One of the major questions that came up repeatedly during the initial outbreak of COVID-19 was, “What jobs are essential and why?” It was an issue that every state government had to make. Some industries shut down, others adapted to a working from home model, while those labeled essentials pressed forward, taking as many necessary safety precautions as possible.
The construction industry found itself in limbo. New state mandates determined whether operations continued, slowed, or stopped entirely. At this time, most states listed construction as one of the few industries and businesses considered essential.
While Utah (where our headquarters is located) never had a statewide “stay at home” or “shelter in place” order, Governor Gary Herbert issued a “Stay Safe, Stay Home” directive on March 27, 2020. It was then left to the county government to decide if further measures were necessary.
As the economy starts opening back up on an even larger scale, there are many lessons that we can learn. Let’s discuss what those are, particularly for those in construction.
Construction is Essential (but with some exceptions)
As mentioned before, most states deemed construction work as essential, but why? At its most basic level, the construction industry provides critical services for all residents. From structures for public safety and welfare to buildings that facilitate daily activities, construction work maintains and improves our nation’s infrastructure. Not to mention providing the labor for energy and communication systems, roads, bridges, and infrastructure such as police, fire, and healthcare facilities.
If another similar scenario happens again, governments and its population must recognize the importance of this work. There will always be a risk of contracting infectious diseases in any line of work. Fortunately for construction, most job sites have a working structure already in place that limits interaction.
Health and Safety Should Always Be Our Core Value
Along with limited social interaction, construction sites are also tightly controlled, with safety topping the list of priorities for any project. Health, wellness, and safety should never be a question for any construction worker. However, now is the time where all in the construction industry can renew that commitment.
Every organization in the industry (down to the individual contractor level) should take time to reflect on any standards they might be missing. Wollam Construction commits to doing the same and communicating any updated techniques to every level of our organization, no matter the job.
Since its inception, Wollam held a longstanding belief that all worksite injuries, occupational illnesses, and environmental incidents are preventable. That is why our number one commitment is to have none of them.
The last few months have only deepened that dedication. Health and safety will remain our first priority and at the core of our company values. Along with implementing programs that monitor health, we conduct regular training sessions to ensure that every Wollam employee understands any new safety standards and requirements.
The Construction Industry Can Quickly Adapt
The outbreak of COVID-19 and its resulting events also proved that the construction industry knows how to adapt. When some cities limited the type of construction work allowed during the period, construction companies found ways to restructure.
Many leaders in the industry personally communicated with government officials to learn what practices they should implement. Since the pandemic rapidly changed week-to-week, construction businesses did their best to stay ahead of the curve and take any advice given.
Even as many states allowed construction to continue, some businesses figured out ways to cut back on interaction and limit the spread. These changes included digital communication with workers and clients, closing sites that were less essential than others, and setting up health protocols for those in the field. A few other actions made include:
- Limiting the number of employees in work crews
- Maintaining social distancing whenever possible
- Staggering work periods and discouraging communal meetings
- Delivering job-wide communications digitally
- Holding in-person meetings in spaces that allow social distancing
Learning the Coronavirus Takeaways with Wollam Construction
While the pandemic isn’t over, the team at Wollam Construction is continuing to adapt as we go. Our team understands the importance of health and safety on our projects. We work with our clients figuring out what is best for everyone involved.
We also recognize the need for company growth, but never put the quality of our client’s projects or safety of our team at risk. That is why when we pursue a project, we ensure that our team has the experience, expertise, and capacity to make it successful. All of these commitments remain true in the light of future events and as we move forward in our work.
To learn more about how Wollam Construction works, contact us. We would love to discuss your project and figure out a way of getting it done safely.