Toolbox Talk - May 2020

Written by Matt Taylor, CHST, SMS

We understand these times can be overwhelming and confusing due to the regular informational changes on COVID-19. This can lead to misinformation and misdirection at no fault of any individual.

I have been monitoring these changes daily and adjusting our safety and health program to the continuous recommendations in order to keep OCP employees as safe as possible. Please watch this short Town Hall Video on quarantine procedures.

I will share the websites I have been following in order to try and bring clarity to why we are following certain procedures. We are following the direction of the following agencies:

Each one of these agencies can have different viewpoints on the same issue. OCP follows the most stringent of all three. For example, the CDC has made face coverings a strongly recommended practice, and Ohio Health Department has made it mandatory for business and its employees.

This is where we have been getting our safety protocols for the field and office environments under Sector-Specific Operating Requirements.

OCP is required to follow the mandatory section and where feasible enact the recommended best practices. One might misread this form if not accustomed to looking at these changes daily. For instance, at first glance of the Construction Responsible Restart you will not see where temperature taking at the gate is mandated, but if you see, “Behind Employees must perform daily symptom assessment.” OCP’s daily health check form that all have been completing, that moves you to the very bottom of the page where it states, “Daily symptom assessments should include taking your temperature with a thermometer and monitoring for fever. Also, watch for coughing or trouble breathing.”

This CDC page has to be looked at very carefully. Under the section Communities, Schools & Workplaces a few sections apply to OCP.

Under Cleaning & Disinfecting you find guidance on approved disinfectants, worker safety & support construction falling under “Critical infrastructure and Sector Response Planning.” This is where the base of our COVID safety plan comes from. All agencies have agreed upon social distancing of six feet or more as the best defense we can practice in all workplaces. This always begs the question, what does direct contact mean? For much of the time, the definition was close contact (within about 6 feet) for a prolonged period. This definition can be hard to find but it is in this pamphlet by the CDC on contact tracing.

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is used by OCP when we need to follow when someone is tested. This states, “Based on our current knowledge, close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before illness onset until the time the patient is isolated. They should stay home, maintain social distancing, and self-monitor until 14 days from the last date of exposure.” This is located on the second page at the bottom under the three pictures.

Best Practices

I encourage all employees to practice in and out of work:

  • Six-foot distancing

  • Avoid as much as possible direct contact with others outside your home

  • Wear face coverings to protect and respect others around you

  • Practice frequent and regular hand washing (20 seconds)

  • Disinfect frequently

  • Use the websites above to gather your information.

The correct information is critical. False information is as damaging and spreads just as fast as COVID-19.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me. I ask that you email me at with the subject line, “HEY MATT QUESTION”. I will try to respond to your question within 48 hours.

Stay Healthy