Staying Safe While Conducting Essential Fieldwork During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Staying Safe While Conducting Essential Fieldwork During the COVID-19 Pandemic image
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With the rise of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and globally, we at FirstCarbon Solutions (FCS) are working hard to ensure the health and safety of our staff and clients, and remain committed to helping mitigate the risk and spread of COVID-19 in the communities in which we live and work.

As an environmental consulting firm with in-house technical divisions including cultural resources, biological resources, and air quality, much of the work we do involves fieldwork and monitoring in support of construction projects that have been deemed essential to keep the economy and the country moving forward. These essential workers face a number of logistical challenges in the face of the pandemic, needing to travel between multiple project sites, and interact with other members of the project team, often while actively monitoring heavy machinery.    

To help keep our employees safe—in particular, our essential field staff, who are unable to work from home—we have implemented a series of measures and protocols that we believe will mitigate increased risk of COVID-19 contraction or transmission beyond any other permissible outdoor activity.

The following is our list of recommendations for employees working in the field, based on current OSHA and CDC precautionary measures:  

1. Wear Appropriate Protective Clothing

  • Wear gloves, goggles, face shields, face masks, or other respiratory protection as appropriate.
    • Please note that N95 medical masks should be reserved for medical professionals, Cloth face coverings such as scarves, T-shirts, or sewn masks are all suitable options.

2. Apply Proper Sanitization

  • Use hand sanitizer, soap, alcohol wipes, etc. as often as available to promote personal hygiene, and after any use of public facilities or areas (including bathrooms, stores, gas stations pumps, etc.).
  • Wipe down and clean equipment after use and prior to storage with disinfectant.
  • Regularly wipe down phones, laptop/computers, iPads, and other handheld equipment with disinfectants.

3. Practice Social Distancing

  • Use media-based communication where possible and avoid in-person meetings.
  • Establish coordination of site visits ahead of time if possible.
  • Avoid social gatherings.
  • Limit or eliminate public transportation.
  • Leave at least 6 feet of space between individuals meeting in person.
  • Avoid handshakes.
  • Limit occupancy to one person per vehicle when traveling to and from project sites.

4. Log and Track Your Locations

  • Be deliberate in logging and tracking your locations so that if an exposure is reported, you can be informed if possible.

5. Stay Home if Needed

  • Stay home if you are sick or experiencing any symptoms.
  • Any employee who does not wish to go into the field should not be required to do so.

While no measures are foolproof and are subject to changing regulations and circumstances, a series of robust protocols are an essential first step. As we continue to navigate these challenging and uncertain times, FCS remains dedicated to putting the safety of our staff, clients, and community first.

Businesses across multiple sectors are only beginning to perceive the far-reaching effects and implications the pandemic will have on their operations and industries. However, with everyone's commitment to implementing clear precautionary measures while performing their job duties in the field, we can do our part in mitigating the challenges and risks posed by COVID-19 together.

 

FirstCarbon Solutions (FCS) comprises over 100 individuals offering due diligence, technical analyses, regulatory compliance, and permitting services for public and private projects. Want to learn more? Contact us for a free consultation to find out how we can help.


About the author

Dana DePietro

Dana DePietro photo

Dana is the Associate Director for FirstCarbon Solutions. He has more than 16 years of experience in all aspects of cultural resources management, including prehistoric and historic archaeology, paleontology, materials conservation, history of art and architecture, and community engagement.

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In an ever-changing regulatory and sustainability environment, FCS understands the challenges you face. Our highly qualified environmental specialists, energy management consultants, and technical experts deliver integrated, industry-specific solutions that move your project forward—so that you can focus on what matters.