Since mid-March, organizations such as the Construction Industry Safety Coalition and Occupational Safety (CISC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have provided resources and safety recommendations at job sites. The essential COVID-19 jobsite safety practices would ensure the safety of construction employers, employees, and contractors. This minimizes exposure to the virus. Among these practices are:
- recommendations to maintain physical distancing
- to wash and sanitize hands frequently
- to wear properly-fitting masks and eye protection.
The Hayward Score recently released additional essential COVID-19 jobsite safety practices: increasing indoor ventilation and managing dust.
“COVID-19 is an opportunity for the building industry to demonstrate discipline and leadership and keep workers safe”. Bill Hayward, founder and CEO of Hayward Score and CEO and chief sustainability officer at California-based Hayward Lumber, said in a news release. He said that most jobsites were doing well at implementing the basics. He also said it would be critical that we also increase indoor ventilation and manage dust.
The Hayward Score, an online tool that measures the impact a home has on residents’ health, developed the additional recommendations. This was after reviewing publicly-available scientific research and expert recommendations. It then combined the information with its own lessons learned from working to minimize risk in indoor residential spaces.
Increasing Indoor Ventilation
Research has demonstrated COVID-19 can be spread through aerosol transmission. It can also attach to larger particles, such as those that may comprise construction dust. Hayward Score said such risks make it important to increase ventilation to greater than 5 air changes per hour. It was also necessary to improve dust removal methods.
You can achieve ventilation through measures that put the workspace under negative pressure. The measures should also provide effective separation between the workspace and occupied areas of the building. Cracking a window and adding a fan to each room of the worksite would also work.
In other cases, high-grade air scrubbers with HEPA-filters would be necessary to provide adequate negative pressure and filtration. Using HEPA-filtered Jobsite vacuums frequently would also help minimize dust. According to Hayward Score, brooms and standard vacuums are not appropriate because they only recirculate particles rather than removing them.