AIHA recently announced that it has issued a new guidance document, “Focus on Construction Health: COVID-19,” to help the construction community deal with the challenges of responding to COVID-19 by providing a practical plan for protecting workers. Developed by AIHA’s Construction Committee, the guidance reportedly provides easy-to-use, accurate information from experts on construction health hazards about how the virus can be controlled on construction sites.

“This document will help construction companies identify potentially high-exposure tasks and determine appropriate and useful controls,” said Bill Geer, CIH, project team leader for the document and volunteer for AIHA’s Construction Committee. “It addresses the types of questions that COVID-19 site safety officers, competent persons, construction managers, and superintendents may need to answer every day.”

The new document gives construction employers critical information on the factors that affect workplace exposures to COVID-19. It provides a seven-step plan for protecting workers on construction worksites using the hierarchy of controls. The plan includes a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) step to tailor precautions and controls to site-specific tasks and changing conditions. A resource section provides links to other existing guidance materials useful for construction.

“COVID-19 presents an unprecedented and rapidly changing situation compared to other well-established construction health hazards,” said Geer. “New information about the spread of infection and the potential for effective controls continues to develop from many sources. This document is intended to provide a clear summary of abundant technical information that is relevant to construction industry employers and managers to guide their efforts.

“The JSA process is already familiar to construction employers, as they implement all aspects of their safety program. Construction is a very creative and problem-solving sector, and we are confident that construction employers and employees will adapt to and move beyond the COVID-19 hazard.”

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