The NAHB and its construction industry partners are calling for a second COVID-19 safety stand down on jobsites as cases continue to soar throughout the nation. Small and large construction companies focusing on single-family and multifamily as well as residential construction contractors and subcontractors are encouraged to halt work for at least 10 minutes during the week of Jan. 11 to remind workers of safety practices.
“Industry experts anticipate a post-holiday surge in COVID-19 cases throughout the country, so NAHB and our partners in the construction industry believe it is important and timely to reiterate what workers should do to keep safe from the coronavirus and to help reduce the spread,” says Robert Matuga, NAHB assistant vice president of labor, safety, and health.
Hundreds of NAHB member companies and affiliated home builder associations participated in the first safety stand down in April. The NAHB provides three steps for sites to do their stand downs:
- Prepare: Compile the information needed for the stand down; NAHB has developed blueprints in English and Spanish for builders and trade contractors;
- Cover the basics: Stress the importance of preventing the virus spread by encouraging workers to follow basic infection prevention measures; and
- Hold the stand down: Present the information to workers, keeping it short within the 10 minutes, as well as distributing digitally.
“Builders and trade contractors should stress the importance of preventing the coronavirus spread by encouraging all workers to follow basic infection prevention measures, including: first and foremost, staying home if they are sick; wearing a face covering; using clean and safe restrooms and washing or sanitizing hands often; maintaining 6 feet between each worker; and providing adequate fresh air and ventilation, especially when working in enclosed spaces,” Matuga says.
The residential construction has experienced a notable impact on project planning and scheduling of subcontractors as well as a slowdown in some aspects of construction due to workplace safety measures and public health guidelines. “Additionally, there has been accelerated housing demand, leading to a shortage of some materials and supplies and pushing prices for these higher,” according to Matuga.
While COVID-19 protocols have been the top priority, resulting in some resources being diverted from other jobsite safety issues, Matuga adds that builders and subcontractors can’t lose sight of the other potential dangers. “Moving forward, builders and their trade subcontractors must not let their guard down to protect workers from other significant jobsite safety hazards, such as falling from ladders, scaffolding, and the building structure; electric shock; working in trenches and excavations; and operating tools and equipment.”