In a situation that is changing daily, we are continually monitoring new developments and adjusting our response to help flatten the curve and mitigate the impact of COVID-19. The safety and well-being of ALL remains our highest priority: our WALSH employees, their families, our self-performed subsidiary RDF Builders Co. and their families, our partners and our communities.
The WHO, CDC, OSHA and NECA all provide excellent Coronavirus specific resources to educate employers and our workforce on what this new virus is, how it can affect our health, and most importantly, precautions we can take to reduce potential exposures in all settings of life.
As WALSH builds critical affordable housing, health and community service centers throughout the Northwest, we will continue to evaluate our safety measures and standards throughout our operations, ensuring the well-being of our employees, their families and the communities we serve. We will continue to follow guidelines and recommendations set by government authorities, the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health authorities as we work to act responsibly to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
In conjunction with their recommendations, we have increased our health and safety measures across our operations by implementing strategies including:
COVID-19 Response Team
We have established a “COVID-19 Response Team to focus on protecting people, sharing information, reducing the potential for the spread of the virus, and supporting the continuity of our operations. This team meets every day at 10am to discuss questions, concerns and the latest information on COVID-19.
Subcontractors and Partners
We are communicating with our subcontractors, partners, and visitors that if they have been sick or exposed to COVID-19, he or she is prohibited from entering our jobsite or office until 14 days from the date they had a fever. We are communicating with all subcontractors and suppliers to inform them of our needs expectations and protocol when it comes to job execution and are also providing additional information and guidance to protect everyone on our project sites and offices. We are asking each to provide any information concerning shortage or delays that could affect project schedules.
COVID-19 Site Management Plan
We have generated a COVID-19 Site Management Plan with a brief summary below.
- Safety is, and always has been, our highest value. We all work together to create a safe work environment – throughout the ranks of the organization.
- If you are sick – stay home, period.
- Employees and dependents have access to MDLive, which is our telehealth platform from RGA. They can help patients evaluate symptoms and determine appropriate next steps.
- It is an individual choice to work onsite. We continue to encourage everyone to decide for themselves.
- Maximize social distancing (keep 6 feet between individuals). Make sure our suppliers, visitors and subcontractors are complying with social distancing guidelines.
- Frequently wash your hands and clean high touch locations both at home and away.
- Limit the number of people in a trailer at any given time. This will involve staggering schedules, working alternate shifts, etc.
- Limit the number of people that can ride in an elevator/lift at one time to two people.
- Hold critical meetings outside or hold multiple sessions with fewer people in each session.
- Ask yourself if it is a critical meeting that absolutely has to happen – if not, postpone it or hold it via WebEx.
- Prominent signage on every jobsite that reinforces Social Distancing Guidelines.
- Separate outbuilding that we are using for site check-in and check-out of all personnel to be clear on the requirements, provide PPE and discuss health guidelines.
Communicating Response Plan
We have generated a response plan that brings all the information into one reference piece. Given the unknowns and agency changes this will be a fluid document. We are logging and tracking any and all COVID-19 concerns in case we need the historical data for notifications due to any exposure that might be related. We are evaluating and communicating all of the State, Federal, and Local jurisdictions on how they affect our people and projects.
For those able to work remotely, we are strongly encouraging people to work from home. Each employee is being fitted with technologies to work remotely if they did not already have that capacity in place.
Travel Restrictions and Meetings
Non-essential business meetings and employee participation in large business conferences or events that require international or interstate travel are postponed through April 30, 2020. We may extend this policy in the weeks ahead. We will utilize remote conferencing technology tools to keep our people and our partners connected.
All WALSH and RDF employees have access to our EAP through Cascade Centers. If any employee or someone in their family need some support getting through this stressful time, the EAP is an option for 1:1 counseling at no cost (up to 5 sessions). To allow for social distancing, they have shifted their counseling service to include the use of video, telephone and digital counseling modalities.
Securing the Supply Chain
We are monitoring worldwide supply chains and will notify our teams if we receive indications that there is an actual delay that will affect our ability to maintain schedule or have any impacts to schedule.
As this is a dynamic situation, we will continue to closely monitor the situation and our policies and guidelines are likely to change as the situation continues to evolve. We can all learn from each other, please let us know of any additional precautions.