“Construction site hygiene” – this phrase might evoke the image of workers covered in cement dust whilst wearing their hard hats and washing their hands at the end of a busy day. However, there’s more to construction site hygiene than just the washing of one’s hands.
Construction site workers must adhere to enhanced hygiene practices, especially with the reality of COVID-19 now part of the new normal. Maintaining the health and safety of construction workers should be the priority of contractors or leaders during the pandemic crisis to minimize the risk of infections on worksites. By encouraging the proper practice of hygiene on-site, you benefit from fewer sick days and more productive workers.
From installing a porta potty to holding frequent health and safety seminars, construction project leaders must take the hygiene of their workers seriously.
Hygiene Practices: Important Part of Worksite Safety
At construction sites, hygiene practices are important parts of any workplace safety procedures. Workers do face the following hazards:
- Poisonous plants
- Infectious animals
- Bloodborne pathogens
Frequent hand washing and other hygiene protocols keep workers from contracting diseases through cross-contamination. According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), over 13 million workers in the US are exposed to airborne chemicals and harmful liquid substances that can easily enter the bloodstream through abrasion or cut or easily absorbed through the skin.
The Occupational Safety and Health Organization recommends employers provide washing facilities for workers who are handling harmful substances, such as herbicides, coatings, and paint. While towelettes and hand sanitizers can help clean hands, they are not enough to clean hands. Soap and water remain the most reliable option when it comes to hand washing.
There are cases when showers are required, especially when workers must remove their personal protective equipment (PPE). As per OSHA, employers must make shower facilities, towels, and soaps accessible to all workers.
Since construction workers face risks beyond physical injuries, it’s important for employers to protect their teams by implementing easy and effective hygiene solutions.
How To Maintain Sanitation At Your Construction Site
Provide Them With Enough Water
Construction work is often intensive, which is why workers are prone to dehydration. Keep your employees hydrated by providing them with adequate drinking water. The containers should be fitted with a tight cap, clearly marked, and equipped with a tap. It helps to supply clean containers for disposing of used cups and storing unused cups.
If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, consider providing your workers with environmentally friendly disposal cups. Also, make sure to label all outlets and containers so that workers will know which water can be used for drinking, washing, or cooking.
Shower facilities let your workers clean themselves after dealing with harmful construction materials or before they go home.
To address their showering needs, look for companies that offer shower trailers that you can customize according to the preferences of your employees. These trailers often come with water tanks for hot and cold water and are ideal for construction sites that don’t have running water. Just provide the team with body soap, hand soap, paper towels, and hand cloths.
If there are both male and female employees working on-site, provide separate shower trailers for them.
Make sure to place the shower stalls near the worksite for the convenience and comfort of your workers.
Set Up Portable Toilets
Clean, safe, and well-placed toilets should be a priority when it comes to construction site sanitation. Standard urinals and portable toilers are cost-effective ways to meet the restroom needs of your workers. For increased efficiency and comfort, choose portable toilets with cooling and heating amenities.
The number of portable toilets needed on-site will depend on the number of workers reporting to you. According to OSHA, employers must provide at least one toilet in an area with 20 or fewer workers.
Set Up Changing Rooms
If your employees wear PPE or any protective clothing, supply changing rooms. Ask your shower stall provider if they provide changing rooms or if they can tailor the trailer with a room. You can also ask for another trailer to serve as your workers’ changing rooms.
Provide An Area for Hand Washing
Lastly, don’t forget to install handwashing stations close to the construction site. These stations ensure that your workers will always wash their hands, which is a must especially for workers who deal with hazardous waste disposal.
Sanitizing and handwashing stations are equipped with soap, water, and paper towels. These may also include alcohol, sanitizers, and antiseptic that eliminate germs 100 percent.
Construction workers face risks beyond physical injuries. By promoting hygiene in the workplace, you can help decrease contamination while keeping your workers happy and healthy.
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