General contractors need to make adjustments to prioritize their safety while working during this global crisis.
The current health crisis continues to plague industries worldwide. Despite the government’s financial assistance, the loosening of restrictions, and the attempt to slowly reopen in individual states, independent contractors and small businesses are still struggling to survive. General contractors servicing residential consumers are no different.
Hard-hit states have demanded that all non-essential and emergency construction projects be put on hold. Other states have implemented health and safety regulations that have increased operational costs. With no real idea as to when all this madness will end, general contractors and home improvement professionals need to make adjustments to prioritize their safety while on the job. Continue reading to learn how to safeguard yourself and your team during this global health crisis.
Safety Over Profit
Though money may be tight right now, putting yourself, staff, subcontractors, or clients at risk to earn a quick buck isn’t ideal. As homeowners contact you for jobs, assess it carefully before agreeing to the project. Consider some of the following questions:
- Is it an essential repair?
- Is the property located in a high-risk state?
- Are there any people in the home that are at greater risk of contracting the coronavirus?
- Has the client or any occupants in the home recently contracted the virus? If so, how long ago was it?
- Is the client willing to accommodate any requests you have to keep everyone safe?
- Will they be occupying the home, or will they be offsite during the project?
- Is the space large enough for social distancing?
Follow All Federal, State, and Local Requirements
Before accepting a job, you must familiarize yourself with the requirements and guidelines associated with the COVID-19 health crisis. Each entity has its own set of rules that must be followed to avoid an outbreak, fines, and other penalties. Some of those include regular temperature checks and sanitization on a construction site, wearing PPE, and practicing social distancing.
You may also be required to avoid riding with other contractors, eliminate all communal areas (i.e., coolers, eating areas, etc.), report contact tracing, and designate a Safety Coordinator to ensure compliance. Read these regulations thoroughly and frequently to ensure your business remains in compliance.
Implement Company-Wide Safety Procedures
After reviewing and familiarizing yourself with the COVID-19 regulations for construction workers and contractors, consider developing company-wide safety guidelines. You can post them on your company website, provide digital copies to clients, and ensure that all employees have reviewed, understood, and signed the document as confirmation of receipt.
Besides making sure everyone has the proper PPE, your safety procedures might include:
- Daily health questionnaires, temp checks, and regular testing for all employees
- Requiring staff to report any signs of symptoms immediately and notifying all clients
- Mandating that everyone comply with quarantine regulations if they visit high-risk states
- Thoroughly sanitize all trucks, vans, drawer systems, tools, supplies, and equipment at the beginning and end of each project.
- Utilizing side or rear doors and limiting physical contact with clients
- Sanitize all hard surfaces and common areas in clients’ homes at the end of each workday.
You might be used to visiting clients for consultations, estimates, property evaluations, contract signings, and more, but limiting your exposure is imperative to everyone’s wellbeing. As such, you must rely on digital resources to conduct business.
All estimates, invoices, and contracts should be submitted and signed electronically when possible. Project management software allows you to outline your project’s details, including the type of work, materials, and budget. Advanced platforms will enable you to delegate tasks to subcontractors and share details in real-time with clients. This keeps everyone safe while ensuring that projects are completed efficiently.
Order Supplies Online
You might be used to heading over to your favorite supplier for construction materials, but these in-person visits only increase your risk of exposure to the coronavirus. As such, order any materials or supplies online. You can have them shipped to your place of business or directly to the client’s property. For orders going directly to the client’s house, ensure that you or your workers are on hand to receive, unload, sanitize, and store the supplies.
Home improvement jobs may be on the rise amid the pandemic, but general contractors and home renovation businesses are advised to prioritize their safety while accommodating the growing demand. As their positions require them to visit multiple sites and interact with several people, companies and independent contractors must follow advice such as that provided above to protect involved parties.