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COVID-19: Workplace Health & Safety in the Asphalt Pavement Industry

 

NAPA Contact

Dr. Howard Marks, Vice President for EH&S

Hmarks@asphaltpavement.org

 

Coronavirus/COVID-19: Business and Workplace Implications Webinar

A must for business owners, HR managers, and health & safety professionals, NAPA's 90 minute webinar, presented by labor and employment attorneys with Ogletree Deakins, focuses on a company's operational labor and employment requirements during the pandemic.

 

Exposure Prevention, Preparedness, and Response Plan for the Construction Industry

Download the Construction Industry Safety Coalition’s (CISC) Response Plan here. CISC is comprised of 25 trade associations, including NAPA. The response plan, provided as a Microsoft Word template, can be tailored to individual companies. This response plan also includes a training checklist, a toolbox talk, an employee notification form, and a document that identifies that the industry is an “essential” or “critical” infrastructure industry for shelter-in-place orders. Scroll farther down this web page to read more about the asphalt road construction industry’s additional suggested practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19, and incorporate these practices into your response plan as needed.

 

State DOT COVID-19 Response Plans

 

Educating Employees About COVID-19

It is important that employers educate employees on the seriousness of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and steps they can take to avoid the spread of the disease. Individuals experiencing symptoms such as fever (especially if greater than 100), cough (often dry), body aches/headache, shortness of breath, runny/stuffy nose, chills, and general fatigue must NOT report to work. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, call your healthcare provider. See CDC's guidelines if you are sick.

OSHA requires employers to identify, assess, and mitigate/prevent/control workplace hazards. As part of this process, businesses should communicate with their employees about COVID-19, recognizing that workplace environments differ across each business sector.

 

Resources for educating employees on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

 

Preventing the Spread at the Plant and on the Jobsite

hand washing

The coronavirus, which can remain virulent in the air and on hard surfaces, is easily transmitted. To reduce transmitting the disease, public health agencies and governments emphasize – and in many cases mandate – social distancing and discourage the congregation of groups. Individuals who must work closely to each other during physically demanding activities could be at increased risk for contracting and further spreading COVID-19. To help “flatten the curve” and prevent the spread of the coronavirus, "Do the Five" [credit: Google], with additional CDC recommendations, as indicated below:

    1. HANDS: Wash them often
    2. ELBOW: Cough into it
    3. FACE: Don't touch it
    4. FEET: Stay more than 6 feet apart
    5. FEEL sick? Stay home

 

Since road construction work occurs outdoors with limited water (and soap) sources, NAPA provides the following important considerations:

    • Employees should have access to, at a minimum, disinfectant wipes, gels, and/or other materials that can help prevent the virus’s spread. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with commercially available hand sanitizer appropriate for skin and containing at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry (CDC recommendation).
    • Attention should be paid to good hand-washing techniques
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces of equipment and vehicles often and at the beginning of each day or shift. Pay special attention to handles of tools (e.g., shovels and lutes), controls, and door or faucet handles.
    • Clean hard surfaces with rubbing alcohol solutions (at least 70%) or commercially available disinfectants that are EPA-approved. Encourage employees to be mindful of ventilation while disinfecting surfaces. 
    • If you are unsure whether a hard, touchable surface has been disinfected, clean it before you touch it, and then clean it again after you are done. 
    • Some experts have suggested wearing cloth or leather gloves that might absorb viral droplets and are bulky enough to discourage individuals from touching their face. 
    • Conduct disinfection drills to ensure all equipment has been thoroughly disinfected at the beginning of the day or shift.
    • Assume everyone you come into contact with, including yourself, has the coronavirus. Social distancing, keeping your hands and face clean, not touching your face, and disinfecting touchable surfaces are easy and effective ways to prevent the spread.

 

Additional Best Practices for the Asphalt Industry

Listed below are some additional suggested practices and recommendations compiled from industry submissions, government agencies, and other trade associations. Consider implementing to minimize contracting or transmitting COVID-19, in addition to those recommendations listed above. These will be updated and/or revised as needed:

  • Minimize or eliminate face-to-face training and meetings.
  • Minimize or eliminate visitation with non-essential individuals.
  • Minimize or eliminate employee ride-sharing. If necessary, ensure no more than two individuals per vehicle. Ensure adequate ventilation, preferably fresh air, during the vehicular transportation of employees.
  • Minimize or eliminate transfer of paper tickets or cash. Be careful of using electronic payment tools and ensure the surface is clean or disinfected.
  • Minimize or eliminate sharing of pens.
  • Attempt to use/drive the same truck, piece of equipment, or tool; ensure it is disinfected after use.
  • Request third-party haulers to remain in their vehicles, if possible.
  • Segregate delivery personnel from plant personnel.
  • Maintain social distancing as much as possible, do not shake hands, and do not congregate.
  • In lieu of using a common source of drinking water, consider individual water bottles.
  • The Tennessee DOT published two documents that may provide additional best practices: TennDOT Guidance for Minimum Cleaning Standards and TennDOT Regional Guidance for Addressing Covid-19

 

Documenting Hazard Mitigation Strategies

  1. Ensure daily that employees are not symptomatic or have tested positive for COVID-19 (This needs to be conducted by an authorized representative, e.g., HR).
  2. Develop a company policy for requiring employees to stay home or self-quarantine.
  3. Consider developing an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan: OSHA has recommended classifying a worker’s exposure to COVID-19 based on a worker’s or the employment type risk factor. For example, office workers, individuals directly interacting with others or groups, high-risk individuals, etc. Examples are available on the Internet for municipalities. See Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, starting on p. 7.

 

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OSHA Guidance Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

There is no specific OSHA Standard covering coronavirus; however, OSHA has highlighted standards and directives that may apply to the prevention of occupational exposure to Coronavirus.

 

 

OSHA provides guidance for recording workplace exposures to COVID-19

OSHA recordkeeping requirements at 29 CFR Part 1904 mandate covered employers record certain work-related injuries and illnesses on their OSHA 300 log.

 

COVID-19 can be a recordable illness if a worker is infected as a result of performing their work-related duties. However, employers are only responsible for recording cases of COVID-19 if all the following conditions are met:

    1. The case is a confirmed case of COVID-19 (see CDC information on persons under investigation and presumptive positive and laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19);
    2. The case is work-related, as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5; and
    3. The case involves one or more of the general recording criteria set forth in 29 CFR 1904.7 (e.g. medical treatment beyond first-aid, days away from work)

 

Visit OSHA's Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements page for more information.

 

OSHA Links

NAPA encourages you to visit the following links from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA):     

 

Johns Hopkins Virus Tracker

The Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) is tracking the COVID-19 spread in real-time on their interactive dashboard with data available for download. They are also modeling the spread of the virus. Preliminary study results are discussed in their blog. View the model at https://systems.jhu.edu/