Design Build Services (DBS) is continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation. DBS is relying on the guidance from the BC Centre for Disease Control and is following directives from WorkSafeBC and the Government of British Columbia to keep our worksites and community safe and healthy. DBS has implemented a work from home strategy; however, some essential employees are unable to work remotely. Therefore, by following the current guidance provided from the aforementioned organizations, we have reduced employee population in our worksites, created social distancing, increased hygiene and cleaning practices, and implemented sick and travel protocols to further reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19.
We’ve developed a Site Response plan with recommendations from the construction industry and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry (https://news.gov.bc.ca/21857). Read the full plan below:
COVID-19 SITE RESPONSE PLAN
Active participation is critical for this team effort to provide a safe workplace. Adherence to safety procedures is necessary as safety and health is our principle concern. Contractors and workers who do not comply with these procedures will be asked to leave the site. Any risky behavior on the part of one put all of us in jeopardy.
Social distancing is a technique to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by limiting close contact with others. The Provincial Health Officer recommends keeping a distance of 2 meters from each other.
• All workers shall observe social distancing. Social distancing measures include:
• limiting groups of workers coming together in orientation, lunch and meeting rooms, tool cribs, smoking areas, etc.
• preventing workers from congregating at the entrance to the: project, hoist, stair wells,
• scaffolding, washroom facilities, etc.
• restricting access to occupied work areas like trailer offices, etc.
• controlling traffic patterns – where practicable designate only up and only down stairwells or in / out gates, this avoids the potential for workers to pass each other within the social distancing space.
Contractors are required to communicate and reinforce self-distancing practices with their workers.
Informational signage, warning workers of the importance of self-distancing is installed at locations on the project where there is a potential for workers to congregate. We are conducting regular inspections of the project to verify that workers are observing social distancing.
HAND WASHING AND HAND SANITIZATION
Hand washing minimizes the risk of infection. Proper hand washing helps prevent the transfer of infectious material from the hands to other parts of the body—particularly the eyes, nose, and mouth—or to other surfaces that are touched. Hands that are visibly soiled or dirty should be washed with soap and water – hand sanitizer is less effective on soiled or dirty hands.
Workers are required to wash or sanitize their hands:
• at the start of their shift and before they start work
• before eating, drinking, or smoking
• after using the toilet facilities
• after handling any tools or materials that may be contaminated
• at the end of the shift before they leave work
Informational signage, describing proper hand washing and hand sanitization techniques is posted at hand washing and hand sanitization facilities.
Workers are expected to follow cough/sneeze etiquette, which is a combination of measures that minimizes the transmission of diseases via droplet or airborne routes. Cough/sneeze etiquette includes the following:
• Cover your mouth and nose with a sleeve or tissue when coughing or sneezing.
• Use tissues to contain secretions and dispose of them promptly in a waste container.
• Turn your head away from others when coughing or sneezing.
• Wash hands regularly.
If you, or someone in your home, are exhibiting flu-like symptoms such as fever, coughing or congestion: Do not come to work;
Please refer to the BC Self Assessment tool online at https://bc.thrive.health/
• Contact your supervisor to let them know that you, or someone in your home, are exhibiting the symptoms; and
• Consult with AHS ‘811’ / a healthcare professional on next steps before returning to work.
• If you have been outside the country in the last 14 days or exposed to someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19, then you MUST leave the worksite.
HEALTH VERIFICATION OF WORKERS
The health and well-being of workers is paramount. To protect workers and provide a safe and healthy workplace there is an increased responsibility on Contractor supervisors and supervisors to be vigilant and that includes monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19.
• Any workers intending to access the site must complete a Health Questionnaire (see Appendix A). The purpose of the questionnaire is to verify that workers are free, to the best of their knowledge, of COVID-19 symptoms and related restrictions in accordance with Public Health Authority recommendations.
• Contractors supervisors must provide each day an attendance list of workers by name and phone contact – electronically. In the event that there is a COVID-19 issue later, this information will be especially helpful in identifying potential exposures. Attendance lists to be stored in accordance with privacy considerations.
• Contractor supervisors are required to verify, at start and end of shift, that their workers are healthy, fit for work and to the best of their knowledge, free of any symptoms or restrictions associated with COVID-19 in accordance with the Health Questionnaire (See Appendix A) and recommendations of the Public Health Authority.
• Post signs at all site entrances that say, “Site Sign in/out by texting Supervisor at: Name & Number.
• Site supervisor to update sign-in log regularly throughout the day to know who is at site.
• All site orientations to be done verbally without signature outside the job shack.
• No transfer of papers. Site supervisor to sign on their behalf.
• No visitors permitted
• Job toolbox meetings to be held outside, with appropriate social distancing or have people call in. No signatures or transfer of documents. Site Supervisor signs on their behalf.
• When arranging necessary inspections from consultants or authorities having jurisdiction, indicate to them they will not be allowed to visit our site if they are showing any signs of being sick.
• All non-essential events are canceled or postponed (e.g. site barbeques);
• Tradespeople working in teams to do work (Carpenter and Apprentice) must know each other well enough to be sure of the proximity risk of working together. Where possible employees should maintain a distance of 2 metres apart from one another.
• For larger groups working together (concrete placement crews) who cannot manage social distancing to do their work must have a conversation with the Site Supervisor. Crews that work together all the time will have a lower risk than hastily assembled crews.
JOBSITE SANITATION MEASURES
• Each subcontractor remains responsible for cleanliness in their enclosed common spaces including lunchrooms, site offices, and tool cribs.
• Each subcontractor is responsible for disinfecting shared tools, iPads, etc. between uses.
CLEANING AND DISINFECTING
Conduct routine daily cleaning of hard non-porous surfaces throughout construction sites including: site office trailers, lunchrooms, orientation and meeting rooms, first aid rooms, stair railings, scaffold stair railings, portable toilets, elevator/hoist and equipment controls.
POTENTIAL VIRUS CONTAMINATION
In the event there is a presumptive case for COVID–19, present on site, we isolate and clean work areas / surfaces that may have been contaminated.
In the event a confirmed case of COVID-19, we will refer to our safe work procedure for remediation.
COVID-19 makes orientations especially important as a means of communicating with new workers the safety precautions that they must comply with for them to work on this site.
It is also a point for screening workers and asking them questions about their travels and health to verify that they are healthy and not in contravention of any Public Health Authority recommendations.
The following are changes to the orientation routine:
• move orientation outdoors and conduct a verbal orientation – reinforce social distancing.
Before providing an orientation have workers and visitors complete the Health Questionnaire for COVID-19 (See Appendix A) to verify that they are healthy and fit for work. Workers that are not permitted access according to the questionnaire must be turned away.
As part of the verbal orientation, review:
• what is social distancing of 2 meters
• location of hand washing and hand sanitization stations and the frequency that they are expected to clean their hands
• location of posters and other communications
• site specific procedures for hoists, stairwells, etc.
• what we are doing at the site to promote a safe workplace and remind them that their health is important to us
• the importance of reporting to their supervisor if they are feeling unwell and leaving the project
Hoists must be operated in accordance with social distancing requirements.
• Outside the hoist: Post signage
• Inside the hoist: Maintain social distancing – maximum 2 passengers at any one time
• Hoist surfaces (call buttons, door handles, etc.) that are routinely touched will be disinfected regularly.
Do not share communication devices. Because radios and cell phones are held close to the mouth to talk, they are a likely source for transmission. Disinfect radios and cell phones at start of shift and regularly throughout the shift.
Project offices and trailers are off limits to people that do not belong in them.
• Post “Restricted Access” signage on door with contact phone number outside of the door.
• Restrict the number of people who are allowed to enter these offices to social distancing allowances.
• Do not touch items – “keep your hands to yourself”.
• Do not share keyboard or mouse, pens, clipboards or documents.
• Disinfect commonly touched items like door handles, chairs, tables, etc.
• Handrails leading up to the trailer or office: Do not slide your hand down them. Routinely disinfect.
FIRST AID TREATMENT
Report workplace injuries to the First Aid Attendant. As a precaution the First Aid Attendant will wear N95 mask or ½ mask respirator, face shield and medical gloves when treating workers.
If workers are feeling unwell or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 They need to inform their Supervisor ASAP. If they are fit enough to leave the project and arrive home safely, they should go home and follow the Public Health Authorities instructions for reporting self -isolating and treatment.
If workers are travelling on public transit or in close contact with others to get to their homes and if available, we will provide sick workers with N95 masks to be worn by them to help prevent any transmission from the sick worker.
We know it’s an uncertain time and everyone is navigating a lot of ambiguity right now. As we all do so, we want to help everyone in our workforce prioritize their health and the health of our communities.