Coronavirus Response – How should you respond to the outbreak?
March 12, 2020 | Blog | Colorado | Danger | Hazards | Industry News | OSHA | Safety | Troy L Clark
“How do I keep my employees safe while keeping my projects running during the Coronavirus outbreak?”
This is the general theme of the flood of questions we’ve been getting in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Colorado. At the time of this publication, Colorado has 33 reported cases according to Colorado Public Radio:
Colorado’s total presumptive positive cases of coronavirus rose by 16 people on Wednesday, bringing the statewide total to 33. There is one indeterminate test the state is treating as positive. One reported case was a Denver International Airport maintenance worker. Nine of those alone were in Pitkin County, and Polis called that area a “hot spot.”
“We can confirm community spread in the high country,” Polis said. “A single person can spread this virus to tens, dozens of individuals.”
Given the nature of our industry, concerns for our clients and our employees’ safety are understandably high.
That is why we’ve reached out to the most trusted members of our community for advice on how to approach our coronavirus response. And why we want to share this information with you as we get it.
According to John Crawmer of Pinnacol Assurance:
As far as construction companies making choices based on symptoms or other scenarios regarding COVID-19: an employer has the right to make sure employee workplaces are safe from hazards and risk exposures and employers are permitted to set forth policies applicable to their job conditions and size, scope and class of work.
Due to the broad range of construction projects that exist in the State of Colorado, there are many approaches that could be taken to control transmission of a virus. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention is the authority on epidemiology for the United States, including COVID-19.
General contractors should always inform workers and subcontractors of how to recognize, mitigate, eliminate, and control risk exposures while performing essential job functions.
As a general recommendation, the CDC recommends:
- Practice good hygiene
- Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water
- Use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
- Develop a travel policy
- Handle food wisely
- Stay home if you feel sick
- Use technology to host virtual meetings rather than assemble all in one location
- Disinfect contact surfaces such as doorknobs, tables, desks, handrails
What we’re taking from the information we have on the Coronavirus at this time is this:
- Encourage employees to report their symptoms and get tested if necessary, and also to report any possible contact with others who may be infected.
- Continue business as usual, while reinforcing and maintaining proper hygiene procedures.
- Adjust your travel plans and policies to reflect the current situation.
- Stay up to date on the latest information.
For more detailed information, we recommend reviewing the information OHSA released today:
OSHA, in cooperation with other federal agencies, has published the following:
- Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf
- Additional Resources webpage: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/