There is an effort to move from “Essential Services” to a Framework for Health Practices in order to assist the County Health Services Administrator in safely re opening businesses. To that end, the ECA is forwarding the following list of Best Management Practices to Dr. Mase at Sonoma County Health Services. We are trying to assist in her very difficult job in a supportive and constructive manner.
The ECA Has Reproduced the Best Management Practices List from the United Contractors Website. This list of BMP’s is not intended to be a static set of guidelines, but rather, a dynamic, site and crew specific set of practices that you can utilize for your own Code of Safe Practices. Please feel free to personalize these, and apply what dynamic interaction works best for your firm to ensure there is interactive contributions from your crews, your Human Resources manager, and your safety team.
The Best of the Best Management Practices for Covid-19 General Engineering Contracting, is as follows:
- Submit a new or updated Site-Specific Health and Safety Plan to address Covid-19related issues to the appropriate County Health Representative or Owner Representative on your project.
- Establish an assembly point for staff, before the start of work each day, that complies with the recommended social distancing parameters.
- Establish a daily screening protocol for arriving staff, to ensure that potentially infected staff do not enter the work site. If workers leave and re-enter the work site during the shift, re-screen individuals prior to re-entry into the work site.
- Provide a daily tailgate session reviewing site protocols to mitigate potential spread of the virus. As information is changing continuously regarding COVID-19, these tailgates should occur daily and contractors should document attendance and require worker signatures.
- Designate a Site Safety Rep (SSR) to monitor and implement all recommended safety practices regarding the COVID-19 virus with all contractor staff members. Labor supervisors must have the authority, through consultation with the SSR, to halt all activities that do not adhere to the COVID-19 safety practices. The SSR should have training commensurate with this hazard and all required industrial hygiene practices that may be required on the job site. This person will be responsible to maintain supplies of disinfectants and make sure that workers follow decontamination, hand washing, distancing, and PPE rules.
- Establish the level of PPE required for each specific task. This is especially important for tasks that may require staff to work inside of the recommended social distancing zone. Employ a task specific Job Hazard Analysis (JHA).
- For work sites where multi-employers share the same work space, inform all employers about each site-specific COVID-19 Construction Field Safety Guideline. Where one contractor enters the space of another contractor, the most stringent guidelines will be followed.
- Clean and sanitize trailers, toilets and other enclosed spaces. Establish deep cleaning schedules on job sites to address exposed surfaces.
- Social distancing or appropriate PPE must be maintained in elevators and lifts. Establish a regular cleaning and disinfection schedule for elevators and lifts.
- Establish a cleaning and decontamination protocol prior to entry and exit of the job site. Establish a similar cleaning protocol within the job site area.
- Establish cleaning and/or hand washing stations within the work areas. They should be of sufficient quantity to allow staff to remain within the work areas without exiting into break areas. It is critical to adequately maintain these stations continuously.
- Establish adequate time in the work day to allow for proper cleaning and decontamination including prior to leaving the job site for the day.
Also, as part of the Site-Specific Health and Safety Plan contractors should draft and implement a Code of Safe Practices that will at a minimum require staff/labor to follow the following guidelines during the course of their work:
If you feel sick, and/or have been exposed to anyone who is sick, stay at home. You may be required to provide test result showing a negative result (not infected) before being allowed to return to work. This is critical to preventing spread of the virus.
- Wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Avoid touching your face with un-sanitized hands. Avoid touching common surfaces with bare hands.
- Constantly observe your work distances in relation to other staff. Maintain the recommended 6 feet at all times when not wearing the necessary PPE for working in close proximity to another person. Do not shake hands or make other direct contact with other staff. Do not carpool with other staff unless they are family members living within your household.
- Do not share phones. Use of microwaves, water coolers and other similar group equipment for breaks are suspended until further notice.
- Clean personal tools prior to use, as well as group tools.
- If your task requires working in close proximity to another person, review the required JHA to ensure you are equipped with the proper PPE and are trained in and understand the directions for use. Do not start any task until you have been properly equipped and trained on procedures.
- Ensure you clean and maintain your personal PPE and do not loan any item out to other staff.
- Disposable PPE, paper towels, and similar waste must be deposited in non-touch waste bins.
- Do not cough or sneeze into your hand; rather, direct coughs and sneezes into the crook of your arm at your elbow; follow established CDC guidelines.
- Workers should change work clothes and shoes prior to arriving at home. All clothing should not be shook out. Launder work clothes separate from other laundry.
As you read the checklist health standards and FAQ’s for our industry, you will undoubtedly conclude, as I did, one of the toughest changes to the way general engineering contractors do their work, is to have a huge paradigm shift in how we look at our own, and our crew member’s health status. I know from my experience, and you know from yours, that the Monday morning tailgate meeting usually has everyone in attendance, regardless if they are running a fever or “hacking up a lung”. It has always been expected that feeling ill is no excuse to not put your shift in in our business.
That has got to change and change in a big way.
From Ownership to top management, and from top management to all of your workers, we must shift the expectation in a big way. No longer should a laborer or operator show up to work with a fever and be allowed or encouraged to “man up” and complete his/her shift.
IF YOU ARE ILL, STAY HOME!
Please note that you cannot take the temperature of a worker because it is an invasion of privacy.
So your Site Safety Rep (SSR) and foremen need to ascertain if a worker has a fever in some other manner and that may mean additional training to recognize and act on the worker being sent home. Also, if the worker with a fever does show up, and is at the safety tailgate meeting, what then do you do with your other crew members who just got exposed to that person who may or may not have the Covid – 19? This is a decision that needs to be made under the unique circumstances of the jobsite and the timing of the illness realization. You need to have a protocol set up with a person trained enough to make the correct decision-EVERY TIME.
Imagine, if you will, all of the work you are doing to adhere to the safety and health standards and imagine all of the other businesses determining their own standards to allow their business to reopen or to stay open. Hard work or not, it is a must as we move forward towards a more “normal” abnormal that we are all faced with.
That’s All Folks!
Sonoma County Road Tax Extension Headed for Ballot in November-Why Go In November? What Is the Thinking Behind Considering Asking Citizens to Tax Themselves in the Midst of the Pandemic Crisis?
Last week’s Newsletter had announced that the ECA, along with other Business organizations, had advised the Sonoma County Transportation Authority NOT to go to ballot with the Measure M tax extension in November. There were a number of reasons for our opinion, and a few of them are listed below:
- Businesses and individuals suffering too much from Covid-19 Pandemic economic impacts will have most voting NO on any new sales tax measures (even thought this is an extension, any taxes after 2024 would actually be New Taxes).
- Measure I had voters turning down a ¼ cent sales tax measure for a so-called “Green” mode of transportation. We felt not enough people would vote for a Measure M extension even if it was more “climate friendly” based on what voters did in March of 2020 to Measure I.
- There is no main focal point for the extended Measure M like we had in 2004 (Three Lanes All the Way). People will not vote for 65% road improvement and 35% “climate change” modifications.
In fairness, I wanted to include some of the reasoning to go to ballot in November. Before I do that, please allow me to illustrate that the SCTA Board last week basically voted to “keep their options open” as to going forward to ballot in November. Here are the steps that still need to be taken before going to ballot:
- May 11, 2020-SCTA Board will vote on the “Go Sonoma Act”. This is the Measure M sales tax extension that is currently being considered. It has a 65% allocation for roads and moving traffic component, and a 35% component for increased bus service plus bike and pedestrian pathway. There is considerable lobbying going on right now by environmental groups to increase the 35% and decrease the 65%. The ECA has stated we can support the Go Sonoma Act as presented (65-35 split). I have included the Go Sonoma Act here for your review—
- Once the SCTA Board of Directors votes on May 11, 2020, there can be not further modifications to the measure moving forward. From May 11 onwards, the only question is does it get put on the ballot in November or not?
- In late June, there will be polling done (assuming a YES vote on May 11 above).
- In early July, the SCTA Board will have one final vote to recommend the Measure be put on the November ballot or not. Presumably, the polling information will determine this vote.
- On the first Tuesday in August, the final decision is made as to whether to go on the November Ballot or not by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. If they vote yes, the measure goes to the voters on November 3, 2020.
Here are some things to consider with moving forward with the ballot measure in November.
SCTA is developing the Go Sonoma Act – Better Transportation for All of Sonoma County and wants to keep its options open as we look ahead to the November election. Passing a measure in November will help with the recovery effort from the COVID-19 pandemic by funding transportation projects that support local jobs. SCTA has successfully delivered transportation projects in Sonoma County since the passage of Measure M in 2004 by leveraging other regional, State and federal fund sources. Measure M allowed for the SCTA to plan and fully fund the Highway 101 improvements, matching Measure M funds at a rate of five outside dollars for every local Measure M dollar. Go Sonoma will continue in that tradition.
SCTA wants to be able to plan now and get projects shovel ready. From inception to completion transportation project take years if not decades to deliver. Planners and engineers need reliable, known funding sources to develop and implement projects that will meet our transportation needs. SCTA also wants to stay competitive. Being a self -help county allows Sonoma County and all 9 cities to be compete against other counties to leverage regional, State and Federal fund sources. Even in this pandemic, as we look for projects that can stimulate the economy, it is the ones that local funds have made ready for construction that will be the most competitive, like the Hearn Avenue Interchange.
The ability to plan on reliable local funding is critical to providing Sonoma County a reliable, safe and well-maintained transportation system. The SCTA is working to keep the option available for a November 2020 ballot measure, a final decision at the July 13th Board meeting will determine if November 2020 is the right time. There will be check in points in May and June at the SCTA Board Meetings and at meetings at every city’s council meetings plus at the Board of Supervisors. Go Sonoma is proposed as a no tax increase, extension of Measure M for another 20 years.
The other thing to consider is if we wait until 2022 or 2024, there will be a “plethora” of tax measures rather than no competition in November of 2020.
I will be participating on a conference call Thursday, 4-23-2020 with Suzanne Smith so if you have any questions, please send me the questions and I will be happy to ask them on your behalf.
Napa is reopening golf courses, and other businesses as we speak. All construction, commercial and housing, is also able to move forward. This seems to be a trend in many Bay Area Counties, so we applaud this!!
City of SR has new Permit and Construction Guidance and we will include those here if we receive them before going to print.
The City of Healdsburg voted Monday night to divert $600,000 from Measure V street improvement projects to provide assistance to small businesses in Healdsburg. Measure V is a ½ cent tax enacted in 2012 and has raised over $12 million to be used for public safety and road repairs. I have spoken to the Mayor of Healdsburg and asked him to consider “robbing Peter to pay Paul” will hurt our members who spend money in Healdsburg that generates that sales tax. Double edged sword, and a very tough decision. Rest assured; Measure M dollars CANNOT BE DIVERTED. Although I am concerned that other jurisdictions might consider diverting dollars, Measure M is untouchable. Good news in the midst of bad news.
The City of Rohnert Park has formally requested all construction be allowed, not just the specific construction allowed in the Sonoma County Health Ordinance.
Sonoma County Covid-19 Roadmap to Health – Link
The City of Santa Rosa has temporarily limited its operations to provide essential inspection services ONLY to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in our community. This means the City of Santa Rosa has reduced staffing during the pandemic and is focused on providing inspection services that support the most restrictive construction activities that are presented under both the State and County health orders. For more information on actions the City has taken to slow the spread of coronavirus in the community, visit srcity.org/PreventTheSpread. As of April 7, 2020, the following inspection services are available under Sonoma County Order No. C19-03 (Order): link
On April 1, 2020 the County extended the Shelter In Place Order No. C19-03 to May 3, 2020. The extension also brought with it additional restrictions associated with construction activities. We’ve received a significant number of requests from the construction and private development communities regarding the activities that are allowed under the County’s amended health order. The construction specific activities that have received an exemption from the Shelter In Place requirement and are currently allowed to commence are highlighted in Section 13 (F)(F) of the Order. I’ve included a list of the specific activities below:
- Projects immediately necessary to the maintenance, operation or repair of Essential Infrastructure;
- Projects associated with Healthcare Operations, including creating or expanding Healthcare Operations, provided that such construction is directly related to the COVID-19 response.
- Affordable housing that is or will be income-restricted, including multi-unit or mixed-use developments containing at least 10% income-restricted units;
- Public works projects if specifically designated as an Essential Governmental Function by the lead governmental agency;
- Shelters and temporary housing, but not including hotels or motels;
- Projects immediately necessary to provide critical non-commercial services to individuals experiencing homelessness, elderly persons, persons who are economically disadvantaged, and persons with special needs;
- Construction necessary to ensure that existing construction sites that must be shut down under this Order are left in a safe and secure manner, but only to the extent necessary to do so; and
- Construction or repair necessary to ensure that residences and buildings containing Essential Businesses are safe, sanitary, or habitable to the extent such construction or repair cannot reasonably be delayed;
- Construction or debris removal activities undertaken pursuant to Chapters 40 and 40A of the County Code, or any other construction and debris removal activities on fire damaged or destroyed properties;
Not long after the execution of the amended order, the County produced a resource document that provides a summary of the changes that were made. The summary document and the amended order are available at the SoCo Emergency website.
The City is currently providing any inspection services needed to support the construction activities allowed under the extension of Order No. C19-03. We recently published a resource document (COVID Inspection Guidelines 4.7.20 – Final_) specific to the delivery of inspection services. The document also explains the process a contractor can go through to have a project reviewed in order to determine eligibility for future inspections. Construction projects that are not exempted from the order are still permitted to perform certain actives needed to shut down the construction site in a fashion that leaves it in a safe and secure state. The vast majority of our current inquiries are associated with this provision. Our guidance document describes how a contractor can obtain formal approval regarding the specific inspections that will be provided under this scenario.
Gabe Osburn | Deputy Director of Development Services
Planning and Economic Development Department | 100 Santa Rosa Ave | Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Tel. (707) 543-3853 | Fax (707) 543-3936| firstname.lastname@example.org