COVID-19 Exposure Prevention, Preparedness,

and Response Plan

Revised May 25, 2021

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY GRAND TRAVERSE REGION takes the health and safety of our employees and volunteers very seriously.  With the spread of the coronavirus or “COVID-19,” a respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we all must remain vigilant in mitigating the outbreak.  In order to be safe and maintain operations, we have developed this COVID-19 Exposure Prevention, Preparedness, and Response Plan to be implemented throughout the Company and at all of our jobsites.  We have also identified a team of employees to monitor available U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) guidance on the virus.

This Plan is based on currently available information from the CDC, MDHHS and MIOSHA, and is subject to change based on further information provided by the CDC, MDHHS and MIOSHA, and other public officials.  The Company may also amend this Plan based on operational needs.

I. Responsibilities of Managers and Supervisors

All managers and supervisors must be familiar with this Plan and be ready to answer questions from employees and volunteers.  Managers and supervisors must set a good example by following this Plan at all times.  This involves practicing good personal hygiene and jobsite safety practices to prevent the spread of the virus.  Managers and supervisors must encourage this same behavior from all workers.

II. Responsibilities of Employees and Volunteers

We are asking every one of our employees to help with our prevention efforts while at work.  In order to minimize the spread of COVID-19 at our jobsites, we all must play our part.  As set forth below, the Company has instituted various housekeeping, social distancing, and other best practices at our jobsites.  All employees/volunteers must follow these.  In addition, employees/volunteers are expected to report to their managers or supervisors if they are experiencing signs or symptoms of COVID-19, as described below.  If you have a specific question about this Plan or COVID-19, please ask your manager or supervisor.  If they cannot answer the question, please contact Angela Clem at aclem@habitatgtr.org

CDC, MDHHS and MIOSHA have provided the following control and preventative guidance to all workers, regardless of exposure risk:

  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and running water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Follow appropriate respiratory etiquette, which includes covering for coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Any employees who are experience symptoms of Covid-19 is not to report to work or work in an isolated location.
  • The employer shall increase facility cleaning and disinfection to limit exposure to SARS-CoV-2, in accordance with the latest CDC guidance. The employer shall use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)- approved disinfectants that are expected to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 based on data for harder to kill viruses.
  • Mask Coverings are required indoors for all unvaccinated and not fully vaccinated employees.  You are not fully vaccinated until 2 weeks have passed after receiving the final does of an FDA-approved or authorized Covid-19 vaccine.

In addition, employees must familiarize themselves with the primary symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Uncontrolled Cough;
  • Fever;
  • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing; and
  • Secondary symptoms such as Loss of taste or smell, muscle aches (“myalgia”), sore throat, severe headache, diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, and abdominal pain.

If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as uncontrolled cough or shortness of breath, DO NOT GO TO WORK and call your healthcare provider right away.  Likewise, if you come into close contact with someone showing these symptoms, call your healthcare provider right away.

III. Job Site Protective Measures

Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region has instituted the following protective measures at all jobsites.

A. General Safety Policies and Rules

  • Any employee/contractor/visitor showing one of the primary symptoms or two of the secondary symptoms of COVID-19 will be asked to leave the jobsite and return home.
  • Safety meetings will be by telephone or zoom, if possible. If safety meetings are conducted in-person, attendance will be collected verbally and the foreman/superintendent will sign-in each attendee.  Attendance will not be tracked through passed-around sign-in sheets or mobile devices.  During any in-person safety meetings, follow the current guidelines provided by MDHHS and MIOSHA.
  • Unvaccinated and not fully vaccinated employees/volunteers must avoid physical contact with others and direct employees/contractors/visitors to increase personal space to at least six (6) feet, where possible. Where work trailers are used, only necessary employees should enter the trailers and all employees should maintain social distancing while inside the trailers.
  • All in-person meetings will be allowed in accordance MDHHS and MIOSHA guidelines. To the extent possible, meetings will be conducted by telephone.
  • Employees/volunteers will be encouraged to stagger breaks and lunches, if practicable, to reduce the size of any group at any one time to less than ten (10) people.
  • The Company understands that due to the nature of our work, access to running water for hand washing may be impracticable. In these situations, the Company will provide, if available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers and/or wipes.
  • Employees/volunteers should limit the use of co-worker’s tools and equipment. To the extent tools must be shared, the Company will provide alcohol-based wipes to clean tools before and after use.  When cleaning tools and equipment, consult manufacturing recommendations for proper cleaning techniques and restrictions.
  • Employees/volunteers are encouraged to limit the need for N95 respirator use, by using engineering and work practice controls to minimize dust. Such controls include the use of water delivery and dust collection systems, as well as limiting exposure time.
  • The Company will divide crews/staff into two (2) groups where possible so that projects can continue working effectively in the event that one of the divided teams is required to quarantine.
  • Employees/volunteers are encouraged to minimize ride-sharing.
  • In lieu of using a common source of drinking water, such as a cooler, employees and volunteers should use individual water bottles.

Additional Jobsite Safety Precautions Include:

  • Whenever possible power tools and their use will be assigned to one individual to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.  If these tools need to be used by others, additional sanitizing will be performed regularly.

B. Workers entering Occupied Building and Homes

  • When employees/volunteers perform construction and maintenance activities within occupied homes, office buildings, and other establishments, these work locations present unique hazards with regards to COVID-19 exposures. All such workers should evaluate the specific hazards when determining best practices related to COVID-19.
  • During this work, employees/volunteers must sanitize the work areas upon arrival, throughout the workday, and immediately before departure. The Company will provide alcohol-based wipes for this purpose.
  • Employees/volunteers should ask other unvaccinated or fully vaccinated occupants to keep a personal distance of six (6) feet at a minimum.  Workers should wash or sanitize hands immediately before starting and after completing the work.

C. Job Site Visitors

  • The number of visitors to the job site, including the trailer, ReStore or office, will be limited to only those necessary for the work.
  • All volunteers/contractors and employees will be screened in advance of arriving on the job site.  If the visitor answers “yes” to having a primary symptom or two of the secondary questions, he/she should not be permitted to access the jobsite.  In addition, as part of the screening, the following questions are asked and if answered yes, the following is required:
    • Have you been in close contact with any persons who has been confirmed positive for COVID-19? That any and all individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or who display the principal symptoms of COVID-19 should (apart from seeking medical care) remain in their home or place of residence until:
    • (a) 24 hours have passed since the resolution of fever without the use of fever- reducing medications;
    • (b) 10 days have passed since their symptoms first appeared or since they were swabbed for the test that yielded the positive result; and
    • (c) other symptoms have improved.
    • And:
    • That any and all people who have had close contact with an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 or with an individual who displays the principal symptoms of COVID-19 should remain in their home or place of residence (apart from seeking medical care) until either:
    • (a) 14 days have passed since the last close contact with the sick or symptomatic individual; or
    • (b) The individual displaying COVID-19 symptoms receives a negative COVID-19 test.
  • Site deliveries will be permitted but should be properly coordinated in line with the employer’s minimal contact and cleaning protocols.  Delivery personnel should remain in their vehicles if at all possible.

D. Personal Protective Equipment and Work Practice Controls

  • In addition to regular PPE for workers engaged in various tasks (fall protection, hard hats, hearing protection), employers will also provide:
    • Gloves: Gloves should be worn at all times while on-site. The type of glove worn should be appropriate to the task. If gloves are not typically required for the task, then any type of glove is acceptable, including latex gloves. Employees should avoid sharing gloves.
    • Eye protection: Eye protection should be worn at all times while on-site.
    • NOTE: The CDC is currently not recommending that healthy people wear N95 respirators to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Employees/volunteers should wear N95 respirators if required by the work and if available.
  • Due to the current shortage of N95 respirators, the following Work Practice Controls should be followed:
    • Keep dust down by using engineering and work practice controls, specifically through the use of water delivery and dust collection systems.
    • Limit exposure time to the extent practicable.
    • Isolate workers in dusty operations by using a containment structure or distance to limit dust exposure to those employees/volunteers who are conducting the tasks, thereby protecting nonessential workers and bystanders.
  • Institute a rigorous housekeeping program to reduce dust levels on the jobsite.

IV. Job Site Cleaning and Disinfecting

Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region has instituted regular housekeeping practices, which includes cleaning and disinfecting frequently used tools and equipment, and other elements of the work environment, where possible. Employees/volunteers should regularly do the same in their assigned work areas.

  • Jobsite trailers and break/lunchroom areas will be cleaned at least once per day. Employees performing cleaning will be issued proper personal protective equipment (“PPE”), such as nitrile, latex, or vinyl gloves and gowns, as recommended by the CDC.
  • Any trash collected from the jobsite must be changed frequently by someone wearing nitrile, latex, or vinyl gloves.
  • Any portable jobsite toilets should be cleaned by the leasing company at least twice per week and disinfected on the inside. Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region will ensure that hand sanitizer dispensers are always filled. Frequently touched items (i.e. door pulls and toilet seats) will be disinfected frequently.
  • Vehicles and equipment/tools should be cleaned at least once per day and before change in operator or rider.
  • If an employee/volunteer has tested positive for COVID-19, OSHA has indicated that there is typically no need to perform special cleaning or decontamination of work environments, unless those environments are visibly contaminated with blood or other bodily fluids. Notwithstanding this, Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region will clean those areas of the jobsite that a confirmed-positive individual may have come into contact with before workers can access that work space again.
  • Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region will ensure that any disinfection shall be conducted using one of the following:
    • Common EPA-registered household disinfectant;
    • Alcohol solution with at least 60% alcohol; or
    • Diluted household bleach solutions (these can be used if appropriate for the surface).
  • Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region will maintain Safety Data Sheets of all disinfectants used on site.

V. Jobsite Exposure Situations

Employee/Volunteer Has Close Contact with a Tested Positive COVID-19 Individual

If the Company learns that an employee/volunteer has tested positive, the Company will conduct an investigation into co-workers that may have had close contact with the confirmed-positive employee in the prior 14 days and direct those individuals that have had close contact with the confirmed-positive employee/volunteer to self-quarantine for 14 days from the last date of close contact with the carrier.  If an employee/volunteer learns that he or she has come into close contact with a confirmed-positive individual outside of the workplace, he/she must alert a manager or supervisor of the close contact and also self-quarantine for 14 days from the last date of close contact with the carrier.

VI. OSHA Recordkeeping

If a confirmed case of COVID-19 is reported, the Company will determine if it meets the criteria for recordability and reportability under OSHA’s recordkeeping rule.  OSHA requires employers to record work-related injuries and illnesses that meet certain severity criteria on the OSHA 300 Log, as well as complete the OSHA Form 301 (or equivalent) upon the occurrence of these injuries.  For purposes of COVID-19, OSHA also requires employers to report to OSHA any work-related illness that (1) results in a fatality, or (2) results in the in-patient hospitalization of one or more employee.  “In-patient” hospitalization is defined as a formal admission to the in-patient service of a hospital or clinic for care or treatment.

OSHA has made a determination that COVID-19 should not be excluded from coverage of the rule – like the common cold or the seasonal flu – and, thus, OSHA is considering it an “illness.” However, OSHA has stated that only confirmed cases of COVID-19 should be considered an illness under the rule.  Thus, if an employee/volunteer simply comes to work with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (but not a confirmed diagnosis), the recordability analysis would not necessarily be triggered at that time.

If an employee/volunteer has a confirmed case of COVID-19, the Company will conduct an assessment of any workplace exposures to determine if the case is work-related within 24 hours and notify any co-workers, contractors or suppliers who may have come in contact with the person with a known case of Covid-19.  Work-relatedness is presumed for illnesses that result from events or exposures in the work environment, unless it meets certain exceptions.  One of those exceptions is that the illness involves signs or symptoms that surface at work but result solely from a non-work-related event or exposure that occurs outside of the work environment.  Thus, if an employee/volunteer develops COVID-19 solely from an exposure outside of the work environment, it would not be work-related, and thus not recordable.

The Company’s assessment will consider the work environment itself, the type of work performed, risk of person-to-person transmission given the work environment, and other factors such as community spread.  Further, if an employee/volunteer has a confirmed case of COVID-19 that is considered work-related, the Company will report the case to OSHA if it results in a fatality within 30 days or an in-patient hospitalization within 24-hours of the exposure incident occurring.

VII. “Essential” Industry

Several States and localities are issuing orders that prohibit work and travel, except for essential businesses. In general, construction work has been deemed essential and Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region is committed to continuing operations safely. If upon your travel to and from the worksite, you are stopped by State or local authorities, you will be provided a letter that you can show the authorities indicating that you are employed in an “essential” industry and are commuting to and from work.

VIII. Confidentiality/Privacy

Except for circumstances in which Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region is legally required to report workplace occurrences of communicable disease, the confidentiality of all medical conditions will be maintained in accordance with applicable law and to the extent practical under the circumstances. When it is required, the number of persons who will be informed of an employee’s/volunteer’s condition will be kept at the minimum needed not only to comply with legally-required reporting, but also to assure proper care of the employee/volunteer and to detect situations where the potential for transmission may increase. A sample notice to employees is attached to this Plan. Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region reserves the right to inform other employees/volunteers that a co-worker (without disclosing the person’s name) has been diagnosed with COVID-19 if the other employees/volunteers might have been exposed to the disease so the employees/volunteers may take measures to protect their own health.

IX. General Questions

Given the fast-developing nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region may modify this Plan on a case by case basis. If you have any questions concerning this Plan, please contact Angela Skeans at aclem@habitatgtr.org.

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