To say that we are living and working in unpredictable times right now is an understatement. The status of the health and safety of our communities, country and globe is changing every day, if not every hour (or news brief). This is a time to make practical and safe decisions for our families, friends and employees, while having an empathetic ear and understanding for every individual’s unique challenges and circumstances.
And while everything may seem to be in flux around us, as roofing and construction professionals one thing that should remain the same is our dedication to the safety and protection of our employees and clients. In previous posts, we have focused on industry specific risks and safety measures and training that can protect your crews under any and all circumstance, but today, we are focusing specifically on a few of the many resources that are available for contractors to use as they navigate the uncharted waters of this pandemic. Here are resources worth reviewing as you begin to put new safety and business support measures in place as a result of COVID-19:
- CARES Act – The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act is in place to provide more than $2 trillion in stimulus to the U.S. economy. As part of the effort to keep small businesses “in business”, there is a newly enacted SBA Paycheck Protection Program which is designed to keep workers employed and small businesses stable during these unpredictable times. The program allows all businesses with <500 employees or those businesses that would otherwise comply with the size standards under Title 13 of the Code of Federal Regulations eligible for SBA loans under the CARES Act until June 30, 2020. To learn more about eligibility and details regarding the loan program, check out the latest article from Roofing Contractor Magazine.
- Know Your State – Depending on the state that you are in, you may be on a complete shutdown, a shelter-in-place order or other guidelines to keep people safe and following CDC guidelines. When it comes to your crews and sending them out to job sites, it is essential that you stay abreast of the latest stipulations. Some states have listed construction as an essential service, while others (Pennsylvania) have not. Each day it seems as though guidelines are changing, so be sure to check out Construction Dive’s mapping page to know when your crews can (and cannot) go in the field.
- Communicate with Clients and Crews – When talking with clients, set guidelines and inform them of the safety measures you and your crews are taking to keep hands clean and follow social distancing guidelines. This will also be the time to discuss and identify guidelines for entering and exiting the property and confirm any new access points or requirements. Additionally, your crews will need to receive updates and training on how to work around the property, and each other. The social distancing requirement applies within your team as well, and to keep everyone safe and healthy, take the time to map out roles, stations and spacing requirements when active on site and working with each other. Also, be sure to integrate hand washing/hand sanitizing practices before, during and after being on the job, and all employees should dismiss themselves (or be dismissed) should they experience any signs or symptoms of illness.
- Protect Your People and Projects – The Associated General Contractors of America recently offered a webinar addressing ways to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infecting people working either in the office or on job sites. The speakers address the standard of care that the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and perhaps the common law, require you to meet. Additionally, the webinar provides practical guidance on the best practices for protecting your people and your projects, covering everything from preventative measures to protocols and procedures for responding to confirmed cases of COVID-19; AGC has made the webinar open to the public, and the video can be accessed here.
While training and proactive measures are the key to keeping business running (where possible), it is also important to be flexible with your teams and business partners. Everyone is being impacted by this pandemic, and while there should be no wiggle room when it comes to safety, it will benefit everyone in your business to be open and adaptable to new methods for conducting business and working with each other to maintain the health and safety of everyone on your team, and in your community.
To secure the latest safety training for your crews and strengthen your own safety programs, policies and procedures, contact Brauner Safety Services.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this website is for general educational purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice or guidance. Moreover, the information provided may not be accurate for circumstances or equipment at an individual facility or specific work site. The author takes no responsibility whatsoever for any person’s/entity’s use of or application of information provided on this website.