Essential COVID-19 Jobsite Safety Practices

Essential COVID-19 Jobsite Safety Practices

Social distancing, handwashing, face masks and safety glasses are essential. But so is increased indoor jobsite ventilation.

Since mid-March, organizations such as the Construction Industry Safety Coalition and Occupational Safety (CISC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have provided resources and safety recommendations at jobsites to ensure the safety of construction employers, employees, and contractors from exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19). Chief among these practices are recommendations to maintain physical distancing, to wash and sanitize hands frequently, and to wear properly-fitting masks and eye protection. The Hayward Score recently released additional safety recommendations for jobsites: increasing indoor ventilation and managing dust.

“COVID-19 is an opportunity for the building industry to demonstrate discipline and leadership and keep workers safe,” Bill Hayward, founder and CEO of Hayward Score and CEO and chief sustainability officer at California-based Hayward Lumber, said in a news release. “Overall, most jobsites are doing well at implementing the basics: social distancing, handwashing and sanitizing, and wearing recommended face masks and safety glasses. But, it is critical that we also increase indoor ventilation and manage dust as part of jobsite safety protocol.”

The Hayward Score, an online tool that measures the impact a home has on residents’ health, developed the additional recommendations after reviewing publicly-available scientific research and expert recommendations and combining the information with its own lessons learned from working to minimize risk in indoor residential spaces.

Research has demonstrated COVID-19 can be spread through aerosol transmission and can attach to larger particles, such as those that may comprise construction dust. Hayward Score said such risks make it important to increase ventilation to greater than 5 air changes per hour and improve dust removal methods.

Ventilation can be achieved through measures that put the workspace under negative pressure and provide effective separation between the workspace and occupied areas of teh building. In some case, cracking a window and adding a fan ducted to the outside in each room of the work site will work. In other cases, high-grade air scubbers with HEPA-filters may be needed to provide adequate negative pressure and filtration. Also HEPA-filtered jobsite vacuums should be used frequently to help minimize dust. According to Hayward Score, brooms and standard vacuums should not be used because they only recirculate particles rather than removing them.

This article originally appeared on our sister publication, ProSales.

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