The COVID-19 pandemic has brought massive challenges for businesses across all domains. Construction projects, in particular, have experienced big setbacks during the lockdowns. Even as restrictions are being lifted, things are still far from normal. However, businesses need to be resilient and adaptive so that they can survive the crisis and get back on their feet. More than anything else, you must have the right safety plan in place to resume work without risking the well-being of the workers. Here are some measures that you can implement to keep your construction projects and people safe in the pandemic era.
Enforce Social Distancing
Now that work on-sites is resuming, it becomes important to have social distancing measures in place. The virus spreads through inhalation of droplets from sneeze or cough of the infected person. According to research, six feet is a safe distance for prevention of spread, so you must implement it as a norm at your site. Securing markers at a distance of six feet for workstations is a good idea. Further, you may consider rescheduling shifts to operate with fewer people on-site at any point in time. A scheduling software solution can help you with this step.
Prioritise Remote Collaboration
Typically, construction projects involve a large number of people on-site and there are multiple teams involved as well. They all need to be connected on a daily basis so that they can take collaborative decisions during the project phases. But it is not advisable to conduct daily meetings because social gatherings put people at risk. Right now, you should prioritise remote collaboration and communication to enable the team to be on the same page while steering clear of the risk. This is best done by having a construction management software solution in place. It can serve as a unified platform that stakeholders can access to track progress, share suggestions and resolve issues.
Maintain On-site Hygiene
Covering people on the social distancing front is only half the work done. If you want the site to be virus-free, you must go the extra mile with cleanliness and sanitation. Ensure that the surfaces and equipment are sanitised and disinfected several times a day. Installing equipment such as a mechanical sprayer or thermal fogger on the site can make a significant difference. Educate people about the significance of hand hygiene and encourage them to do it as frequently as possible. Further, discourage tool sharing because it can be a cause of the spread of infection.
Provide Proper Protective Gear
While cleaning and disinfecting the site can go a long way in preventing the spread, you should mandate the use of personal protective gear for the workforce. Not only do they save a healthy person from getting infected but also prevent spreading it if someone is an asymptomatic carrier. Provide them with masks and gloves so that they don’t avoid them. Educate them about washing these items every day. Follow a routine for replacing the gear by distributing them on a periodic basis.
Keep Track of Employee Health
While preventive measures are important to curb the spread, you must also take a proactive approach to eliminate the source itself. Keeping track of employee health and medical records is the best way to start. Identify high-risk employees, such as those aged over 60 and having co-morbidities like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and mental health conditions. Consider sending them on leave and reassure them that you will have them back once things are normal. Apart from regular screenings, conducting daily thermal checks should be mandatory to pinpoint symptoms at the earliest.
These precautionary measures can go a long way in keeping your construction project pandemic-safe. At the same time, there is an assurance that it will be completed without delays and disruptions. Since there is nothing normal about the current situation, taking a flexible approach towards timelines makes sense but ensure that you never compromise on the quality front.
The construction industry is struggling to regain its footing amid the COVID crisis but things are still far from normal. As lockdowns come to an end and restrictions are being lifted, it makes sense to realign your operations to make your project successful. There are several measures that can help, from implementing social distancing guidelines to having construction management software in place, encouraging sanitation
The author is a project manager with a leading construction firm in India. Her interest in software and technologies makes her an expert with construction management software as well. Apart from this, she has a passion for writing and regularly posts her insights on popular sites.