A Construction Workers Advice for Dealing with COVID
Check in on your coworkers and take precautions to stop the spread
Although COVID cases are down and the vaccine is being distributed, the virus still poses a significant threat. There are still tens of thousands of Americans who are getting sick and thousands are still dying every day. This week, UCOMM talked to a construction worker who was finishing up his quarantine after contracting a mild form of COVID-19. This person was lucky, describing his symptoms as a mild cold, but he had some advice for his fellow construction workers. He asked that we not use his name, so we are going to refer to him as Dave.
On the job, he warned that it is so important to take all of the proper safety procedures. While some may get comfortable with their co-workers, everyone needs to mask up to prevent the spread. He also pointed out that on job sites, sanitation isn’t always the best. Unlike a store or an office, there isn’t always a hand sanitizing station on every Jobsite, so whenever you can wash your hands or carry some hand sanitizer with you and use it throughout the day.
On the job, look out for those around you. It is everyone’s responsibility to keep a job site safe. You would speak up if someone was working dangerously, so speak up when someone isn’t following COVID protocols. If a coworker’s mask falls down or if someone isn’t social distancing just remind the person that we are still in the middle of a pandemic and we don’t want everyone getting sick.
If you do get sick, if someone on your job gets sick, or even just a family or friend gets sick, make sure you check in on them. Dave said that one of the hardest parts is isolating for 10-14 days. Your mental health can really take a beating not knowing what tomorrow can bring, especially with COVID, where you can feel like you have a cold on Monday and be in the ICU by Friday. While you might not be able to see them in person, a quick call or Zoom can go a long way to keeping their spirits up and keeping the depression and anxiety from creeping in. While a lot of people, especially men in the trades, don’t like to talk about mental health issues, it is important to realize that your coworkers, family, or friends may be suffering in silence, so reach out.
This worker also wants to remind his colleagues that you should pay special attention if you have a comorbidity and get COVID-19. This includes heart conditions, high blood pressure, and obesity. If you have one of these and get COVID, he suggests talking to your doctor about getting the antigen. In New York where he lives and works, a number of local hospitals were able to provide this. While this isn’t a cure, it may help to limit the symptoms and keep you out of the hospital.
Ultimately no one is Superman or woman and everyone is vulnerable to getting COVID-19. Take it seriously, wear your PPE, prevent the spread and look out for your brothers and sisters on the job site.