protect workers. This requires careful consideration of the
nature of the work and jobsites affected so that the required
public health measures, and any other reasonable precautions,
can be implemented efficiently and in a manner that
workers will accept and follow.
Best practices for construction site pandemic plans
Have a written protocol
Industry professionals should have proper written protocols,
procedures and policies in place that show consideration of
the issues that have arisen as a result of COVID-19.
Written protocols have several benefits as they minimize
confusion over how to operate and work safely on the jobsite
during the pandemic. Specific and robust written protocols
demonstrate that a company has turned its mind to key
OHS issues. If any questions are asked, or any complaints
are raised, the company will have a document outlining all
of its safety measures readily available to provide clarity
In terms of what those written protocols should look like,
caution should be exercised with respect to the adoption of
cookie-cutter, standard policies copied from others. Industry
professionals should consider the unique aspects of their jobsites
and reflect those differences in their written protocols.
Protocols that are designed to fit a specific work, trade and/
or jobsite are often easier to implement and more readily followed
and adhered to by workers.
Public health orders continuously evolve as more is
understood about the virus, how it is transmitted and how
to protect from it. Therefore, the construction industry must
keep up-to-date and modifications to particular OHS protocols
may be necessary over time.
Specific protocols applicable to construction sites
Industry professionals should consider implementing
the below protocols and provide proper training
• Physical distancing. Various measures to maintain
space between workers and others on jobsites including
physical barricades, distancing requirements, remote
communication (i.e. radios), organizing/altering floorplans
or corridors for one-way movement through work areas
and stairwells to ensure physical distancing requirements
• Hygiene rules. Hygiene rules should be created and posted
in the workplace, and should set out the rules around the
frequency in which employees should wash their hands and
how often hygiene supplies (i.e. soap, sanitizer, paper towels,
clean water, etc.) are checked and replenished.
• Site sanitization. Proper sanitization methods should be
reinforced, with protocols on how often frequently touched
and shared surfaces should be cleaned and the process for
• Pre-entry screening. Workers should be informed of their
obligation to self-report. Employers should consider creating
and providing a questionnaire for workers and others
entering jobsites, which asks about their or their families’
recent travel history, whether they are experiencing any
flu-like symptoms and whether they or someone they
have close contact with has recently been diagnosed with
COVID-19. All persons must be clearly informed that failure
to self-report, or filing a misleading self-report, can lead to
permanent removal from the jobsite.
• Temperature check. As a part of pre-entry screening,
employers may implement temperature screening procedures
for those that are on site. However, temperature
testing information should be kept private. It is recommended
that a specific and limited number of people are
responsible for the entire screening process, and for overseeing
the self-reporting of employees to ensure privacy.
• Personal protective equipment. Appropriate personal
protective equipment policies should be updated, as appropriate,
to include masks, gloves, and/or face shields, and
how often these supplies are replenished.
• Restricting site access. Constructors and employers should
consider restricting site access to only those who must be
on site and require contactless deliveries of any materials or
equipment where possible and reasonably practical.
• Contact tracing. Employers should consider maintaining a
mandatory sign-in sheet for everyone entering jobsites that
indicates who that person will be meeting or working with
so effective contact tracing can be done if necessary.
• Staggered shifts. Implementing staggered start and
end times to the workday and to lunch breaks is an
option for reducing unnecessary contact and promoting
Safety signage reminding crews to practise social distancing
have become commonplace in the wake of COVID-19
68 Q3 2020 www.pilingcanada.ca