As the economy gradually reopens, workers from the construction and civil engineering industry are being summoned for projects in New York that were delayed due to the Pandemic. When it comes to returning to work, both construction workers and their employees must maintain and follow safety practices to avoid infection. It is the onus of construction companies to maintain a work environment that is safe and healthy for construction workers.

Reddy Kancharla – A specialist in the field, speaks

Reddy Kancharla completed his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the Osmania University  located at Hyderabad in India. After completing his graduation, he enrolled in the Texas Tech University’s Masters of Science Program (Civil Engineering) and completed it in 1987. Shortly after, he earned his certification in the field of Quality Documentation (ISO 9000) and Quality System Auditor (ISO 9000) from the Bureau Veritas in Dubai, UAE, in the year 1994.

He commenced his career as a construction engineer in India with Vivek Builders, where he was assigned the structural design of commercial and residential buildings. He went on to become a research assistant at Texas Tech University, his alma mater. Here, he taught testing produces and construction material to approximately 50 to 100 undergraduate students for each semester. He is today an esteemed geotechnical consultant and civil engineer in the New York metropolitan area.

When it comes to the implementation of safety practices for the health of construction workers in New York, he says the following guidelines should be followed at all construction and civil engineering project sites-

  1. Work schedules in New York should be modified in such a way to provide work distributed in nature. For instance, workers should be called to the site on alternative days, or they can be asked to work in extra shifts on the project site at a specific time.
  2. The administrative workstations should be rearranged in such a way that there is at least a distance of 6 feet between workers.
  3. Installation of barriers or shields like plexiglass barriers is recommended.
  4. Depending upon the site and workstation’s size, there should be facilities for frequent handwashing to accommodate the desired workforce at any specific time. Adequate supplies for handwashing must be given to the workers when they are on the site.
  5. The workers should be provided fresh and clean water. Portable restrooms should be on-site to help workers rest if they are feeling unwell.
  6. Correct training should be provided to the workers regarding proper handwashing techniques and daily hygiene.
  7. Workers should be educated about basic facts about COVID-19 and its spread in New York to stay safe.

Reddy Kancharla says the construction and civil engineering industry was one of the worst-hit sectors in 2020. There still are risks and challenges faced as workers return to project sites in New York this year. However, when it comes to safety measures and practices, they should be maintained at all times. The workers and employees of construction firms in New York should be trained and informed when it comes to the risks of exposure to the coronavirus and its spread. Employees should actively encourage any worker who reports sick to stay at home so that the rest of the team is safe from the risks of the virus.