Protecting Construction Crews From Health and Safety Risks

Photo by Earl Dotter/CPWR

While construction companies must be diligent in protecting their crews—such as keeping all tools and equipment sanitized and enabling social distancing between construction workers when possible—it is also up to each worker to protect themselves and promote a healthy and safe worksite.

Our Healthier Workplaces: Guidance for Construction Environments, 2nd edition guidance document was created in collaboration with the AIHA construction committee using the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. Its goal is to provide construction workers and leaders with a clear and actionable safety plan to protect teams from evolving health concerns.

The guide discusses various considerations and recommendations for construction work employees, employers, and job site visitors. The goal of this guide is to help construction workers know how to protect themselves, with specific guidance on:

How construction employees can protect themselves from health risks:

  • Social distancing protocols for construction workers

  • Proactive measures to monitor one’s health and protect team members

  • What construction employees should do if they think they have been exposed to COVID-19 or a similar virus

  • Personal protective equipment considerations for on-site construction crew members

  • Recommendations for restructuring weekly toolbox talks and all-hands meetings to ensure team safety

How construction employers can protect their workers from health risks:

  • Information on the essential personal protective equipment that employers should provide to all construction workers

  • Suggestions for how to limit the number of job site crew and visitors, including how companies can use a daily visitor log for contact tracing

  • How to restructure work shifts to isolate and compartmentalize staff

  • Daily activities to monitor employees’ wellness

  • Best practices for sanitizing construction equipment and how to reduce the risk of spreading viruses when using shared tools or pieces of equipment

How OEHS Professionals Can Support Construction Workers

Protecting the health of construction workers is even more challenging than protecting them from injury because construction workers—especially employees of smaller firms—are seldom tied to a single task or workplace. Construction workers are often at risk for exposure to welding fumes and solvent vapors, silica dust, noise, abrasive blasting, heat stress, and more.

An Occupational And Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS) professional can give you a competitive edge by safeguarding your crews and reducing the direct and indirect costs caused by workplace hazards, including equipment damage, lawsuits, and medical expenses.

Specifically, an OEHS expert will:

  • Assess occupational illness risks for your construction team

  • Help identify gaps in training and the use of personal protective equipment

  • Assess exposure to harmful chemical, biological, physical, and ergonomic hazards

  • Make recommendations to reduce exposure to those health risks

In the ‘Resources by Type,’ below, you will find more information about how OEHS professionals help construction teams. If you’re ready to partner with an OEHS expert to safeguard your team, find a consultant through AIHA’s Consultant Directory.

    Download the free Construction Industry infographic.

    Resources by type

    To learn more about how to protect the health and safety of construction workers, we encourage you to review these resources: