In Basement Remodeling by Adam Jensen / June 23, 2020
Finished Basements Plus takes the health and safety of our employees very seriously. With the spread of the Coronavirus or “COVID-19,” a respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we all must remain vigilant in mitigating the outbreak. This is particularly true for the construction industry, which can be deemed “essential” during this Declared National Emergency. In order to be safe and maintain operations, we have developed this COVID-19 Exposure Prevention, Preparedness, and Response Plan to be implemented throughout the Company and at all of our job sites. We have also identified a team of employees to monitor available U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) guidance on the virus.
We have compiled sanitizing and safety boxes that are in place on each job site and every truck which include:
Informational postings for every job site include:
- Door sleeve with red and green card on the door at point of entry
- MSDS sheet for all chemicals onsite
- COVID-19 Basic prevention poster
- COVID-19 Checklist for Employers and Employees
COVID Monitor Team
These are specific staff members who will be responsible for being informed of updates regarding the latest available COVID-19 information, and responding as needed.
General FBP worksite guidelines
- At all job sites there will be a sleeve on the door at the point of entry with a red card or a green card. If the red card is displayed no one is to enter the job site. If it has a green card, the job site is open and the following procedures should be followed.
- Each person entering an FBP job site must self-certify daily at each job site visited by submitting the unique QR code survey posted on the door used as the point of entry. If anyone answers yes to ANY question in the survey, they are not to enter the job site, they are to follow the prompts at the end of the survey to contact our team.
- Everyone is always required to wear a face mask and gloves while onsite. You must have PPE on your body before entering any FBP job site.
- There will only be one crew scheduled to a job at one time. Finished Basements Plus will be limiting the number of people working onsite to under 10 at a time.
- We have asked our homeowners to follow a 6’ social distancing of our trade partners, to wear a mask during any conversations with workers.
- All staff are required to follow the sanitizing protocol in our COVID protection plan.
- There will be a spray bottle with sanitizer, paper towels and hand sanitizer/wipes placed at the base of the stairs.
- All doorknobs, lock box, handrails, light switches, windows used and frequently touched surfaces leading to and from and within the job site must be wiped with a sanitizing wipe by each trade as they come and go each day. Any surfaces touched in the homeowner’s bathroom should be wiped with a sanitizing wipe.
- We have also asked homeowners to keep out of the work area unless it is necessary for them to be there.
Meetings With Homeowners
- Virtual meetings are available whenever possible, this includes sales appointments and selection meetings
- When in person meetings in the office are required all participants, including the homeowner, will be required to wear a face mask and gloves. If the homeowner does not have then, they will be provided by FBP. The homeowner and designer should position themselves 6’ away from each other whenever possible. This means letting the owner look at samples at the round table while staying by the computer
Steve Iverson, Owner of Finished Basements Plus created a video to describe our detailed procedures.
Finished Basements Plus has also compiled the following procedures to ensure the safety and health of our employees and homeowners:
Responsibilities of Managers and Supervisors
All managers and supervisors must be familiar with this Plan and be ready to answer questions from employees. Managers and supervisors must set a good example by following this plan at all times. This involves practicing good personal hygiene and job site safety practices to prevent the spread of the virus. Managers and supervisors must encourage this same behavior from all employees.
Responsibilities of Employees
We are asking every one of our employees to help with our prevention efforts while at work. In order to minimize the spread of COVID-19 at our job sites, we all must play our part. As set forth below, Finished Basements Plus has instituted various housekeeping, social distancing, and other best practices at our job sites. All employees must follow these. In addition, employees are expected to report to their managers or supervisors if they are experiencing signs or symptoms of COVID-19, as described below.
OSHA and the CDC have provided the following control and preventative guidance to all workers, regardless of exposure risk:
- Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and running water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Follow appropriate respiratory etiquette, which includes covering for coughs and sneezes.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
In addition, employees must familiarize themselves with the symptoms of COVID-19:
- Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
- Early symptoms such as chills, body aches, sore throat, headache, diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, and runny nose.
Job Site Protective Measures
Finished Basements Plus has instituted the following protective measures at all job sites.
General Safety Policies and Rules
- Any employee/contractor/visitor showing symptoms of COVID-19 will be asked to leave the job site and return home.
- Safety meetings will be by telephone or video conference if possible. If safety meetings are conducted in-person, attendance will be collected verbally and the foreman/superintendent will sign-in each attendee or it will be done through a QR code survey. Attendance will not be tracked through passed-around sign-in sheets or mobile devices. During any in-person safety meetings, avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people and participants must remain at least six (6) feet apart.
- Employees must avoid physical contact with others and direct employees/contractors/visitors to increase personal space to at least six (6) feet, where possible. Where work trailers/box trucks are used, only necessary employees should enter the trailers and all employees should maintain social distancing while inside the trailers.
- All in-person meetings will be limited. To the extent possible, meetings will be conducted by telephone or video conference.
- Employees will be encouraged to stagger breaks and lunches, if practicable, to reduce the size of any group at any one time to less than ten (10) people. It is also encouraged for people to bring their own lunch/snacks daily, in a personal cooler, to eliminate additional outside contact.
- Finished Basements Plus understands that due to the nature of our work, access to running water for hand washing may be impracticable. In these situations, the Company will provide, if available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers and/or wipes.
- Employees should limit the use of co-workers’ tools and equipment. To the extent tools must be shared, the Company will provide alcohol-based wipes or some other type of antibacterial to clean tools before and after use. When cleaning tools and equipment, consult manufacturing recommendations for proper cleaning techniques and restrictions.
- Employees must wear facemasks at all times, this can be fabric or paper. Employees should limit the need for N95 respirator use, by using engineering and work practice controls to minimize dust. Such controls include the use of water delivery and dust collection systems, as well as limiting exposure time.
- Finished Basements Plus will divide crews/staff into small teams where possible, so that projects can continue working effectively in the event that one of the divided teams is required to quarantine.
- As part of the division of crews/staff, the Company will designate employees into dedicated teams, at which point, employees will remain with their dedicated team on a daily basis. If there is a legitimate reason for an employee to change team, the Company will have sole discretion in making that alteration.
- Employees are encouraged to minimize ride-sharing. When traveling in a shared vehicle, employees must wear a face mask and ensure adequate ventilation of the cabin.
- If practicable, employees should use/drive the same truck or piece of equipment every shift.
- In lieu of using a common source of drinking water, such as a cooler, employees should use individual water bottles.
Workers entering Occupied Building and Homes
- When employees perform construction and maintenance activities within occupied homes, office buildings, and other establishments, these work locations present unique hazards with regards to COVID-19 exposures. All such workers should evaluate the specific hazards when determining best practices related to COVID-19.
- During this work, employees must sanitize the work areas upon arrival, throughout the workday, and immediately before departure. The Company will provide alcohol-based wipes or some other EPA approved sanitizer for this purpose.
- Employees should ask other occupants if encountered to keep a personal distance of six (6) feet at a minimum. Workers should wash or sanitize hands immediately before starting and after completing the work.
Job Site Visitors
- The number of visitors to the job site will be limited to only those necessary for the work.
- All visitors MUST self-certify in advance of arriving on the job site using the QR code survey at each FBP job site and office building . If the visitor answers “yes” to any of the following questions, he/she should not be permitted to access the job site:
- Have you been confirmed positive for COVID-19?
- Are you currently experiencing, or recently experienced, any acute respiratory illness symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath?
- Have you been in close contact with any persons who has been confirmed positive for COVID-19?
- Have you been in close contact with any persons who have traveled and are also exhibiting acute respiratory illness symptoms?
- Site deliveries will be permitted but should be properly coordinated in line with the employer’s minimal contact and cleaning protocols. Outside delivery personnel should remain in their vehicles if at all possible.
Personal Protective Equipment and Work Practice Controls
- In addition to regular PPE for workers engaged in various tasks (fall protection, hard hats, hearing protection), employers will also provide:
- Gloves: Gloves should be worn at all times while on-site. The type of glove worn should be appropriate to the task. If gloves are not typically required for the task, then any type of glove is acceptable, including latex gloves. Employees should avoid sharing gloves.
- Masks: A face mask is to be worn at all times on while on all job sites and office buildings. It can be cloth or paper.
- Eye protection: Eye protection should be worn at all times while on-site.
- NOTE: The CDC is currently not recommending that healthy people wear N95 respirators to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but a cloth face mask should be worn at all times. Employees should wear N95 respirators if required by the work and if available.
- Due to the current shortage of N95 respirators, the following Work Practice Controls should be followed:
- Keep dust down by using engineering and work practice controls, specifically through the use of water mist and or dust collection systems.
- Limit exposure time to the extent practicable.
- Isolate workers in dusty operations by using a containment structure or distance to limit dust exposure to those employees who are conducting the tasks, thereby protecting nonessential workers and bystanders.
- Institute a rigorous housekeeping program to reduce dust levels on the job site. Vacuum frequently rather than sweeping.
Job Site Cleaning and Disinfecting
Finished Basements Plus has instituted regular housekeeping practices, which includes cleaning and disinfecting frequently used tools and equipment, and other elements of the work environment, where possible. Employees should regularly do the same in their assigned work areas.
- Job site break/lunchroom areas will be cleaned at least once per day. Employees performing cleaning will be issued proper personal protective equipment (“PPE”), such as nitrile, latex, or vinyl gloves and gowns, as recommended by the CDC.
- Any trash collected must be changed frequently by someone wearing nitrile, latex, or vinyl gloves.
- All doorknobs, lock box, handrails, light switches, windows used and frequently touched surfaces leading to and from and within the job site must be wiped with a sanitizing wipe by each trade as the come and go each day.
- When used, any portable job site toilets should be cleaned by the leasing company at least twice per week and disinfected on the inside. The Company will ensure that hand sanitizer dispensers are always filled. Frequently touched items (i.e. door pulls and toilet seats) will be disinfected frequently. Homeowner bathrooms should have all surfaces touched (i.e. door pulls, faucet and toilet seats) wiped with disinfecting wipes after each use.
- Vehicles and equipment/tools should be cleaned at least once per day and before change in operator or rider.
- If an employee has tested positive for COVID-19, OSHA has indicated that there is typically no need to perform special cleaning or decontamination of work environments, unless those environments are visibly contaminated with blood or other bodily fluids. Notwithstanding this, the Company will clean those areas of the job site that a confirmed-positive individual may have come into contact with before employees can access that work space again.
- Finished Basements Plus will ensure that any disinfection shall be conducted using one of the following:
- Common EPA-registered household disinfectant;
- Alcohol solution with at least 60% alcohol; or
- Diluted household bleach solutions (these can be used if appropriate for the surface).
- Finished Basements Plus will maintain Safety Data Sheets of all disinfectants used on site.
Job Site Exposure Situations
Employee Exhibiting COVID-19 Symptoms
If an employee exhibits COVID-19 symptoms, the employee must remain at home until he or she is symptom free for 72 hours (3 full days) without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines. Finished Basements Plus will similarly require an employee that reports to work with symptoms to return home until they are symptom free for 72 hour (3 full days). To the extent practical, employees are required to obtain a doctor’s note clearing them to return to work.
Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19
An employee that tests positive for COVID-19 will be directed to self-quarantine away from work. Employees that test positive and are symptom free may return to work when at least seven (7) days have passed since the date of his or her first positive test, and have not had a subsequent illness. Employees that test positive and are directed to care for themselves at home may return to work when: at least 72 hours (3 full days) have passed since recovery; and at least seven (7) days have passed since symptoms first appeared. Employees that test positive and have been hospitalized may return to work when directed to do so by their medical care provider. The Company will require an employee to provide documentation clearing their return to work.
Trade Partner Tests Positive for COVID-19
If a trade partners employee that has been on a Finished Basements Plus job site or office tests positive for COVID-19, you must contact Finished Basements plus immediately. The Employee Notification document should also be used for this purpose. Fill in the heading, first and last paragraph, it can be faxed or emailed.
Employee Has Close Contact with a Tested Positive COVID-19 Individual
Employees that have come into close contact with a confirmed-positive COVID-19 individual (co-worker or otherwise), will be directed to self-quarantine for 14 days from the last date of close contact with the carrier. Close contact is defined as six (6) feet for a prolonged period of time.
If Finished Basements Plus learns that an employee has tested positive, we will conduct an investigation into co-workers that may have had close contact with the confirmed-positive employee in the prior 14 days. We will direct those individuals that have had close contact with the confirmed-positive employee to self-quarantine for 14 days from the last date of close contact with the carrier. If an employee learns that he or she has come into close contact with a confirmed-positive individual outside of the workplace, he/she must alert a manager or supervisor of the close contact and also self-quarantine for 14 days from the last date of close contact with the carrier.
Recovery is defined as: resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath).
Finished Basements Plus is actively working to ensure the safety and health of not only our employees but our homeowners during all phases of the basement remodeling project.