COVID-19 Blog Series: We are All in This Together - How CII Members are Dealing with the Tail Risk

Over the past few weeks, CII members across the globe have been pulling out their emergency management plans and monitoring CDC, OSHA, and WHO sites as the impact of COVID-19 has pushed us all into the “new normal” of greater personal hygiene, social distancing, disruptions in construction and daily office operation and, most recently, shutdowns.

This blog entry draws from examples gathered from you, our members, by our Communities for Business Advancement (CBAs) and other discussions.

COVID-19 and the Construction Job Site

An Overall Multi-Tiered Approach at the Job Site  

To create an initial response to COVID-19 many CII members have activated existing pandemic emergency response plans or activated and modified for COVID-19 their existing plans for hurricanes or terrorist contamination related events.

Several companies have activated a three-tier job site response plan which includes:

Level 1 – Precaution – A company-wide safety/good hygiene and social distancing campaign has been launched with training and posters. Wherever possible, non-essential personnel in office or on site work remotely. Workers initially were verbally screened before going to the construction site where the basics of good hygiene were followed. On-site large meetings have been eliminated.
Level 2 – First exposure to the corona virus – People with COVID-19 are removed from the work site and all of the individuals with whom they have had physical contact are quarantined for 14 days. Under this level there is close monitoring of job site for compliance with good hygiene and social distancing. Some companies are using drones to monitor compliance.
Level 3 – Essential service critical projects; Controlled reduction to maintain a job site; Shut down – Initiated either by company decision or directive from state or local authority. State or local authorities can determine if a project is considered an “essential service” and be exempt from a state or local authority-directed shutdown order. At a minimum, every facility and construction site should have a shutdown (and reactivation) plan.

In addition to the above steps, several firms have:

  • Eliminated turnstiles on job sites (reducing contamination risk) and installed electronic log in and log out systems

  • Restricted access to construction sites from outsiders, or mandated visitors' strict adherence to the same hygiene and social distancing requirements of workers on site

  • Linked all construction sites with the company’s emergency operations center to assure instant and consistent communications and monitoring of situation on construction sites, and to relate any changes in government health and safety directives

Remote Work Sites

On large remote sites several companies have implemented these actions:

  • Workers are screened (temperatures taken) before boarding a bus to the job site. Individuals that have high temperatures or other symptoms are directed to isolation tents which were assembled on the construction camp site, or they are sent to area hospitals.

  • In the camp and on the job site, basic hygiene and social distancing are mandatory and monitored:

    • On buses to the job site, workers are spread out in separate seats, 6 feet apart

    • On the job site, employees eat lunch in shifts to achieve social distancing. The number of lunch shifts are expanded from the usual 2 shifts to 6, to accommodate social distancing. All tables are wiped down between shifts.

    • When returning from the construction site, employees are screened again and treated accordingly

  • Note: Securing and self-isolating the entire work camp from outside personnel is proving to be effective to some companies in the Middle East in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Whether you have large or small construction sites, the above strategies offer basic steps to follow to help keep your projects moving forward and your workers as safe as possible.

In general, planning, communication and diligent execution of company COVID-19 response plans require both flexibility and discernment in order to work ahead of the phases of the wave of COVID-19 as it moves across the globe. Acquiring thermal scanners and text kits, and people trained in proper use, is proving challenging in some areas as are supplies related to quarantining infected workers.

In Closing, Stay Connected

We hope you find this  blog series of use in your deliberations during what for many is still just the opening round of this tail risk event. 

We solicit your input on actions which your company/agency is taking to address every aspect of COVID-19 so that we can share it with your fellow CII members, as indeed “we are all in this together.”

For more information, or to share a COVID-19 best practice, please contact:

Mike Pappas, Associate Director, CII
Bob Wible, Program Manager, Communities for Business Advancement, CII

Date posted: March 26, 2020