Across most of the country, construction craftsmen were designated as part of the ‘essential’ category of workers that could continue working through the Coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, work environments of all types just haven’t been set up to keep their team sanitary and free from contaminants – including the trades. Construction job sites may have craftsmen working closely side-by-side, cramming together in service elevators, and sharing porta-potties without much hand sanitizer. Here at Madden, we predict that the Cornovirus will motivate many employers to create a more germ-safe environment for their team. Here are some things that you can immediately implement for a safer construction worksite, starting today:
There’s no debate that the best way to prevent disease is to wash your hands – and often. You may not have access to plumbed water, but there are other solutions that anyone could set up to protect themselves and others. You don’t even need antibacterial wipes either! For example, just get a big plastic water container, such as a 5-Gallon bucket or big Gatorade water bottle/cooler, and then insert a spigot at the bottom of it. You could add a little bit of dish soap into it, which will leave your hands a little wet. But remember it’s more important to take the time to thoroughly wash your hands than to worry about if it’s warm, fancy, or antibacterial.
One of the reasons that craftsmen are cramming into elevators and working so close together is because they are scheduled to start their shift at the same time. An easy adjustment to put into place is to stack the shifts so that they’re not all working at the same time. If you can spread out the hours that they’re on the clock, you can also spread out the physical distance that they’re working in – whether that’s in an elevator or laying down brick.
With the respiratory disease crisis we just faced, face masks were in huge demand among virus patients and healthcare providers. We craftsmen have long been using facepiece respirator masks to filter out silica dust and other airborne toxics – but hopefully now they will become even more commonplace on the construction job site. Gloves are another great precaution to wear – for both safety and sanitation! Make sure you’re wiping them down each night with simple soap and water or other cleaner that won’t damage the glove material.
So many construction sites just don’t have enough porta-potties. This becomes an even bigger sanitary issue when there’s not frequent enough service, or anybody making sure that there’s enough soap or hand sanitizer. If this has been an issue on your job site, we suggest you carry hand sanitizer wipes with you and wipe down the door handle, toilet seat, and anything else that gets touched often. And it can’t hurt to request your employers for more portable toilets – or at least cleaned and serviced more often.
Extra waste and material debris hanging around your work space has always been a safety issue, and it’s a sanitary issue too. These items are rarely cleaned, so they can easily get contaminated with germs when they’re hanging around, and then spread disease through touching. Keep the site clean by disposing of waste – and recycling any materials if possible.
Madden has many more safety tips and resources too, so give us a call if you need help and guidance. And if you’re looking to help contribute your skills and talents to a new sanitary building project, give us a call! Madden will match your experience and training to employers who are looking for talent like you.