Since mid-March, organizations such as the Construction Industry Safety Coalition and Occupational Safety (CISC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have provided resources and safety recommendations at jobsites to ensure the safety of construction employers, employees, and contractors from exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19). Chief among these practices are recommendations to maintain physical distancing, to wash and sanitize hands frequently, and to wear properly-fitting masks and eye protection. Hayward Score recently released additional safety recommendations for jobsites: increasing indoor ventilation and managing dust.
“COVID-19 is an opportunity for the building industry to demonstrate discipline and leadership and keep workers safe,” Bill Hayward, founder and CEO of Hayward Score and CEO and chief sustainability officer at California-based Hayward Lumber, said in a news release. “Overall, most jobsites are doing well at implementing the basics: social distancing, handwashing and sanitizing, and wearing recommended face masks and safety glasses. But, it is critical that we also increase indoor ventilation and manage dust as part of jobsite safety protocol.”
Hayward Score, an online tool that measures the impact a home has on residents’ health, developed the additional recommendations after reviewing publicly-available scientific research and expert recommendations and combining the information with its own lessons learned from working to minimize risk in indoor residential spaces.
Research has demonstrated COVID-19 can be spread through aerosol transmission and can attach to larger particles, such as those that may comprise construction dust. Hayward Score said such risks make it important to increase ventilation to greater than 5 air changes per hour and improve dust removal methods.
Ventilation can be achieved through simple measures, such as cracking a window in each room and adding box fans to selected window openings. High-grade, HEPA-filtered jobsite vacuums or vents can be used to help minimize dust. According to Hayward Score, brooms and standard vacuums should not be used because they may recirculate particles rather than remove them.