Nobody wants to think about, but everybody is talking about it – the dreaded Covid-19 shutdowns. Depending on where you are in the United States right now, you could be in quarantine, hearing news of impending closures or completely free and clear of shutdowns for a while. No matter where you are or what the infection rate may be for your community today, it is time to have a plan; if there is one thing this pandemic has taught us is to be prepared, for anything. The state of business, safety precautions and requirements have been seemingly fluid and evolving over the last several months, and even if you don’t have a mandated shutdown planned for now or in the near future, chances are that there could be one down the road.
For this reason, here are a few tips for being proactive and having a plan in case you are required to shut down a job site and/or operations for any reason:
- Communicate – Depending on your backlog and current load of projects, you most likely have open jobs at varying stages. If you have not already done so, now is the time to have open communication with your clients about your plan and procedures should a shutdown be on the horizon. Inform them of how their job site will be handled and secured, as well as any impact it will have on the project timeline. Even if your area is not subject to a shutdown in the near future, your client will appreciate you keeping them informed, rather than alarmed at the last minute.
- Speed it up (when possible) – Do you have a few jobs that could be put on the fast track at this point? While the ultimate goal for any construction professional is to be on time and on (or under) budget with every project, it is important that if you have any potential for early completion of a job that you consider speeding up the process now. The fewer projects that you have open if a shutdown is put into play, the better.
- Secure it – Securing materials on a job site should be an integral part every project, but in the case of a shut down, your security measures may be spread thin. For this reason, it is important to have a plan for securing and/or storing roofing materials, equipment and access to your projects should you need to put them on hold for an unexpected and extended period of time.
- Take Care of Employees – Just as you should be transparent with clients about potential shutdowns, you should also keep communication open with your employees. How will you handle a shutdown? How will it impact payroll, schedules, and their employment upon returning? Let them know what to expect so that they can feel secure in their position with your company and remain engaged on the job while you are still fully operational. For all office and other positions that can work from home, have clear expectations and processes in place for managing duties, and tracking/reporting progress.
- Make Use of Time – In the case that your business is impacted by a shutdown, plan on using the additional time to address team development and safety training. If you cannot have crew members out on projects, consider keeping them connected through attending regular meetings (via Zoom), working on team building and educational development, as well as reinforcing safety training. From Fall Protection, CERTA, OSHA and COVID-19 safety training programs, Brauner Safety Services can help you convert down time into valuable time for safety and team development.
As once stated by Benjamin Franklin, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Through being proactive and planning now, you can be sure for the best possible outcome and success down the road.
With more than 40 years of experience, Jim Brauner (Brauner Safety Services) is a trusted leader in job site safety training and CERTA. At Brauner Safety Services, we take pride in driving OSHA and CERTA training standards forward, focusing on efficiency, quality and safety. Jim Brauner offers custom and personalized safety education programs and CERTA training throughout the contiguous United States. To book your safety consultation or training, contact Jim Brauner today.