Handling A Positive COVID-19 Test On The Job Site, Des Moines Updates Inspection Protocols & a COVID-19 Healthcare Planning Checklist

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Request to Members

We are aware that individual MBI members have been ordered to discontinue all or part of their work by certain owners on individual public and/or private projects.

WE WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE HAD A PUBLIC AND/OR PRIVATE OWNER ORDER YOU TO DISCONTINUE CONSTRUCTION, MAINTENANCE OR REPAIR OPERATIONS.  This data and information will help us to stay ahead of this pandemic when discussing the issue with state leaders.

Please email Ben Hammes with any specific information.  In confidence. THANK YOU!

We have a positive COVID-19 case on our job site.  What do we do?

In this section, we are sharing a best practices document that was shared with us AGC of America.  Thanks to them, we are able to provide this guidance in what to do if you have a positive case of COVID-19 on the job site.  In addition, we strongly recommend the continued guidance put out by the CDC and Iowa Department of Public Health.

If you have a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, you are encouraged to take the following steps.

  1. Remove the infected, or potentially infected, employee from the workplace or jobsite: Before the employee departs, ensure you have a full list of affected employees who should be sent home (i.e., individuals who worked in close proximity (three to six feet) with them in the previous 14 days).  For suspected cases, take the same precautions and treat the situation as if the suspected case is a confirmed case for purposes of sending home potentially infected employees.
  2. Contact the local public health department. If you have a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, you should contact the local public health department to report the situation and to get any advice from the department on steps to take to handle the situation.
  3. Ensure a medical evaluation is completed: The employee should contact their primary care physician to discuss the symptoms that they are experiencing and follow any orders given.
  4. Investigate: Just as you would investigate a workplace injury (i.e., slip and fall), you must do the same for COVID-19, suspected or confirmed cases, and document your investigation. Investigating will also assist with the determination of work-relatedness of the confirmed case or exposure.COVID-19 can be a recordable illness if a worker is infected as a result of an event or exposure in the work environment.  However, employers are only responsible for recording cases of COVID-19 if all of the following are met:
    – The case is a confirmed case of COVID-19 (see CDC information on persons under investigation and presumptive positive and laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19);
    – The case is work-related, as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5; and
    – The case involves one or more of the general recording criteria set forth in 29 CFR 1904.7 (e.g., medical treatment beyond first-aid, days away from work).
  5. Identify corrective actions: These items will include what measures should be put into place to prevent further spreading of the virus on the jobsite or in the workplace as well as future occurrences.  Such measures may include the cleaning and sanitizing of the work area(s) and/or tools (hand and power) as well as reinforcing the guidelines for prevention outlined by CDC with others in the workplace and on the jobsite.
  6. Establish a procedure to follow up: Communicate with both affected and non-affected employees on the status of the suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case, but do not communicate the name of affected individuals or specific medical diagnoses.  Where there is a confirmed case of COVID-19, affected employees should be notified and encouraged to seek medical attention. If a suspected case tests negative, affected employees should be notified and encouraged to return work.

City of Des Moines issues updated Inspection Protocols

In response to the COVID-19 virus, the Permit and Development Center inspection staff from the City of Des Moines issued the following protocols effective immediately:

Inspections Protocol

  • Inspectors shall not conduct inspections in rental or multi-family dwelling units, unless they are unoccupied or new construction.
  • Inspectors shall not enter occupied residential structures to conduct inspections. The following can be used as alternatives for occupied residential structures:

o Exterior inspections such as sewer & water replacements, exterior electrical installations, and other exterior work may continue to be conducted.  Contractors shall maintain at least a 20-foot distance from inspection staff.

o Interior inspections of occupied residential structures may be conducted using alternative methods such as digital photos or Facetime video calls.

  • All in-person inspections at occupied hospitals and healthcare facilities are suspended until further notice.

o Critical work being conducted at healthcare facilities shall be allowed to proceed. Inspectors shall work with contractors to find creative solutions to make this happen. Inspection by video, photo, or other means is supported and encouraged.  Exceptions to this rule can be made if there is a direct entrance to the work area. Please use extreme caution and communicate with the Deputy Building Official for further direction.

Inspection requirements

  • Inspectors shall conduct inspections alone. Personnel on site shall vacate areas to be inspected until the inspector is gone. If a contractor is close enough to have a conversation with an inspector, the contractor is too close.
  • Inspectors shall minimize exposure to other people on construction sites, and shall maintain a minimum 20-foot separation distance from personnel who are on site at the time of inspections.
  • Inspectors may communicate with contractors using the universal thumbs up/thumbs down sign to indicate inspection results. Inspectors shall further communicate inspection results via phone or email to those not able to see the thumbs up sign and to those who get a thumbs down.
  • Contractors shall minimize the number of personnel on site at the time of inspections and shall provide inspectors a 20-foot distance from any personnel who must be on site at the time of inspection.
  • Inspections sites shall be ready for inspection prior to the inspector’s arrival with no personnel on any of the areas where the inspector will go. No personnel shall be in contact with the inspector once they arrive until the time the leave the construction site. Results will be communicated via phone or email. Inspection results can also be found at Search for Permits.
  • Plumbing groundwork and sewer, water, storm inspections shall be ready with testing in place at the time of inspection. Tests shall be conducted with the inspector maintaining a 20-foot distance from others or be provided video evidence of the test. Inspectors shall not be in trenches pulling test bulbs, etc.
  • Plumbing contractors are responsible to test piping and correct deficiencies. Coordinate with plumbing inspectors on how to verify/ document pipe testing, etc.
  • Plumbing/Mechanical contractors are responsible for pressure testing gas lines and correcting deficiencies. Coordinate with inspectors on how to verify gas pressure tests.

Inspection Scheduling

  • Construction inspection scheduling remains the same. Please call the inspector’s voicemail to set up a time. Inspectors are regularly checking their voicemail throughout the day.
  • If you need to locate your inspector and contact information, please use the Show Me My House function on our website. You can find the link here.
  • Inspections will be scheduled daily, but the inspections must adhere to the inspection protocols that are listed above. This is included having the inspector be the only at the construction site, social distancing of at least 20 feet, etc.

Additional information can be found at www.dsm.city/pdc or emailing permits@dmgov.org

Fire Prevention Bureau Inspections

New construction inspection scheduling remains the same. Inspections shall be scheduled through a DMFD administrative assistant at 515-283-4222 and required supporting information can be sent to firedept@dmgov.org.

We are asking that any inspection that can be done remotely do so utilizing a video feed from the site with facetime or similar. The inspector will follow up with the inspection contact person to discuss and make these arrangements.

When that is not possible arrangements should be made to clear the area of testing of personnel not essential to the inspection to limit the group size and allow for compliance with separation guidelines. If neither of these can be met we ask the inspection to reschedule to a time when a remote inspection or limiting personnel can be arranged.

Des Moines inspections tags and inspection personnel permitting and testing is suspended, consistent with the states suspensions of similar.

New submittals should be mailed when possible. When not possible they may be dropped in the submittal basket in the vestibule of the AMT> it is not necessary to enter the AMT, consistent with city guidelines to limit traffic within public buildings. Smaller projects that meet the Wednesday walk-in service constraints may be emailed.  Expanded electronic submittal processes are being explored updates to follow.

COVID-19 Healthcare Planning Checklist

We wanted to share with you a COVID-19 Healthcare Planning Checklist from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response that falls under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  You may wish to utilize this document on your job sites or corporate office as you see fit.

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