Builders at our Core: Keeping Team Members Safe

This article is included in the Great Things: Issue 2 edition of the DPR Newsletter.

Workers wear mask on a construction site.
DPR has changed the way work is done to keep people safe while continuing to deliver results. Courtesy of DPR Construction

For businesses operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is anything but business as usual. Normal routines have been upended, and organizations have responded to the challenges by changing the way they work to protect the safety of employees, customers and communities. From maintaining social distance to donning face masks, the day to day of essential workers looks different than it ever has.

Construction is one such essential industry. While many projects remain operational, some sectors have experienced increased demand in the face of the current global health crisis. Hospitals continue to undertake herculean efforts while internet providers experience increased traffic, all with a view to helping people through the current crisis.

Taking care of people has always been at the heart of DPR. As projects continue to move forward, project teams have adjusted how they work to protect not only employees and their families, but customers and communities as well. Measures have been implemented on every DPR jobsite to keep people safe, the first being assessing personal health and risk factors before stepping onsite.

Jobsite workers wear face mask and practice social distancing.
DPR has implemented measures recommended by the CDC to safeguard health on all project sites. Courtesy of DPR Construction

Prior to entering any jobsite, team members must complete a Pre-Screen Self-Assessment with questions aimed at determining whether COVID-19 related symptoms or risk factors exist. Self-Assessments consist of:

  • questions delivered via an app on either a team member’s personal phone or on a DPR-supplied tablet.
  • a temperature check administered by a trained screener with a non-contact infrared thermometer or camera. If no fever is present, the team member is given a daily wristband or sticker indicating they have been cleared to enter that day.
  • information shared with designated DPR COVID-19 Captains, and if applicable, trade partners, vendors and client leads.
A team member gets his temperature checked, and another washes her hands.
Temperature checks are carried out to rule out fever before admittance, and extra hand washing stations have been deployed. Courtesy of DPR Construction

DPR’s Whitney Dorn reflected on her jobsite’s first go at screening. “More than 250 people went through the COVID-19 screen on our jobsite. The first day went swimmingly! The screen itself only took 45 seconds. The DPR Safety and craft team members are our first line of defense, keeping us safe.”

Once on the jobsite, team members practice social distancing, maintaining at least a 6-foot distance from each other. That means pre-task planning that takes social distancing into account. Additionally, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, wearing cloth face masks is required. Extra hand washing stations are available on project sites, with reminders to wash hands often. Common areas and tools are sanitized frequently, and wherever possible team members avoid sharing tools.

Four team members practice social distancing while wearing face masks on a jobsite.
Team members wear cloth face masks and practice social distancing. Courtesy of DPR Construction

These safety measures taken on-site enable DPR to continue to deliver essential projects even during this pandemic. For example, on the East Coast, a longtime DPR healthcare partner issued an urgent request to DPR to modify 100 patient room doors and add glass panels into doors to enable care providers to observe patients while limiting direct exposure. The request came with a target timetable of just over a week. DPR responded immediately and mobilized an experienced self-perform workforce that knew the medical center well. The team formulated and deployed a plan best suited for the work, with the smallest impact to the customer and patients. DPR’s Chris Strock said, “I’m not sure we would be able to respond as quickly and with such confidence if we did not have self-perform work capabilities.