rigorous housekeeping program should be instituted to reduce dust levels on the job site.


A job hazard analysis should be conducted to help determine whether work activities require close contact (within 6 feet) between workers and customers, visitors, or other members of the public. When a job hazard analysis identifies activities with higher exposure risks, and those activities are not essential, delaying them until they can be performed safely should be considered.


Continue to use other normal control measures, including PPE, according to OSHA's standards for PPE in construction (29 CFR 1926 Subpart E), which is necessary to protect workers from other job hazards associated with construction activities, including respiratory hazards. OSHA's PPE standards (in general industry, 29 CFR 1910 Subpart I), requires using gloves, eye and face protection, and respiratory protection. It is important for PPE to be properly removed, cleaned, and stored or disposed of, as applicable, to avoid contamination of self, others, or the environment.


3. Training and Education of Staff



Provide workers with up-to-date education and training on COVID-19 risk factors and protective behaviors (e.g., cough etiquette, proper hygiene practices, and care of PPE). Employees should be encouraged to wear cloth face coverings in the workplace.


Train workers who need to use protecting clothing and equipment, and on how to put it on, use/wear it, and take it off correctly, within the context of their current and potential duties. Training material should be easy to understand and available in the appropriate language and literacy level for all workers.


Workers should be trained on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 with an explanation of how the disease is potentially spread, including the fact that infected people can spread the virus even if they do not have symptoms.


Emphasis should be placed on the need for workers to report any safety and health concerns.


COVID-19 Guidlines

Click here to view PDF



4. Screening



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that Employers conduct daily health checks, for example, symptom and/or temperature screening of employees before they enter the facility. If implementing in-person health checks, they should be conducted safely and respectfully. Employers may use social distancing, barrier or partition controls, or PPE to protect the screener. Health checks should be conducted in a way that helps maintain social distancing guidelines, such as providing multiple screening entries into the building. Employers should inform and encourage employees to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 if they suspect possible exposure. No Wait Medical Partners ensures ongoing follow-up of employees sent home who may be at risk. Confidentiality of the medical records should be maintained. To prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace, employee health screenings should be made as private as possible, and determinations of risk, should not be made based on race or country of origin.


All visitors should be screened on all construction sites in advance of their arrival on the job site for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Prompt identification and isolation of potentially infectious individuals is a critical step in protecting workers, customers, visitors, and others at a worksite. Potentially infectious people should be immediately moved to a location away from workers, customers, and other visitors. Although most worksites do not have specific isolation rooms, designated areas with doors that can close, may serve as isolation rooms until potentially sick people can be removed from the worksite. Take steps to limit spread of the respiratory secretions of a person who may have COVID-19. Provide a face mask, if feasible and available, and ask the person to wear it, if tolerated. It is important to note that a face mask (also called a surgical mask, procedure mask, or similar) on a patient or other sick person should not be confused with PPE for a worker, as the mask acts to contain potentially infectious respiratory secretions at the source (i.e., the person's nose and mouth). Restrict the number of personnel entering isolation areas. Protect workers in close contact with (i.e., within 6 feet of a sick person or who have prolonged/repeated contact with such persons by using additional engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices, and PPE.


Screening calls should be performed when scheduling indoor construction work to assess potential exposures and circumstances in the work environment, before worker entry. Prior to sending a worker to perform construction activities in an indoor environment that may be occupied by a homeowner, customer, worker, or another occupant, screening questions should be implemented. These questions can be prefaced with an explanation that they are being asked in order to protect workers and minimize the spread of COVID-19:


  • It should be determined whether the construction work at an occupied work site is essential, urgent, or emergency work. A hazard assessment should be completed to determine how to best proceed while minimizing exposure for the worker. If the work is determined to be essential, urgent or emergency work, and if there are any individuals or contractors in the occupied site who are suffering flu-like symptoms to which employees might be exposed, then follow up should be made with No Wait Medical Partners, to determine appropriate next steps.


  • If there any individuals in the occupied site who are under quarantine or isolation due to a confirmed case of COVID-19, then closed doors and walls should be used whenever feasible, as physical barriers to separate workers from any individuals experiencing signs and/or symptoms consistent with COVID-19. These individuals should remain physically separated from the worker (e.g., in a different room, on a different level of the home or building, or outside if weather and applicable emergency orders permit) and communicate remotely with the worker (e.g., by cell phone, using internet-based payment systems and electronic signatures to confirm that work was completed). Plastic sheeting barriers should be considered when workers need to occupy specific areas of an indoor work site where they are in close contact (less than 6 feet) with someone suspected of having or known to have COVID-19. Shared spaces should have good air flow, by turning on an air conditioner or opening windows, weather permitting.


COVID-19 Guidlines

Click here to view PDF


5. Absenteeism:



Employers should inform and encourage employees to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 if they suspect possible exposure.


Employees who have symptoms should notify their supervisor and be encouraged to stay home, and a note from their healthcare provider does not need to be provided in order to validate illness, or their ability to return to work. Sick leave policies should be flexible and consistent with public health guidance and with No Wait Medical Partners, and employees should be made aware of these policies. Employees should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with No Wait Medical Partners. Prompt identification and isolation of potentially infectious individuals is a critical step in protecting workers, customers, visitors, and others at a worksite.


Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and consult with No Wait Medical Partners regarding the mandatory precautions. Policies should permit employees to stay home to care for sick family members, including sick children or children who are in schools or day care centers that have been closed, or who have immunocompromised family members, and are afraid to come to work because of fear of possible exposure. Workers' concerns about pay, leave, safety, health, and other issues that may arise during infectious disease outbreaks should be addressed, and employers are encouraged to work with insurance companies (e.g., those providing employee health benefits) and state and local health agencies to provide information to workers and customers about medical care in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.


External companies that provide contract or temporary employees, should be educated on the importance that sick employees should stay home, and they should be encouraged to develop non-punitive leave policies.


6. Support for Employees



Mental health support should be provided to all workers, including access to an employee assistance program (EAP) if available. Emergency communications plans should be developed, including a forum for answering workers' concerns and internet-based communications, if feasible.


No Wait Medical Partners is available to provide psychological supports, including mental health support, and psychoeducation.


7. Contact Tracing and Tracking



No Wait Medical Partners enables safe and timely triage, antibody testing, monitoring, contact tracking and containment of suspected or confirmed COVID 19 positive employees. No Wait Medical Partners contributes to limiting exposure and risk management and enables contact tracing for suspected COVID-19 positive employees.


Guidelines for Employees



The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Fort Lauderdale Government have implemented guidelines on how employees can protect themselves and their co-workers from COVID-19. Employees are encouraged to forward any questions or concerns that they may have to No Wait Medical Partners.


Protecting Yourself and Others



  • Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or if soap and water are not immediately available, then use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and rubbing hands until they are dry. Avoid touching your face.
    COVID-19 Guidlines

    Click here to watch the video


  • Follow the proper guidelines for covering coughs and sneezing (i.e., sneezing or coughing into a tissue or into the upper sleeve). Wear a face mask at all times while in the workplace, and the mask should cover your nose and mouth. Learn how to properly put on, use/wear, and take off protective clothing and equipment.


  • Maintain 6 feet of social distancing as work duties permit, and avoid physical contact with others, including other employees, contractors, and visitors.


  • Use alternatives ways to shake hands upon entry, and it is important to not touch your face (i.e., mouth, nose, eyes).


  • Drive to work sites or parking areas individually, when possible, an avoid having passengers or carpools.


  • Clean and disinfect all shared areas and equipment routinely, using alcohol-based wipes to clean tools before and after use.


COVID-19 Guidlines

Click here to view PDF



What should I do if I become ill?



Notify your supervisor and No Wait Medical Partners immediately, complete the self-assessment (self-checker).


Resources for Employers and Employees



Below are some resources on government approved guidelines around proper hygiene and cleaning practices, and the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for COVID-19.


Resources:

Disinfectants for Use Against COVID-19 (EPA guidelines)


Hand washing guidelines (CDC guidelines)

What You Need To Know About Handwashing (Video)


Information on conducting Hazard Assessments (OSHA guidelines)


Information on the use of cloth face coverings (CDC guidelines)


NIOSH Respirator Selection Logic 2004. (CDC guidelines)


OSHA's Respiratory Protection standard (OSHA guidelines)


Protection of yourself and others against COVID-19 (CDC guidelines)


Respirator Safety (United States Department of Labor. 2009) Video


Resuming Business Toolkit for Employers (CDC guidelines)


Self-assessment tool for employees (CDC guidelines)


Symptoms of COVID-19 (CDC guidelines)


When to screen (CDC guidelines)