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Teaming Up to Take on COVID-19
July 10, 2020
The construction industry thrives on friendly competition – except when it comes to safety.
In the wake of uncertainty caused by COVID-19, Balfour Beatty teams have played an active role in keeping our jobsites safe through enhanced cleaning, screening and physical distancing measures. We’ve also taken the opportunity to collaborate with industry partners. As the #9 top general contractor (Charlotte Business Journal 2020), Balfour Beatty’s Charlotte Buildings team was recently tapped for their expertise to join a local industry response team, the Charlotte Commercial Construction Coalition (4C).
With more than 30 local contractors and multiple trade partners, county officials and more – 4C was initially rallied as a forum to discuss best practices, solutions and concerns around COVID-19. However, as more participants joined, the group’s purpose has rapidly expanded and evolved to cover much more, discussing topics like workplace safety, physical distancing, worker morale and how to access in-demand personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies.
For many commercial projects, a common safety concern includes the presence of hundreds of people on a jobsite at once, with some often working in close proximity. However, due to COVID-19, most of the once-standard jobsite safety guidelines have changed drastically. Namely, jobsites have begun working rotating shifts, staggering breaks, screening temperatures upon arrival, conducting virtual meetings and more.
Thanks to 4C and other industry partnerships, contractors have and are continuing to make strides in creating safer jobsite environments, including installing blue tape on elevator or buck hoist floors and various other visual cues to ensure compliance with physical distancing requirements. Additionally, new guidelines set for shared equipment requires workers to either not share the equipment or sanitize frequently touched objects consistently throughout the day.
“The best thing we can do for our industry and community is band together,” said Hunt Werner, project executive and representative member of Balfour Beatty for the 4C. “Balfour Beatty is proud to lead this charge. As an essential business, we understand it is imperative to work with other contractors, local industry organizations and leaders to set the bar high, share our best practices and work to obtain resources to keep our teammates, partners and jobsites safe.”
One of the most pressing issues during the pandemic has been obtaining supplies. For a significant time period, retailers were out of stock of goods such as disinfectant wipes, cleaning products, hand sanitizer and masks. However, the need for supplies to keep jobsites safe and running never diminished. 4C worked together to compile the best sources for vital health products to keep jobsites sanitary and clean. As a best practice, this has remained beneficial for smaller businesses and trades that might still have trouble sourcing them.
Among the many accomplishments of this organization, the most significant has been the development of standardized safety guidelines that 4C members have all agreed to uphold. By deciding to use the same universal baseline standards, trade partners also have a strong assurance of the minimum requirements that will apply to all jobsites, some of which have implemented even further safety requirements.
Beyond the Charlotte team’s contributions to the 4C, they have also innovated the temperature screening process by developing mobile screening carts. Using Hikvision Thermographic Temperature Screening Bullet Cameras, these carts allow for rapid temperature readings upon entry to jobsites and serve as a central hub for the distribution of signage, hand sanitizer and wristbands signifying a person’s temperature has been scanned and is cleared to work. The mobile nature of the cart provides jobsite teams with greater agility, as access points may evolve over project lifecycles.
Although COVID-19 has brought a considerable amount of uncertainty to our country and our industry, one thing remains true – Balfour Beatty is committed to Zero Harm for our teammates and partners on every jobsite through continuous collaboration and innovative best practices.