Reopening Safely – A Practical Guide

With many states and localities easing their shelter in place orders, flooring installation is likely to increase. It is important that every installer take steps to protect themselves, employees, and customers from exposure to the coronavirus. Moreover, it is important to take precautions to minimize the risk of customers or employees claiming you are liable if they contract COVID-19.

The Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) have issued guidance on preparing workplaces to guard against COVID-19. These guidelines should be applied to minimize risks to employees and customers. CFI has reviewed the CDC, OSHA, and other guides, and has provided below the steps that every installer should consider to protect themselves, their employees, and customers from the coronavirus.

  1. The installer and its employees should stay home if sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
  2. The installer should take their temperature and the temperature of their employees each day before reporting to the job site.
  3. The installer should verify that the customer has not had or been exposed to anyone who has had COVID-19 or symptoms of the virus.
  4. If the installer or their employee is feeling ill or showing signs of the coronavirus, they should be sent home and not report to work until they have tested negative for the coronavirus.
  5. The installer and their employees should each wear a new or clean mask that covers the nose and mouth to prevent them from spreading the virus. These masks, however, do not substitute for additional personal protective equipment (PPE) that is required, such as the used to protect against silica dust or asbestos remediation.
  6. If the installer or their employee tests positive for the coronavirus, they should advise the flooring retailer or contractor and customers who had contact with the employee, BUT DO NOT USE EMPLOYEE’S NAME.
  7. The installer should limit the number of employees and customers present at any one time at work sites. The installer could stager shifts, breaks and lunch to avoid congregation.
  8. The installer and its employees should avoid physical contact with others and maintain at least six feet from others, where possible. Where work trailers are used, all workers should maintain social distancing while inside the trailer.
  9. The employer should require employees wash their hands with soap, and consider posting information on hygiene. If hands cannot be washed, such as on some job sites, the employer should supply and mandate the use of hand sanitizers. Hand sanitizer dispensers should be filled regularly.
  10. The installer and employers should properly cover all coughs and sneezes.
  11. The installer should use Environmental Protection Agency-approved cleaning chemicals from List N or that have label claims against the coronavirus.
  12. To the extent tools or equipment must be shared, provide and instruct workers to use alcohol-based wipes to clean tools before and after use. When cleaning tools and equipment, workers should consult manufacturer recommendations for proper cleaning techniques and restrictions.
  13. If portable job site toilets are used, they should be cleaned and disinfected regularly. Frequently-touched items (i.e., door pulls and toilet seats) should be disinfected.
  14. Workers should be encouraged to report any safety and health concerns.
  15. The installer may want to advise the customer that installation could be delayed if any worker or customer becomes ill.

While taking all of these precautions may not be practical for every flooring installer, they should implement as many of these precautions as possible. The installer also needs to check with their state and local governments to see if they have imposed any additional requirements or guidelines.

With the rapid pace at which laws, rules and orders are being issued, and now the lifting of shelter in place orders, CFI is working to keep members informed and updated regarding their opportunities and obligations during the COVID-19 crisis. CFI will also continue to provide other important information that may impact members.

Notice: The information contained in this update is abridged from legislation, court decisions, and administrative rulings, and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion, and is not a substitute for the advice of counsel.