The set of your sail

“It is the set of the sails,

not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go”

Jim Rohn

Over the past few months, we have seen the country and all industries transformed drastically by a global pandemic.

We have all been given direction or guidance by various experts on what products or procedures we need to have in place to get back to work, or if you were on an essential project, how to stay working.

The quote above is more relevant than ever in these times, as we move towards a fuller workforce capacity. We all have come to be, in some form or fashion, “exposed” to COVID 19. Whether it’s been at work, home, or in the process of everyday activities, there has been a change in how things operate.

The construction industry leads the way, laying the foundation for all other industries to maintain a safe and strong environment to operate within. We all know it takes a great deal of planning to build, this is no different. Keeping workers safe is done through a process; planning, implementation, review, adjust, implementation.

In maintaining the foundational focus of planning within the construction industry, the CMC Workforce Governance Board felt that the most important thing we can undertake was guidance on how we get back to work and do it correctly.

One of the best examples of free and open guidance is The Protective Industrial Products (PIP), Essentials Safety Book and Checklist, which were developed as guides to walk every contractor, regardless of work scope and company size, through the steps of planning and moving off square one to develop and implement that plan.

Being prepared is more important than ever, traditional risk is still alive and well, but we now have new risks; contagions, and anxiety related to the unknown.

Prevention minimizes risk, to start put together a pandemic team. There are additional procedures needed: a daily review of PPE, upgrade cleaning products and procedures, new upgraded safety signage, and training on new practices and protocols.

To create a pandemic team, select individuals so that key departments are represented. A foundation for a plan can be started with three easy (3) steps.

  1. Develop a plan within the business’ framework and government protocols.

  2. Guide the plan through an approval process with Department Representatives.

  3. Oversee plan implementation and review.

Within this plan, a team needs to be assembled to address the areas within the job site or work areas. Below I have listed a few suggestions, but each plan will need to be specifically tailored based on your company’s needs.

  1. Pandemic Team Leader

  2. Signage, Barriers & Access Lead

  3. PPE Lead

  4. Cleaning Lead

  5. Training Lead

  6. Communication Lead

Areas that will need regular review include PPE, Screening and Action Plans, Protocols such as distancing on the job the site, Sanitation, and Disinfection, and training of it all. Guage the effectiveness of the plan after you’ve implemented the new policies, making changes as needed.

You need to have a strong plan in place on how to address, respond, and understand the new and potential risk, the situation is changing daily in all industries.

As the city opens up and more segments of the economy start engaging we will need to adapt to the influx of pedestrians on sidewalks once again. Mitigating the risk of the unknown through planning, implementation, and adaptation will help lessen the impact of new and developing changes.

If, after reading the attached Essential Safety Handbook, you need guidance or advice, please reach out to me. As a Governance Board member and Safety Professional, I’m here to help.

Kerry Schimelfenig Authorized OSHA Outreach Trainer, PES, NYC-DOB SST, CSM, QSSP, NFPA-70E, OSHA 7210

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