VTCA Members: VDOT has released the following letter to the contracting community regarding COVID-19 safety on VDOT projects.
March 24, 2020
To: VDOT Contracting Community
VDOT is committed to the safety and health of our employees as well as our contractor and consultant partners. To ensure that we “Keep Virginia Moving,” we are asking that our contract partners reporting to work in-person are following guidance for regular cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, washing and sanitizing of hands, covering coughs and sneezes, staying at home if not feeling well, and practicing social distancing as outlined by Governor Northam, the Virginia Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). These safety measures are as important as wearing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and setting up a work zone properly.
Social distancing on construction and contractor projects may require you to think outside the box to ensure your employees are performing the work safely while maintaining an acceptable separation between workers. Both Federal and state guidance have been issued regarding non-essential gatherings of more than 10 people. With this in mind, some approaches that our partners should consider are:
Limiting the number of individuals that gather in one location on the job site.
Breaking work crews down by task and having them keep a minimum of six feet of distance between each other whenever practical.
Evaluating each task, performing a hazard assessment and determining the minimum number of individuals to perform the task safely and effectively.
VDOT asks that you evaluate those tasks that might regularly require people to work in close proximity and consider alternative methods of completing those tasks.
In order to keep maintenance and construction activities operating in a safe manner across the Commonwealth, VDOT is asking our VDOT and consultant inspection staff, contract monitors and VDOT safety staff to work closely with contractors to ensure applicable CDC recommended best practices such as social distancing are consistently applied and adhered to on our projects and other activities. Additionally, VDOT encourages contractors to hold regular safety talks emphasizing the hazards of COVID-19 as well as the normal safety hazards found on the jobsite while practicing social distancing. The Department takes this responsibility very seriously. If evidence of a willful disregard and violation of maintaining a safe working environment occurs the violation will be treated as any project safety violation which may include a temporary shutdown.
VDOT is dedicated to the safety and health of all Virginians and ensuring that we are providing and following all federal and state guidance and mandates.
Kerry Bates, P.E.
State Construction Engineer