New CNESST standards for construction sites | Covid-19

CNESST – COVID 19 construction sites

In order to protect the construction sector and its workers from the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the CNESST committee for COVID-19 construction sites was created. The committee was created with the help and involvement of the public health department as well as union and employer organizations in the construction sector.

This committee was set up for the following reasons:

  • To address concerns of employers and workers
  • To raise issues in the construction sector
  • To share safe practices to adopt in the sector
  • To find preventive solutions that are aligned with public health advice
  • To recommend measures to put in place on construction sites

The creation of this committee is linked to the resumption of activities in the construction sector. The CNESST will follow the evolution of COVID-19 in Quebec and publish regular updates to keep companies in the sector informed about best practices and solutions.

If you are a construction worker or if you have a construction company, you can consult the daily checklist that the commission has developed in order to ensure the application of appropriate measures on site.

Preventive measures

Employers in the construction industry are responsible for taking the necessary preventive measures to protect workers and ensure their safety and health. As for workers, they must also take good measures to protect their health and safety and that of those around them.

If a company does not comply with government standards and advice regarding the COVID-19 context, a CNESST inspector could order the temporary closure of the workplace until the necessary modifications are made.
Hygiene measures to be implemented on construction sites >>

How to check the health of workers on construction sites?

Every day, the employer must make sure to check the health of all his workers. To do this, he must ask each employee a few questions when he arrives at the workplace:

  • Do you have symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing, sudden loss of smell?)
  • Did you return from a trip outside of Canada less than 2 weeks ago?
  • Are you in contact with someone who has COVID-19?

If the worker answers yes to any of these three questions or if he experiences symptoms, he should return home. The answers to these questions are confidential and must be protected by the employer.

Conditions for an employee that has had COVID-19 to return to work

The public health department authorizes return to work if the following 3 conditions are met:

  • A minimum of 14 days must have passed since the onset of the disease in its acute phase;
  • There must be no acute symptoms for at least 24 hours;
  • The worker has not had a fever for at least 48 hours (without taking antipyretics)

How to respect social distancing on construction sites?

Employers are responsible for implementing the necessary measures to maintain a social distance of 2 meters between each worker at all times. To do this, it is important to control the presence of workers in the workplace to ensure that there aren’t too many workers at the same time in the same place.

During a short period of time, it is possible that the minimum social distance can’t be respected. If this is the case, the worker must make sure to cough in his elbow and refrain from touching his face. As for transportation to work, the vehicle occupancy rate should be reduced to 50%. The CNESST also recommends avoiding face-to-face meetings and encouraging virtual meetings.

What are the preventive measures to adopt if work must be carried out in a place contaminated by COVID-19?

If emergency work (electricity, plumbing, etc.) must be carried out, you must respect the minimum social distance of 2 meters. Also, make sure to wash your hands frequently and clean your tools when you leave the premises.

Is personal protective equipment (PPE) against COVID-19 on construction sites necessary?

No, PPE (mask, gloves, etc.) is not necessary, except in the case of a specific situation. However, workers should wash their hands frequently and refrain from touching their faces.

Hygiene measures recommended by the public health department

  • Respect the social distance of 2 meters
  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with lukewarm water
  • If there is no place nearby to wash your hands, use an alcohol-based disinfectant
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow to prevent the spread of germs
  • If you need to blow your nose, throw the tissue away afterwards and wash your hands
  • If you have symptoms, stay home and call 1 877 644-4545 if necessary

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