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5 Crucial Safety Measures For A Post COVID-19 Workplace

5 Crucial Safety Measures For A Post COVID-19 Workplace

Mar 19 2021 at 11:12

Initially, only essential services and projects were allowed to keep running during the COVID-19 crisis. However, once the pandemic stabilised - many businesses were given permission to reopen, and as such -  many industries have had to alter their usual ways of operating.

Fortunately, this reduced activity has provided the opportunity to continue some major construction projects. For instance,highway projects are being pushed ahead of their schedules. Hence, as an employer, you might be hiring more employees to assist the projects. If you are expanding your lifting team, the WSQ-Performing Rigger and Signalman Task course is essential for new riggers and signalman. The course will teach them how to utilise the standard signals together with a variety of rigging techniques

In order to resume operations, industries required guidelines or Safe Management Measures (SMM) that focus on workplace safety. Construction sites are highly interactive and had to construct a framework that allows employees to work efficiently while preventing the spread of the virus.

1. Screening

It has become necessary for people to have their temperature screened before accessing any public building or public transport. And similarly, the same screening is done at construction sites. Given that high temperature is a symptom of the virus, it quickly proves who may be infected. 

Employees should therefore be screened either with laser thermometers or thermal guns before they access the site. Any person found to have a fever should be sent home to self-isolate and recover, preventing possible exposure to the others on site.

Aside from screening being a necessity, workers resuming operations during the COVID-19 period should receive the appropriate training to maintain a safe working environment and minimise risks of potential or further outbreaks. At Wong Fong Academy (WFA), our COVID-19 Safe Management Officer (SMO) Training course provides SMOs with the skills to carry out their duties effectively.

2. Protective masks

Employees should wear protective face masks as much as possible. With regular interactions, employees will be in close contact with each other for most of the day. These working conditions, if not well-checked, can place your employees at high risk of exposure. 

Assuming that some are asymptomatic carriers of the virus, these masks would be efficient in keeping others from contracting it. The occupational health and safety authority recommends that employees use face masks at work. The masks should be worn correctly at all times, covering both the mouth and nose. 

3. Disinfection schedules

Construction sites now have to include regular cleaning and disinfection into their daily schedule. As these sites tend to be dirty and grimy, it significantly increases the risk of exposure. Hence, supervisors are expected to enforce this cleaning schedule for sites operating in this period – cleaning is to be done with disinfectant wipes, alcohol-based sanitisers or even soap and water. 

These disinfecting agents have shown their effectiveness against the coronavirus. However, they are not entirely sufficient so personal protective equipment (PPE’s) should be used whenever possible. Clear guidelines on workplace social distancing should support safety measures. During construction safety training, employees should be advised to disinfect shared equipment frequently.

4. Paid leave

Many construction employees often feel the need to show up for work even when they feel sick as they have no other income sources. This act causes others on-site to be at risk of exposure. 

Hence, employees not well should be given a provision or paid leave. The amount should be adequate to care for themselves during the recommended two-week isolation time. 

5. Prioritise

While these measures may seem costly, they are more efficient in the long term. These measures help you protect your employees while resuming usual operations. It would be more costly to shut down operations due to a widespread infection. 

Your employees’ safety and health should be a priority over factors such as short-term productivity, deadlines and profitability. Construction companies should do all they can to keep their employees healthy and safe, especially in these times. 

As such, COVID-19 safety measures aside, workplaces should instil even the most basics of workplace safety practices. For instance, the Apply Workplace Safety and Health in Construction Sites (CSOC) ensures a good orientation for a construction worker before work commences.

A healthy workforce translates into a productive one, especially in these turbulent times. Employees should take heed from these five safe yet straightforward measures.