Let’s face it: construction workers are a tough breed. Long hours, cold, rain, and the occasional smashed finger are all just part of the job. But now construction workers are facing something they cannot see that can have serious health implications for them and their families. As construction resumes throughout the country, new protocols for worker safety are being implemented on job sites and in offices, and construction companies must thoroughly explain the risks and controls in order to fully educate their workforce.
Stress = Absenteeism
As if construction workers—and the construction industry in general—didn’t have enough to worry about, the last four months have changed our basic way of work and life. COVID-19 is a new, never-before-seen disease, leaving experts in the fields of medicine and immunology without concrete answers and workers wondering if they can or even want to return to work. In an economy that was booming just four months ago and where workers were in short supply, the effort to quickly re-engage construction projects is now being hampered by fears of the unknown, anxiousness, and absenteeism among employees.
Knowledge = Action
Employers must provide their construction operations teams with constant and consistent information on all aspects of any hazard, especially COVID-19. Simply telling workers not to do something, like touch their face, is not enough to cause compliance, especially with a hazard that cannot be seen. Educating workers on all aspects of the disease, including modes of transmission, spread rates, and chemicals and methods for effectively disinfecting surfaces, help workers to understand exactly what causes the infection and how to protect themselves. Reviewing common daily work habits can also highlight potential ways in which the virus can spread.
Probably because safety has become such a key component in the industry, construction workers are typically very conscientious of their safety and the safety of their co-workers and others. Workers appreciate being treated with respect, and that means acknowledging their intelligence by sharing as much information as possible and trusting them to use that information to make the appropriate safety choices. Management should have answers ready by anticipating the questions employees may have and coming prepared. More knowledge always produces a better outcome.
Ownership = Safety
Once employees have a full understanding of all aspects of the issue, managers should follow up with updated information and physically visit the job site daily for team meetings to relieve concerns. Additionally, managers should be extremely proactive by interacting with each employee to see if they have everything that they need to do their job safely and checking to see if there are areas where improvements can be made. This daily one-on-one emphasizes to each employee that management is listening to their concerns and fears and is taking this safety issue seriously.
Management must also immediately respond to and resolve employees’ concerns by providing requested supplies and intensifying disinfection efforts around the job site or providing multiple tools to alleviate the need to disinfect in between multiple users. Inclusivity and responsiveness will build a sense of confidence and ownership in each employee. They will feel that the situation is manageable and that their concerns are being heard, thereby increasing situational awareness and safety for construction operations teams.
Gadzoom Helps You Slay the Stress
While you take care of your teams, let us do the heavy lifting with your safety document management. All of our documents are developed and up to date with the latest industry safety information, including OSHA, CDC, and USACE reference standards. To keep you ahead of the curve as you return to work, we’ve extended access to our exclusive COVID-19 response plan at no charge. Simply create a trial account on our website, and in just a few minutes, the document is yours. No credit card needed. While you’re generating your free documents, take note of the ease of the program and let us know what you think.
We’re all in this together – construction professionals helping construction professionals to protect our most valuable resources: our employees. We all want to do our part and help so that our industry, our nation, and our way of life can get back to normal as quickly as possible.
Get Documents & AHAs Online Using Gadzoom
Gadzoom enables contractors to generate important documents in minutes, giving them the freedom to run and manage the business without all the headaches that come with administrative responsibilities. Our company was born to make construction document management as streamlined as possible. You can create a variety of government compliant safety and administrative documents at the touch of a button.