Preventing the spread of COVID-19 is essential to both keeping your employees healthy and opening the economy back up again. The cleaning and sanitation steps you practice in your business today could make a difference in people’s lives and how quickly this pandemic passes through the United States.
That being said, most contractors, home builders, and general contractors don’t work in traditional office spaces. This creates knowledge gaps in understanding how to sanitize and protect your team. Follow these guidelines to protect your employees across all aspects of their work.
Let Office Employees Work from Home
Start by taking control of your office. Look for ways to set up employees with desk jobs as remote workers, at least most of the week. This includes your receptionist, human resources specialist, sales team, and in-house marketers. Block off as much of the office as you can with these employees gone, limiting exposure to the number of accessible surfaces.
Next, step up your cleaning processes. Regularly sanitize high-traffic surfaces like doorknobs, punch clocks, the employee bathroom, and the breakroom. These should be wiped down at least daily as long as anyone is in the office.
Create a COVID-19-Safe Jobsite
Next, evaluate the current working conditions of your contractors, and consider how you can alter them to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Start with increased sanitation measures and protective gear. Make sure all employees wear eye protection, gloves, and face masks. A few additional steps you can take include:
- Staggering work shifts so fewer employees are on site at any given time.
- Delaying or staggering the timing of aspects of the job that require employees to work closely together.
- Limiting the number of employees in elevators or standing in the same room together.
- Sending employees home who may have come into contact with the virus or who are sick.
If you need industry-specific guidance for your worksite,the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) has an extensive amount of resources on COVID-19. These include best practices from OSHA and the CDC on how to keep your worksite protected.
Don’t Let Employees Share Company Vehicles
Your employees likely drive together to the worksite, or swap vehicles to make supply runs or when vehicles need preventative maintenance. While this is fine most of the time, it should not be allowed during a pandemic. If you issue a fleet vehicle to an employee, make sure they are the only one to use it unless it is fully sanitized. This way, if an employee does come down with COVID-19, you don’t have to sanitize multiple vehicles that they used over the past two weeks.
Additionally, train your team members on how to clean their work vehicles, and encourage them to wipe down highly touched surfaces each day. One survey of 1,000 drivers found that the dirtiest surfaces on a car include the steering wheel, cup holders, seat belt, door handle, gear shift, and radio knobs.
Also, provide disinfecting wipes so your employees can wipe down their work trucks at the end of each day. This way you know that the inside of the vehicles get regularly sanitized
Communicate With Your Suppliers About Changes
Everyone needs to take steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Talk to your suppliers and see what they are doing to limit the spread both during deliveries or pick-ups from their locations. This may include extra sanitation measures, hands-off processing, and self-service will-call order pick-up. Once you understand the precautions your suppliers are taking, be sure to cascade that information down to each of your team members who would be involved in picking up or receiving materials.
Even if you are confident in the safety of your suppliers, take steps to protect your team members from getting the virus through contact. According to a study by the New England Journal of Medicine, the virus can live on some surfaces for up to 72 hours, so you may want to consider letting your materials sit for a few days to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep your employees healthy, you need to consider each aspect of their work. Any company or client property that your employees touch could put them at risk. Keep surfaces clean and keep employees separated in order to limit the effects of the pandemic.