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Protocols for the Reactivation of the Construction Sector 

by Carlos Umana

Published: May, 2020

Submission: May, 2020

 



The Ministry of Health and Social Protection was given the authority to determine and issue biosecurity protocols to mitigate, control, prevent the spread and properly manage the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.


It is necessary to emphasize that all companies that reactivate their work must establish timely channels of communication between the employer and the worker to notify suspicious cases. They must also provide personal protection elements, reinforce cleaning and self-care measures, and provide training on proper and frequent hand washing.


As of April 27, the construction sector is authorized to begin activities, which must comply with the requirements of the biosafety protocol standards.


It should be noted that construction companies that carry out private works must establish working hours between 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.


Therefore, the responsibilities of contractors, contracting entities and auditors, as well as the recommendations and actions to be taken by legal representatives, administrative and operational personnel, contractors, suppliers of goods and services, and health and safety personnel in charge of transport infrastructure projects are as follows:


1. Contractors

  • Guarantee the continuity of activities, prioritizing the protection of their workers.
  • Report any case of contagion that may arise.
  • Incorporate official communication channels and points of attention for their workers.
  • Request the accompaniment of the LRA to verify compliance with the measures and actions adopted

2. Contracting entity

  • Provide the necessary accompaniment to ensure the continuity of the projects.
  • Evaluate the compliance of the contractors' actions.
  • Supervise the compliance of the permitted activities.
  • Report any event of contagion.

3. Audit

  • Ensure that the measures planned for the return of permitted activities are implemented.
  • Send the contracting entity a weekly report indicating the activities carried out and the level of compliance with each of the measures. Also, regarding the action plans and in case of contagion cases and their follow-up.

4. Workers

  • Make sure that the area as well as the working and protective elements have been disinfected before handling.
  • If gloves are used for work, they should be washed and/or disinfected periodically. Anyway, it is necessary to wash the hands every 3 hours.
  • Guarantee the disinfection before and after the use of the work tools.
  • Provide accurate information to the company.

However, the general recommendations issued by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Transport, the Bogotá Health Secretariat, the Ministry of Housing, City and Territory and the ICCU (for its Spanish acronym) for the reactivation of activities are as follows:


  • Avoid crowding of workers.
  • Promote frequent water consumption.
  • Guide its workers to be informed only by official sources and avoid the disclosure of irrelevant information.
  • Promote hand washing at least every 3 hours.
  • Train their staff on proper hand washing or provide kits with glycerine alcohol or disinfectant towels.
  • Ensure that staff, visitors, and suppliers practice social distancing by using surgical masks or double-layer cloth masks, keeping a minimum distance of 1.5 meters and prohibiting meetings and social activities.
  • The contractors and the auditor must jointly present to the contracting entity the program of interventions to be carried out, indicating the location of the activity, the number of workers that will carry out the activity, the personnel in charge of verifying the biosecurity measures (indicating contact number) and the duration of the activity.
  • Identify workers who are older than 60 years, have lung disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes, or immunosuppressive diseases (including cancer, previous transplant, lupus, among others) and make the appropriate relocations, adaptations or modifications to prevent their transmission of COVID-19.
  • Daily checks on the health status of workers.
  • Return and send to isolation personnel who present any symptoms or unsuitable health conditions.
  • Establish work groups of maximum 10 workers.
  • Carry out daily talks of 5 minutes to the personnel, before the beginning of the activities, reiterating the measures of biosecurity and protection.
  • Guarantee the supply and replacement of Individual Protection Elements.
  • Maintain hydration points in perfect conditions of hygiene and neatness.
  • Guarantee the daily collection of ordinary waste.
  • Guarantee the daily cleaning of tools and equipment used in the activities.
  • Limit the attendance to work of pregnant women.
  • Guarantee the disinfection, washing and daily cleaning of the facilities and workstations.
  • Use a mask (conventional mouthpiece), eye protection (goggles or masks) and disposable gloves.
  • Carry out the process of disinfection, cleanliness and cleaning of vehicles.
  • It is suggested that the loading and unloading of the load is carried out by the personnel from the front of the work.
  • Carry out routine cleaning, disinfection and maintenance of bathrooms
  • Implement exclusive bins for handling ordinary and biological waste in each work area, so that they can be used to dispose of mouthpieces, single-use towels and other disposable elements.
  • Have type b first aid kits: equipped with alcohol, thermometer and disposable gloves.
  • To have plastic stretchers.
  • To have basic attention points.
  • For the personnel that requires to visit the projects, the corporal temperature will have to be measured, in the event that it surpasses the 38 degrees centigrade, the entrance of that person to the work will be denied.
  • Visitors must also be provided with disposable masks and gloves, must wash their hands every 3 hours, and must maintain a safe distance.
  • Projects that have personnel working and present some symptoms must adapt a zone or area for isolation.
  • Publicize the COVID-19 toll-free hotline for guidance.
  • Train and promote cough etiquette among the staff.
  • Those in charge of the areas, services or crews must have a record or schedule of the workers who are performing the tasks, identifying their health conditions and identifying possible cases of contact in the event of a positive case.
  • Appoint Health and Safety leaders for each area who remember good practices and establish sanctions or calls for attention in case of evidence of faults or non-compliance with protocols.
  • Designate specific spaces where workers can leave their personal items and clothing during their shifts. As well as their disinfection processes.
  • Carry out unscheduled inspections to evidence the monitoring or shortcomings of the programs and protocols established.
  • Establish rules of distance at the time of consuming food and beverages, implementing shifts in dining rooms and casinos, or other common spaces and seek that the same people attend the same shifts.
  • Work areas should always be kept ventilated.

 


On the other hand, for companies that resume their activities in the city of Bogota, according for Safe Mobility Plan should be developed. Therefore, a certificate on the receipt of the complete information of the Safe Mobility Plan and the biosafety protocols will be sent to the e-mail registered by the companies. From that moment on, the work or activity can begin.


Within this Plan it is established that companies are responsible for coordinating, implementing and supervising:


  • Teleworking or any other form of work virtualization
  • Shifts and schedules
  • Mobilization of its personnel in modes other than the city's Integrated Public Transport System, taking into account
    • Changes in the offer of the Integrated Public Transport System (SITP for its Spanish acronym).
    • The possibility of transferring staff through school transport, special transport, inter-municipal.
    • The additional kilometers of temporary cyclopath that will become permanent for the facilitation of the transport of workers.
  • Mobilization of its employees through agreements with Transmilenio S.A. for areas and schedules that are not highly congested

Failure to comply with this Plan may lead to the imposition of the penalties laid down in Article 368 of the Criminal Code - violation of health measures.


Finally, regarding the Resolution 682 of 2020 of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, a biosafety protocol was established for the construction sector, which is complementary to the protocol adopted in Resolution 666 of 2020. This protocol is stipulated in the Technical Annex, which is part of Resolution 682 of 2020 and the entity in charge of its monitoring and compliance is the secretaries or municipal or district entities of the place of operation of each plant.


 



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