Safety Best Practices During COVID-19 | Shaun Carvalho, Vice President, Safety Shawmut Design and Construction
At Shawmut Design and Construction, the safety of our people and jobsites is our top priority. Following the first known confirmed case of COVID-19 in the U.S., Shawmut put protocols in place and closely followed the CDC for guidance. We created a cross-functional COVID-19 Crisis Team with a virtual command center that is constantly monitoring developments by the minute—helping to guide actions as necessary. By proactively tracking conditions, we provide constant guidance and communications to our on-site client and office teams and ensure we are following all local, state, and federal guidelines. These include recommendations from the CDC, local health officials, and OSHA.
Shawmut developed a robust COVID-19 safety plan, created in partnership with trade unions, industry peer groups, and other leading firms. We rolled out safety protocols, new jobsite innovation, and an exhaustive COVID-19 risk assessment and response plan to all project sites across the country, ensuring the safety of all employees and team members.
Shawmut’s Safety Protocol and Best Practices During COVID-19
We encourage any individual who is feeling sick or who is presenting any symptoms of a cold, flu, or COVID-19 to stay home and/or seek medical attention. We enforce a 100% zero tolerance policy which does not allow for anyone showing symptoms to be on the jobsite.
- Technological innovation: Shawmut developed a new custom technology platform, Shawmut Vitals, designed to check for COVID-19 symptoms and manage contact tracing to minimize and control infectious disease spread. The platform allows employees and subcontractors to self-certify daily health screenings by scanning a job-specific QR code that pulls up a health survey to fill out. If an individual is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or has been exposed to someone who is either infected or at-risk, the individual is flagged for further care and action.
- Temperature screening: Temperature screening is an early indicator of symptoms for COVID-19, so we established a few different ways to conduct these checks on our jobsites, including medical professionals on-site with thermometers who check individuals one at a time. While this is a good procedure, we knew there had to be a better way to reduce face-to-face interaction. To that end, Shawmut has implemented the use of Feevr, a device that screens for elevated temperatures. Created in response to the pandemic, Feevr enables the user to identify individuals with an elevated body temperature without making direct contact, thereby minimizing the risk of infectious disease cross- contamination.
Most recently Shawmut has ordered five new cutting- edge temperature screening products that will be shipped to locations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Florida and California.
All projects must provide access to hand washing stations, which are spread at least six feet apart to maintain social distancing. Hand washing stations have corresponding signage with proper hand washing and hygiene techniques.
Personal Protective Equipment
All standard requirements apply. When two workers are operating in close proximity to each other, face shields, safety glasses, hard hat, and face masks (N95 preferred) are worn. PPE is disinfected before being brought in personal vehicles or to homes.
All meetings are held outdoors and with appropriate social distancing in place (minimum of six feet of distance maintained between workers).
The team hosts toolbox talks related to COVID-19, distributes regular written communications on best practices to jobsite teams, and reinforces all messages with signage—written in English and Spanish—throughout high-traffic areas.
In the event of possible COVID-19 exposure, Shawmut teams will strictly follow CDC regulations, outlined in a risk assessment and decision-making flow chart that provides concrete steps and actions for on-site workers and teams.
About the Author:
Shaun Carvalho, Vice President, Safety Shawmut Design and Construction
Shaun has held a critical role in safety at Shawmut for more than 16 years. He has been a member of the AGC MA and AGC RI Safety Committee for more than 5 years and is the founding Member of Shawmut's Opioid Task Force.
Shaun Carvalho Vice President, Safety Shawmut Design and Construction
- July 14, 2020