Updated safety standards and protocols for construction projects

June 22, 2020

Yale Facilities temporarily halted most active, on-campus construction projects for thirty days on Friday, March 20, due to the pandemic. This pause in work was then extended through Wednesday, May 20. During that time, a team was formed to focus on creating best practices for the construction companies and their staff working on campus and specialty construction trades working for Facilities in smaller capacities.  

This team, along with Yale’s insurance administrator, worked with safety representatives from four major construction management firms focusing on large-scale construction projects. They created a safety bulletin for all vendor contracts. Training on these new practices for staff and contractors was rolled out over a two-day period in March, as Facilities teams prepared to return to campus in May. 

 Increased safety practices include:

  1. Workflow planning to mitigate construction crew crowding for each project. 
  2. Worker spacing to maintain the targeted 6-feet of distancing. 
  3. Increased sanitation in work areas, including additional facilities to support personal hand cleansing.
  4. Increased protocols for wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). 
  5. Increased site controls to support potential needs for contact tracing. 


Using technology to keep people safe

Each project site now includes signage about social distancing, hand washing, and a pre-shift, sign-in survey. The entrance areas include a QR code that takes workers to a daily survey and a sink for handwashing. Hand sanitizers have also been placed throughout each site. As part of the on-site work, each team member experienced what it takes to wear multiple layers of PPE inside a construction environment with no active ventilation.

Project ramp-ups continue

Although a handful of projects continued through these two months, several projects restarted on May 20. Each week, Facilities continues to ramp-up construction sites through the end of June. “We’ve had great success in obtaining cooperation from the men and women in the construction industry. What makes this unique is the fact that most projects under construction do not have the environmental controls that completed construction provides, such as temperature, humidity, or environmental controls,” said Keith Fordsman, Facilities Capital Program Director.

While most projects have restarted, some in the Residential College portfolio have been postponed until the summer of 2021. This is because these areas are currently being used for community support.

Many thanks to all the Yale staff and vendor partners who worked to make this happen!