The Philippine government recently announced the areas where updated community quarantines will be implemented together with their respective statuses after May 15, 2020. With this, some companies and businesses will start operating albeit the new normal. Still, safety precautions such as face masks, social distancing, and practicing general caution will be encouraged once employees go back to work.
On the other hand, everything about the construction sector is going to be as intricate as anyone would expect. But with the right mindset and leadership, the industry will eventually get used to working with the new restrictive but necessary safety measures.
Whether you are a worker or a supervisor, it is best if everyone takes the precautions to heart. It’s going to be tough, but preventing the spread should be prioritized. Here are some general work reminders to keep in mind once you step out of your house.
All workers should be deemed fit to work to reduce the chance of spreading the infection. Those who are working on government priority projects whether public or private, will undergo mandatory testing. Workers should also note if they have experienced flu-like symptoms or any similar illnesses during quarantine, regardless of whether the person made a swift recovery and/or if it was related to COVID-19.
Everyone should continue practicing social distancing regardless of their health status, especially for vulnerable people such as the elderly or those with a history of health problems. People should self-assess if they are capable of handling construction work. They must coordinate with their supervisors regarding rest times and leniency agreements.
Disinfecting Public Items / Discouraging item sharing
Reducing on-site interaction, whether direct or indirect, is a must. All items that are for general use or anything frequently touched should be sanitized regularly. Personal water bottles should be encouraged amongst everyone as a safer alternative to refills from a water cooler area. It is going to be tough but reducing the number of casual gathering places will improve site safety significantly. Also, hand sanitizers should be provided near worksite entrances and exits to encourage regular use.
Communication between higher-ups and workers is essential in keeping morale up. The pandemic has undoubtedly traumatized many, leaving them unable to give their 100% in the first few weeks. For supervisors, be kind and understanding of their troubles, and try to do your best to reinforce social distancing methods by making sure they understand, rather than repeating it like a broken record.
Prohibit Group Gatherings
Quarantine might have left some people missing group lunches with the team, but as it stands, that kind of recreation is now considered too dangerous. If you really cannot avoid eating with others, the best you can do is to maintain a distance of six feet, all while covering your lunchbox or sandwich between bites.
Meanwhile, work-related group gatherings can sometimes be unavoidable. Contractors should watch out for choke points and plan for those specific areas in accordance with physical distancing precautions.
Ensure rest breaks every four hours or so to keep the workers healthy and out of harm’s way. Designating a safety monitor on each construction site should be done to further enforce such rules. There should also be mandatory temperature checks before workers are allowed to work
Changing the work shift protocol is also strongly recommended. The fewer people in the site at a given time, the better, even if it seems like the site will experience setbacks in terms of productivity.
Going back to work after two months of quarantine will feel odd at first. After all, no one expected the pandemic to have such an effect on the world. With the new normal, keeping yourself safe and the tools that you used sanitized will be necessary.
Getting used to these new safety measures are part of the healing process. The health of the country depends on the attitude of the people, so keep a clear head while you try to work out the kinks of working with social distancing. It is going to be a long road ahead, but hopefully, everything will get better in time.