Learning from the Past

In the day and age of the corona virus pandemic, the only way any company can possibly survive and move forward is to make health and safety the number one priority. Since the first moment that COVID-19 impacted our work output, both here at Western Allied and all throughout the construction industry, our daily lives and our work environments have had to adapt to keep people safe.

There’s been a steep learning curve for everyone during this pandemic, and Western Allied isn’t immune to this. In July alone, we’ve had multiple employees arrive on project sites while not feeling 100%. In the past, our frontline managers or superintendents could just send the person home, or that person could just power through their feelings and finish out the day. But since mid-March, there are so many more potential ramifications that go into these decisions, ones that stretch well beyond the walls of our company and our jobsites.

There is now a new normal for what our employees must do in the event that we have a health and safety incident, and we’ve ramped up our communication and documentation both out in the field and in our offices. Everyone has been doing a great job with our daily screening questionnaires, which allow us to properly be ready if we need to do contact tracing. In trying to keep all of our employees, subcontractors, general contractors and clients comfortable that our work is happening safely, we have created a Western Allied COVID-19 Safety Team that investigates any health concern brought up. This team is in charge of making sure that all precautions are taken immediately after these concerns arise, and they have plans ready to move quickly once information is verified. In the event of a positive test, this team would be responsible for contact tracing and tracking potential exposure in our company.

As a Bay Area contractor, Western Allied does work in several different counties that all vary in what their protocols are, and there’s even more protocols that come from both the state of California and the federal government. Our COVID-19 Safety Team is leading us to be responsible to all of these entities, not only for notifying the county about the positive test, but also for contact tracing, proper protocol for the employee who tests positive, how long people would need to quarantine or isolate for, and what steps are needed to return to work. This process can last anywhere from as little as 72 hours to as long as two weeks, and that’s even without a positive test.

That’s why we need to work together as a team to be responsible during this time. If you or an employee of yours is not feeling well or is appearing to have COVID-like symptoms, please relay that information to your supervisor or the Safety Director immediately. If you’re at the office or on a project, you should immediately isolate yourself, report your symptoms to your supervisor and quarantine at home, which you’ll need to do until you either receive a negative test or have been symptom-free for a minimum of 72 hours without the aid of medication, as the CDC recommends.

We have done a great job as a Western Allied family of being safe as we work through this pandemic. If we can do all the things outlined above, I am confident we will continue to be safe and responsible moving forward.