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Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) poses a huge threat to businesses and their employees in 2020, and contractors in the roofing industry are no different.
Although roofing work typically takes place outside and away from the general public - it does not mean your workforce is safe from the spread of this virus. Keeping the workforce safe during this pandemic is a key priority for every business and poses some unique challenges to our industry.
In this post, we pass along some practical guidance for roofing contractors to help keep your team as safe as possible during this public health crisis.
The essential guidelines for the safety of the general public apply to roofing contractors:
There are a number of additional steps roofing contractors can take to mitigate the specific risks associated with roofing repair work.
Creating a dedicated Coronavirus Policy (the “Policy”) outlining the working practices, risks and steps your team needs to take is an excellent starting point. This document should be updated regularly, in line with the latest advice from the CDC, and any applicable federal, state and local orders/guidelines.
Copies of the Policy should be sent electronically to all your team members to ensure they know what is expected of them, and the reasons behind any new requirements. This will help to minimize disruption and ensure compliance with the new ways of working.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), certain people are at increased risk for developing serious and potentially life-threatening complications from COVID-19. Potential factors for these individuals include age, and underlying medical conditions such as heart, lung and liver disease, diabetes, severe obesity, and compromised immune systems. Further information on these factors can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-at-higher-risk.html
It is extra important that these members of your workforce take precautions to reduce the risk of getting sick - and as a business, extra steps to protect these members may include altering their work practices, wherever possible, to minimize contact with other workers and to maximize the space between them, regardless of PPE and enhanced shielding that may be broadly in use.
Employees at serious risk may be able to claim paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) - additional information about this can be found at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave.
Wherever possible, steps should be taken to minimize in-person contact between you, your team, your customers and the general public.
Moving as much communication online as possible is one effective way to support physical distancing:
Taking steps to ensure safe working practices on-site is imperative. The current rule of thumb for adequate distancing is that individuals should stay at least 6ft away from one another at all times. The same principle should be applied to working practices, with team members maintaining a safe distance on-site at all times.
Other methods of maintaining a safe distance may include:
One effective method for mitigating the potential spread of coronavirus is to identify/organize formal teams or smaller groups that operate in shifts whenever possible, and otherwise maintain complete separation between them at all possible times.
Where possible, set up a dedicated handwashing station (or stations for teams working concurrently among other teams). If this is impractical for a particular project, then providing a plentiful supply of hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content may be an acceptable alternative.
Allowing for additional hygiene breaks and setting up dedicated policies to encourage regular handwashing is imperative.
Wearing gloves offers only limited protection and is not a substitute replacement for regular handwashing.
COVID-19 has the potential to survive on surfaces for several days. For this reason, it is important that workplaces, surfaces and shared tools/items are sanitized regularly. These surfaces include:
Wherever possible, individual team member should not share tools, including sharing among separate teams. When unavoidable, such shared items should be properly sanitized prior to exchange with another team or team member.
As of May 5th, 2020, CDC guidance on the use of face coverings included:
“Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public…”
As such, at a minimum, providing your workforce with cloth face coverings/masks to be worm at all times should be consider a best practice in helping reduce the potential for infection on site, as well as to provide your workforce with additional reassurance. Additional information on the CDC recommendations can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover.html.
For roofing repairs and applications that specifically require respiratory protection, employers may consider using alternative types of respirators that offer equal or greater protection to that of an N95 mask, as a way to support the available supply of these masks to front-line healthcare workers. Alternatives include National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health non-disposable, elastomeric respirators and powered, air-purifying respirators.
Keep working safely throughout the crisis to GE Silicones Enduris Roof Coatings.
For new construction and restoration projects alike, GE Silicones Enduris Roof Coatings offer a complete silicone coating system that can significantly extend your roof life expectancy.
Applying GE Enduris roof coating couldn’t be easier – and a single coat can provide 20 years of protection*. The 100% silicone solution requires no mixing, and no primers, and is available in a range of standard and custom colors to suit virtually any project.
Applied directly to a variety of substrates, including TPO, PVC, EPDM, Mod-Bit, Metal and SPF, with spray, roller or brush - creates a waterproof, resilient and seamless barrier against leaks, to extend roof life and reduce the need for maintenance.
For additional information about GE Enduris roof coatings, visit us here or contact your local
representative today. We are here to help (or something along those lines).
From minor leaks to full roof restoration, our 100% silicone solutions can effectively repair and provide long term protection for your roof.
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