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Viimati uuendatud: 08.04.2020


Occupational health and safety instructions for preventing the spread of the virus: construction 

Download these instructions as a PDF file.

  • General construction works do not enable teleworking but at least larger construction companies should think about whether some of the employees could carry on doing their work from the home office. If this possibility exists, it must be used as extensively as possible. 
  • Those employed in regular positions must, above all, keep an eye on their health condition. One’s health condition must be assessed fairly – having detected symptoms of falling ill, the employee may not come to work and the employer may not request an employee with symptoms to carry on working. If colleagues notice that their co-worker has the symptoms of the coronavirus, the employee must be sent home and asked to contact their family physician or call the family physician advisory line 1220. 
  • If an employee has been in contact with an infected person (direct physical contact with a person with COVID-19, e.g. shaking hands, hugging, coughing, or being in the same room and within less than 2 metres with the person for at least 15 minutes) and notified the employer, this employee must also be sent home for quarantine (self-isolation). The employee must not be allowed to come to work and the importance of staying quarantined must be explained to them. 
  • The premises in which the person with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis has been must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Until then, regular operations in these premises must be halted. We advise to proceed based on the assumption that, at this point, 72 hours is deemed to be the period in which most of the pathogens on surfaces should die. In order to clean surfaces, they should first be washed with a soap solution and then disinfected, paying special attention to frequently used surfaces, such as door handles, railings, etc. The cleaner must wear gloves and an apron. If the surfaces are seriously contaminated (e.g. signs of sneezing or coughing), face protection (eye, nose, and mouth protection) should also be worn during cleaning. After cleaning, the cleaner must wash their hands for at least 20 seconds and dispose of the personal protective equipment used. 
  • The waste which is likely to be contaminated with the virus, including gloves, cloths used for cleaning surfaces, and protective masks must be kept separately from other waste in a sealed bag and disposed of as regular domestic waste after 72 hours. 
  • Sinks must be equipped with soap and hand sanitiser and instructions for washing hands. The employees must be instructed to wash their hands with water and soap for at least 20 seconds in every two hours. If it is not possible to was hands, an at least 70% ethanol-based antiseptic must be used. As hands tend to get dirty in the course of construction works, washing with water and soap should be preferred. 
  • Touching of the same surfaces by different employees should be avoided. If possible, works should be organised so that any tool is only used by one employee. 
  • The surfaces which are touched by several people (such as railings, door handles, elevators) must be cleaned and disinfected more frequently to prevent the spreading of the coronavirus. Non-work rooms (such as changing rooms, toilets, showers, canteens) must also be cleaned more frequently. The cleaning operations must be performed by an employee who has received the required instructions and been equipped with suitable personal protective equipment (e.g. gloves, goggles, mask). 
  • As the virus will remain on contaminated surfaces for several days, but can be destroyed by cleaning and disinfection, the required cleaning equipment and detailed instructions (incl. cleaning schedules specifying the required frequency) must be provided to the employees and a training on cleaning the premises and surfaces must be organised. Specific instructions for efficient cleaning of surfaces and ensuring of safety of the employee can be found at bit.ly/terviseamet-puhastamine. If the cleaning services are provided by an external service provider, it is necessary to agree on more efficient and frequent cleaning operations with them. 
  • When organising the works, it is necessary to consider how to ensure that the employees will remain at least 2 metres away from one another. As the number of employees on the construction site may vary day by day, this issue must be considered on a daily basis. In the case of using subcontracting, the works must be timed so that the employees of different companies are not working in the same place at the same time. In the case of working indoors, only one person should work in one room, if possible. 
  • The employees may not take the clothing used at work home; the employer must organise washing of the clothes at the highest temperature permitted for the specific fabric after every working day. 
  • When organising meetings, it should be considered whether it would be possible to hold the meeting digitally. If not, as few participants as possible should be involved at a time and the meeting should be as short as possible. Those present must also remain 2 metres away from one another. Consider holding the meeting outdoors. If the 2-metre distance cannot be ensured, protective masks should be used, if possible. 
  • All employees must keep their distance and any violations should be immediately pointed out. The attitude of the supervisors is important here – they must always react if the rules are not followed. 
  • The times of the employees’ breaks, incl. the lunch break should also be spaced out, if possible, to avoid the gathering of too many employees in the site accommodation at the same time. 
  • You should also think about whether it would be possible to reduce the number of visitors entering the company’s territory. Currently unnecessary meetings should be cancelled or postponed. 
  • The delivery drivers of external service providers must be notified that they may only exit the cab of the vehicle if there is unavoidable need, for example, to use the separate outdoor lavatory.

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