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Dean Nagatoshi

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Important COVID-19 Safety Considerations when Hiring a Painting Contractor

DEAN NAGATOSHI

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Due to COVID-19, painting contractors have needed to look at their work procedures and develop new safety protocols. Some companies have developed and implemented an exposure-control plan to provide guidance in the protection of workers, including proactive steps and measures for implementation in an effort to protect all parties involved. As a building owner and/or manager, it is especially important that you require your painting contractor to have such a plan in place before work commences.

The plan may address the following measures to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus in the workplace: • Signs and symptoms of

COVID-19 infection • Action steps • Limiting the spread of infection in the workplace • Reducing transmission among employees • Protecting employees with personal protective equipment • Supervising protective measures • Evaluating employee health status • Implementing hazard control measures • Suspected or confirmed

COVID-19 infection • Sanitizing the work area after possible exposure • Maintaining medical information • Recordkeeping • Training

Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19 Infection

Prior to work each day, employees must perform a health status evaluation to determine if they are able to come to work. Employees need to

check their temperatures and determine if they have any of the following symptoms: cough, fatigue, muscle aches, loss of taste or smell or shortness of breath. Also, determine if they have been in direct contact with someone known to have COVID-19 or have traveled off island within the last 14 days.

Answer yes to any of the above and they are denied access to work. Supervisors and workers are trained to detect the signs and symptoms of a serious infection and to seek immediate medical attention.

Employee Exposure-control Plan

Companies should be informing their workers of the risks oft COVID-19 exposure and provide training on the steps for enhanced cleaning, disinfecting and sanitation (hand-washing) protocols. Employees should have their temperatures checked and be provided with personal protection equipment (mask, gloves, face shield) to reduce the spread of disease. Workers should also be maintaining a distance of six feet apart to limit possible exposure. A daily meeting before starting work will help in maintaining these protocols.

Sanitizing the Work Area After Possible Exposure

In the event that a worker is confirmed to be COVID-19 positive, the work area will need to be sanitized to prevent the spread of disease. A disinfectant can be used on all common areas that may have been used by the infected person. Airless spray equipment has been developed and is now available to sanitize and disinfect various surfaces.

Construction Industry Comes Together for Public Safety

Construction companies, trade organizations and labor unions also have developed new plans and protocols for safely continuing their work. The General Contractors Association of Hawaii’s COVID-19 Task Force has developed “The Commitment of the Hawaii Construction Industry: Our Pledge to Avoid the Spread of COVID-19 on Hawaii Construction Sites.” PDCA of Hawaii and its members have joined with our other construction industry partners to lend its support. ❖

Dean Nagatoshi is executive director of the Painting and Decorating Contractors Association of Hawaii. PDCA Hawaii membership includes active unionized painting, decorating, waterproofing and industrial coating contractors, associate manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and dealers and affiliate contractors. Reach him at 479-6825 or dean@pdcahawaii.org, or go to www.pdcahawaii.org.