With the U.S. topping 4,000 daily deaths from COVID-19 for the first time on Thursday, it’s now more important than ever for roofing contractors to do their part in staying safe.

The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), in conjunction with a construction industry safety coalition, is supporting a national COVID-19 safety stand down from Jan. 11-15. During the week, contractors are encouraged to hold a dedicated training session that highlights the hazards of COVID-19 and what employees can do to slow its spread.

“The safety stand down is a voluntary event by employers to reinforce the need to follow all COVID-19 safe work practices and protocols and encourage workers to be vigilant in preventing the spread of the virus,” said NRCA CEO Reid Ribble in a letter.

 Examples of what can be done include:

  • Selecting a day to do a brief, focused session on COVID-19 hazards the week of Jan. 11
  • Ensure any meetings and Toolbox Talks are held with social distancing in mind; otherwise, hold a conference call or virtual meeting
  • Hold Toolbox Talks in English and Spanish using resources from the NRCA
  • Make copies of the Toolbox Talk to email or otherwise provide to workers
  • Have a group leader discuss the key points of COVID-19 symptoms, methods of transmission, people most at risk, and how to protect themselves and others
  • Ask whether workers have questions about protocols your company has in place and provide answers or clarifications
  • Remind workers of the importance of personal hygiene and safe practices, and thank them for participating in the stand down

Roofing contractors should also consider a plan for vaccination once it is made available to the construction industry, which could be as soon as this quarter. Vaccinations can be made mandatory, but there are some caveats for employers to consider when pursuing this option.

“The depth of this recession, how bad it’s going to get, is going to be determined now by the availability and distribution of the vaccine, and quite frankly, on the willingness of the American people to take the vaccine,” Ribble said.