As the world slowly begins to look toward what some are forecasting to be a “new normal” post-COVID, construction industry professionals are wondering what work life might look like. The construction industry, by necessity, is advancing continually through its disruptions, so workers are growing accustomed to change.
For instance, off-site construction, prefabrication and remote working arrangements are already on the uptick as viable solutions to worker distancing requirements.
In a recent Bluebeam Built blog article Construction After COVID-19, questions around the topic of jobsite safety were posed to Dr. Somik Ghosh, associate professor of construction science at the University of Oklahoma. Ghosh, an architect by training who prefers interfacing with onsite crews, expressed his optimism that the industry is handling things well, with new standards for safety and health precautions. Project managers are busy with typical on-site concerns, plus new health measures they have to track. Ghosh said that the dangers of in-person work – not simply the virus but other dangers as well – can be minimized by a “focus on cleanliness.”
In a Toolbox Talk by the Construction Center of Excellence, site sanitation was extolled as a way to boost morale: “A clean site is a happy site.” Fortunately, many agree, because sanitizing jobsites may be the way of the foreseeable future.
On its Hazard Prevention and Control website, OSHA (the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration) lists controls “to protect workers from workplace hazards; help avoid injuries, illnesses, and incidents; minimize or eliminate safety and health risks; and help employers provide workers with safe and healthful working conditions.” Regardless of a company’s limited resources, the website points out that employers have an obligation to protect workers from recognized, serious hazards.
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OSHA also identifies the importance of managers to provide leadership, vision and resources needed to implement an effective safety and health program. Management leadership includes owners, managers and supervisors who can make safety and health a core business value and provide the resources to maintain that value. OSHA also points out that managers need to set an example through their own actions so workers understand the impacts their day-to-day personal decisions on the jobsite can make on the health of others.
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