Safety Leader

Utility and Construction Industry Guidelines for COVID-19

In late June, the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) published its latest resource guide in response to the COVID-19 pandemic for the utility industry. The ESCC is a CEO-led council composed of executives from electric companies, public power utilities and rural electric cooperatives, as well as their trade association leaders, who operate as the principal liaison between the federal government and the electric power industry on efforts related to preparing for, and responding to, national-level disasters or threats to critical infrastructure.

Information for the report, “Assessing and Mitigating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): A Resource Guide,” was created by a number of ESCC tiger teams of industry leaders who track key issues related to this global health emergency.

Part of the guide discusses planning considerations for contact tracing during mutual assistance efforts, suggesting that utilities should implement and use contact tracing programs to identify and assist employees who may have been exposed to the virus.

“Organizations should consider how those tracing programs would be utilized during a mutual assistance deployment that includes non-native employees/contractors from other organizations,” the guide stated. It also suggested a four-phase contact tracing plan, focused on report, mitigate, investigate and inform.

The guide also said that, as organizations begin to consider whether and how to transition employees from working remotely to reentering the workplace, they should consider contact tracing programs as a tool to identify and assist employees who are potentially exposed to COVID-19.

For those involved in the construction industry, OSHA has created a special website with information for workers in this industry.

This website consists of four sections. The first is a table that describes work tasks and their exposure risk levels (lower, medium, high, and very high). The second is information on engineering controls. The third provides information on administrative controls, and the final section focuses on personal protective equipment.

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