How the Team at Averill Electric is Working to Keep Job Sites Safe
A Short Rundown of the New Health and Safety Policies the Company Has Put Into Effect in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Since the spring of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted major changes in how business is conducted across all trades and professions in the United States, and the construction industry is no exception. In Massachusetts, the state government has released an official set of rules and procedures to be observed by every firm still engaged in construction of any kind. These procedures are mandatory, enforced by random spot inspection, and any company found to be in violation of them is subject to hefty fines. Beyond this, though, Averill Electric has implemented its own, even stricter health and safety policies, meant to bring an extra layer of precaution to the job sites it takes on. Here, in the interest of educating the employees and public about Averill’s operations in these difficult and unprecedented times, is a short rundown of the new health and safety procedures Averill Electric has put in place to deal with the novel coronavirus.
Staff Awareness and Education
According to the company founder, Frank Averill, “as with most matters of health and safety, the first step to preventing an outbreak of COVID-19 on any given job site is awareness and education”. Averill Electric has invested a considerable number of resources in educating its employees about the symptoms, effects, and likeliest ways of contracting and disseminating the COVID-19 virus. After each new construction contract is secured, management formulates a custom-tailored plan to maintain physical distance and limit potential exposure to clients and co-workers alike on that worksite. Prior to the first day of work, all applicable workers meet to establish a comprehensive plan of action. Afterward, a site-specific COVID-19 officer is appointed whose role is to streamline and address all potential matters of concern.
Daily Health and Safety Checks
Before a shift begins, every employee — no matter their role — must self-certify to their supervisor that they have none of the classic symptoms of COVID-19, including a cough, fever above 100.3 degrees, or shortness of breath, a temperature check is administered just to be on the safe side. Workers must also swear that they have not been in close contact with anyone else under suspicion of having the virus, have not travelled outside the United States recently, and have not received instructions from a doctor or medical official to isolate or self-quarantine. A document is signed and kept on file with the results of the survey. Throughout the work week, the foreman documents where the employee is working and with whom they would be working with. The six feet social distancing rule is in effect at all times. This documentation is intended as a way to do contact tracing should an employee have symptoms or meet the guidelines of quarantine. There is absolutely zero tolerance for sick employees reporting to work. If a supervisor has any doubts as to the employee’s self-certification, they begin the company “Covid-19 incident response checklist”. The response checklist assists our workers on how to deal with situations if they come up. Upon completion of the checklist, it will be clear to the foreman whether an employee must be sent home or not.
On-Site Preventative Measures
Upon arriving at a job site, there are numerous measures taken by Averill Electric employees to maintain sanitary conditions. A policy of six feet of physical distancing between workers is enforced to eliminate the potential for cross contamination. In addition to the six feet social distancing, employees are required to wear face masks at all times. If two or more employees cannot avoid congregating (for instance, to work together to move a large object), a job safety hazard analysis is conducted to reassure employees that they have the proper PPE and are used correctly, such as face masks, safety glasses and gloves. That interaction is made as brief as possible, and all parties are dispatched to wash their hands immediately after completing the task.
Each worker is required to wear a face mask or face shield and is heavily discouraged from touching their face. Surfaces are regularly cleaned, and hand sanitizer is made available at multiple locations throughout the site along with personal size hand sanitizer bottles are provided for the employees to keep on their person at all times. No handshaking or other manner of intimate greeting is allowed. Each employee’s water bottle and food items are clearly marked with their names and kept segregated from others so that no one else handles them by accident.
“Although these procedures are cumbersome and add considerable expense to daily operations, they are implemented and enforced gladly” claims Frank Averill. Any measures that can be taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19 are well worth the time, effort, and cost. It is the wish of the whole team at Averill Electric to keep employees, clients, and all those they come into contact with safe and healthy.
Frank Averill is the founder, owner, and chief executive of Averill Electric Co., Inc., a privately held electrical contracting firm. Based out of Easton, Massachusetts, Averill Electric has been providing innovative, high-quality electrical design and construction services since its inception in 1996.
Among its more notable large-scale projects is the Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center, which at 100,000 square feet is New England’s largest social services development project, and features classrooms, a gymnasium, a chapel, a fully-equipped commercial kitchen, and an indoor aquatic facility. Averill Electric was responsible for installing its main service power generator, switchgear, emergency power network, fire alarms, lighting controls, security systems, as well as its outdoor soccer field lighting and score board. Averill Electric was also awarded the contract to oversee a retrofit and reinstallation of most electrical and communications systems in the Emerson College Colonial Building Dormitory, a ten story building located in the heart of Boston’s famed theatre district and containing the historic Emerson Colonial Theater. This $6 million gut and refit project required a team of 25 electricians and technicians to work for two years straight, installing a top-of-the-line 4,000-AMP power distribution system, brand new switchgear, state-of the-art security and alarm systems, as well as a 750-KVA roof-mounted emergency power generator, all the while leaving the surrounding theatre structure (which is pending Boston city-approved landmark status) pristine and virtually untouched.
Besides being an entrepreneur, a certified electrical contractor, and an outspoken proponent of small business, Frank Averill is also a philanthropist. He and his company are proud to lend their support to multiple charities, most prominently the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Shriners Hospital for Children, as well as conducting their own in-house winter coat and clothing drive each year. When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, Frank Averill noticed the terrible impact it was having on the ability of working families to keep food on the table and added the organization Feeding America to the roster of worthy causes directly supported by Averill Electric Co., Inc.