Safer at Home
The Hon. Governor Tony Evers
Office of Governor
115 East State Capitol
Madison, WI 53707
Dear Governor Evers,
The unionized Building Trades in Wisconsin are committed to the health, safety and welfare of our workforce and the public. We represent over 40,000 members spanning every corner of the State and are at work building the critical infrastructure needed during this challenging time. We are writing to express our support for the Badger Bounce Back program, which will allow Wisconsin’s economy to ramp back up while the continued Safer at Home order is in place. It is clear we need to turn the dial rather than flip the switch in order to continue limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus, flattening the curve and saving lives.
Safer at Home is needed and working. We also support the Governor’s plan to re-open Wisconsin in phases. This approach will give Wisconsin the necessary time to expand testing and tracing systems, build capacity within the health care system and secure additional personal protective equipment. We know a full economic recovery cannot take place until the virus is substantially mitigated.
We understand that with the essential status designated to the construction industry and trades professionals also carries great responsibility. Our industry has already implemented significant precautions in accordance with the provisions set forth in Executive Order #12, CDC and OSHA guidelines. In fact, Labor and Management collaboratively created a set of standardized jobsite guidelines modeled from WEDC best practices for a written COVID-19 response plan.
We have made these written guidelines available industrywide known as Project Site Safety Guidelines. Please find them below. These are actionable construction-specific procedures ensuring workers can stay safe while continuing to work. These Guidelines, an educational video and other resources can be accessed at www.constructsafewi.com. We will continue to hold our members accountable to these high standards.
There is broad consensus that getting back to normal will be more like “turning a dial” instead of “flipping a switch.” As a result, enhanced safety protocols will remain with us even as Wisconsin rebounds. To that end, we recommend that written Project Site Safety Guidelines be adopted on construction sites across the State. Each company’s written plan will be unique to the operations under its control and our suggested guidelines are already being used by many employers. With continuing to follow Safer at Home and with industry guidelines in place, we will continue to provide vital economic value to Wisconsin while ensuring our communities remain healthy.
Wisconsin Building Trades Council
International Union of Operation Engineers Local #139
Wisconsin Laborers’ District Council
International Painters and Allied Trades
Ironworkers District Council North Central States
North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers State Council
Wisconsin Pipe Trades Association
Sheet Metal Workers Local #18
Wisconsin Building Trades Council represents the interests of 15 trade organizations and over 40,000 working men and women. The trade organization members of the Council are Boilermakers, Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers, Carpenters, Electrical Workers, Elevator Constructors, Insulators & Allied Workers, Iron Workers, Laborers, Operating Engineers, Operative Plasterers & Cement Masons, Painters & Allied Trades, Roofers, Sheet Metal Workers, Teamsters, and United Association.
RECOMMENDED PROJECT SITE SAFETY GUIDELINES
Construction in Wisconsin has been deemed essential infrastructure during the COVID-19 crisis. Construction companies are encouraged to create and implement a written COVID-19 Response Plan. Each company’s written plan will be unique to the operations under its control, however, the following are recommended safety guidelines for project sites:
- Immediate workflow audits should be conducted to remove instances of employees being within 6’ of each other, EXCEPT as may be necessary for an immediate safety reason (g., rigging requiring more than one person for a brief period of time).
- Construction work in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces will have no more than 10 people working in any one area with 6’ of separation.
- In-person meetings (internal or external) and employee gatherings (formal or informal) of any size will not be allowed. Communication should be handled by telephone or virtually wherever possible, EXCEPT, this guideline does not prohibit jobsite discussions necessary to give direction, identify safety concerns, or otherwise communicate needed instruction, provide that 6’ of separation is maintained.
- Reduction of jobsite work hours to the minimum needed to sustain operations.
- Staggered shifts and work hours to minimize jobsite human presence at a given time.
- Staggered jobsite entry and exit procedures.
- Staggered use of all shared spaces, including bathrooms/porta potties, breakrooms, lunchrooms and job trailers.
- Sanitary processes implemented throughout the jobsite (e.g., soap, hand sanitizer, single-use gloves, doors propped open, hands-free capabilities, no shared food).
- Marking of surfaces that receive frequent human contact; disinfection of these surfaces multiple times daily.
- Regular body temperature scans may be performed for all on-site employees (contingent on availability of scanning devices, which are in short supply due to acute global demand). In the absence of access to a scanning devices, employees may be asked to take their own temperatures daily and report any reading over 99 degrees before entering the jobsite.
- Instruction to all employees – through specific communications– of the importance of frequent handwashing, hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette, and staying home when
- International travel ban – business and personal.
- Domestic business travel bans except for critical operations (with senior management approval). Domestic personal travel requires employee to self-quarantine for 14 days and be symptom-free before returning to work.
- Any employee returning from a Level 2 or 3 CDC travel country must self-quarantine for 14 days and be symptom-free before returning to work.
- No deliveries except those that support production activities or emergency building maintenance.
- No visitors (including suppliers and customers) except those approved by senior management
- Mandatory work at home for all office employees except the absolute minimum required for baseline production and logistics functions.
- Employees should be advised of the safety guidelines in the company-specific Response Plan in multiple ways, such as jobsite posting (yellow paper recommended), email transmission, etc.