The construction companies are applying digital technologies to help them keep their employees safe during COVID-19.
FREMONT, CA: Reflecting on the first wave of COVID-19 construction site shutdowns, they focused on national stay-at-home health guidelines. Local shutdowns happened as the virus circulated among staff and tourists at construction worksites as states revived their economies.
Construction is a highly concentrated industry that depends on laws on zoning, permitting, hiring, and health. The contractor must alert the local health department when an employee gets COVID-19 on a job site and any employee or visitor who has been in touch with that person for two weeks prior.
Employees contaminated on the job are entitled to file a worker's pay lawsuit for salaries and medical benefits in some jurisdictions. The employer can challenge it, but the contractor would probably lose without a record of the employee's reactions to regular health screenings and the capability to trace contacts.
When construction fails, there are at least three aspects in which people are affected.
The economy would explode immediately. People cannot upgrade schools, hotels, hospitals, malls, stadiums, and other public buildings to adapt to a post-COVID-19 environment that requires modern, safer ventilation systems and encourages social distancing in shared spaces without construction.
Second, it would make the lopsided housing market more fragmented. It is still challenging to keep up with the demand for residential housing. Meanwhile, affordable housing development programs desperately need to begin for the potential 40 million tenants who could be evicted within the next few months.
Third, there is a massive requirement of infrastructure programs important for macro-economic development and public safety. People cannot wait for the swift and effective transport of PPE and medical supplies.
But if construction firms take the correct steps now, by 2021, they will be ready to return to pre-pandemic levels. Extensive delays due to shutdowns of COVID-19 can push the recovery far later.
Construction businesses that go all-in on digital would lower the price of compliance with COVID-19 while enhancing their productivity and efficiency. Health screening with digital records allows instant contact tracing. It is easier to implement when the employer manages this. Employees are often less likely to complain because they know their employer has a restricted view of their other activities, unlike many other contact tracing methods. Subcontract monitoring and real-time visitor recognition is supported by a wide range of site awareness applications.