What are construction companies doing in the wake of COVID-19? The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) examined steps leading construction firms are taking as work continues in many parts of the country during the coronavirus threat.
In a recent article on the topic, AEM indicates that social distancing and other best practices are a critical component of companies' COVID-19 response plan. For example, Turner Construction Company, a New York-based firm with roughly 10,000 employees, is limiting the size of employee gatherings and has replaced large group meetings with remote conferencing technology. The firm has expanded its network capacity and training tools to handle the surge in online network activity.
When essential meetings require in-person attendance, Turner mandates that space allows for roughly 6 ft. of social distancing. The company is further adapting standard operating procedures to limit the number of employees who can be in an enclosed space, such as an elevator, at any given time.
Other steps being taken by include:
- Harkins, an employee-owned construction company based in Maryland, constantly reminds employees about the 6-ft. rule, and sick employees are sent home immediately. All gatherings are prohibited, and meetings are conducted remotely.
- Skanska, a New York-based construction and development firm with more than 10,000 workers, issued a ban on all international travel through at least April and has greatly limited domestic travel. Other companies, including Turner Construction, are taking a similar approach.
- Turner Construction jobsites are required to provide access to hand washing stations, and staff are trained to clean and disinfect frequently touch objects.
- Harkins posts CDC and OSHA guidelines in conspicuous locations on jobsites, increased the hand sanitizing products on sites, requires trailers to be cleaned daily and even brought in a commercial cleaning service to clean and disinfect areas of a jobsite if COVID-19 exposure is suspected. Project leaders have been trained to monitor behavior to ensure guidelines are being followed.
- Companies like Skanska and Turner Construction have established dedicated teams to monitor developments and support, inform and protect employees. Skanska is also using its intranet to provide general updates.
- To emphasize the importance of staying home when sick, HGC Groups, a Cincinnati-based large regional general contractor, has temporarily suspended the recording of unscheduled absences, assuring those who have symptoms that they will not be penalized for calling in sick.
Click here to read more about what these and other construction firms are doing during this trying time; to review essential elements of a COVID-19 response plan; and to find out how the industry is lobbying to keep construction moving forward while ensuring steps to contain the spread of the virus.
To learn how you can share how COVID-19 is affecting your jobsites and what your company is doing to address it, click here.