Implementing Workplace Controls During COVID-19

April 13, 2020

This article was adapted from the COVID-19 in the Construction Industry webinar on April 9, 2020.

To watch the full webinar, click here.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, when it may not be possible to eliminate the hazard, the most effective protection measures are engineering controls, administrative controls, safe work practices, and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Engineering Controls

►          Installing high-efficiency air filters.

►          Increasing ventilation rates in the work environment.

►          Installing physical barriers, such as clear plastic sneeze guards.

►          Installing a drive-through window for customer service.

Administrative Controls

►          Encouraging sick workers to stay at home

►          Minimizing contact among workers, clients, and customers by replacing face-to-face meetings with virtual communications and implementing telework if feasible.

►          Establishing alternating days or extra shifts that reduce the total number of employees in a facility at a given time, allowing them to maintain distance from one another while maintaining a full onsite work week.

►          Discontinuing nonessential travel to locations with ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks. Regularly check CDC travel warning levels at:

►          Developing emergency communications plans, including a forum for answering workers’ concerns and internet-based communications.

►          Training workers who need to use protecting clothing and equipment how to put it on, use/wear it, and take it off correctly, including in the context of their current and potential duties. Training material should be easy to understand and available in the appropriate language and literacy level for all workers.

Safe Work Practices

►          Providing resources and a work environment that promotes personal hygiene. For example, provide tissues, no-touch trash cans, hand soap, alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol, disinfectants, and disposable towels for workers to clean their work surfaces.

►          Requiring regular hand washing or using of alcohol-based hand rubs. Workers should always wash hands when they are visibly soiled and after removing any PPE.

►          Post handwashing signs in restrooms.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Examples of PPE include: gloves, goggles, face shields, face masks, and respiratory protection, when appropriate. All types of PPE must be:

►          Selected based upon the hazard to the worker.

►          Properly fitted and periodically refitted, as applicable (e.g., respirators).

►          Consistently and properly worn when required.

►          Regularly inspected, maintained, and replaced, as necessary.

►          Properly removed, cleaned, and stored or disposed of, as applicable, to avoid contamination of self, others, or the environment.


To watch the full webinar, click here. For more information on COVID-19, check out our live dashboard at

If you have any questions about the content and resources provided in the webinar above, please contact


About the Author:

Jade Simmers

Director of Risk Management

HMK Insurance, an Alera Group Company

Jade Simmers joined HMK Insurance in January of 2018 to begin the HMK Risk Management Department. Jade has 25 years of experience in Health & Safety/Risk Management and has worked in both the fields of construction and general industry.  Jade has been working in the insurance industry for the last eight years and has worked for both insurance carriers and brokers.  In his current role, he works with HMK commercial clients to assess, address, and mitigate safety-related and OSHA-regulated hazards. To HMK clients, Jade has provided regulatory programs & training, job-site & facility hazard inspections, safety committee facilitation, accident investigation, and on-call consulting.  Jade actively participates in the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of ABC and the Lehigh Valley Safety Committee, where he is frequently a guest speaker.  Jade is an OSHA Outreach trainer for both the Construction & General Industry and holds an Advanced Safety Certificate with the National Safety Council.