COVID-19 – Worksite Health and Safety Requirements for Contractors
As providers of critical services, Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and UniSource Energy Services have taken precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 at our companies, protect our workforce and preserve our ability to maintain safe, reliable energy service for customers.
We’re wearing face coverings, following social distancing guidelines, cleaning our tools and equipment regularly, limiting vehicle sharing, working remotely whenever possible and taking other steps to keep our worksites safe.
Contractors provide valuable services to our companies and are critical to our mission. To protect our entire workforce, all contract company employees must follow the following health and safety requirements. We also strongly encourage those working alongside us on public improvement projects to take similar preventative measures that can help keep our communities healthy.
- Comply with your company’s or entity's plan and procedures to manage COVID-19 exposure.
- Comply with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
- Comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) COVID-19 Control & Prevention guidelines.
- Comply with recommendations developed by federal and local governments.
- If requested, provide subject matter expert advice to our companies about the prevention and control of infectious disease, specific to the contractor’s line of work.
- Support and comply with all recommendations and requirements of TEP and UniSource.
- Immediately notify your TEP or UniSource representative if a contractor employee tests positive for COVID-19, is exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19 or misses work while exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 after working in close proximity to TEP or UniSource employees or at any company property or worksite. These individuals must not report for work at any TEP or UniSource facility until they have clearance from our company.
- If requested, submit daily a personnel roster to your TEP or UniSource representative.
- Follow all new screening and security procedures at company offices and worksites.
- Instruct contractor employees performing work for our companies to work remotely whenever possible.
- Report any delays to company projects based on pandemic restrictions imposed by your local jurisdiction, or a reduction in your company’s work capacity due to employee illness.
- Continue to focus on safety. Safety remains our company’s highest priority, particularly during this public health challenge. As we adapt to new work practices, we must maintain protections and procedures that allow us to work without injury.
- Use face coverings as described below.
Face Coverings Required Indoors at All Times
To make sure all members of our workforce feel confident about their safety at work, face coverings that cover the mouth and nose are required at all times while indoors at our facilities. This requirement applies to all employees and contractors regardless of whether workers are six feet from another person or working inside an office or conference room with the door closed.
TEP and UniSource continue to evaluate the best available public health guidance to promote the safety of its workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. The intention is for all employees and contractors to take personal responsibility for implementing identified controls to protect themselves and their coworkers.
COVID-19 safety protocols are now considered a critical life-saving safety requirement. The evidence that face covering safeguards are effective, when used uniformly and consistently, is abundantly clear and not up for debate. By treating these protocols in the same manner as other serious workplace safety and health rules, we will place extra emphasis on reinforcing these protocols as a team.
The following information is intended to apply to all employees and contractors in the course of their duties for the TEP and UniSource.
- Employees and contractors are required to wear face coverings at all times indoors in all TEP and UniSource facilities.
- Employees and contractors are required to wear face coverings outdoors when they cannot maintain physical distancing of at least six feet in the course of their work.
- Employees and contractors who enter a customer’s home or indoor facility in the course of their work are required to wear a face covering.
- When a face covering is mandated, employees and contractors are required to ensure that the face covering fits properly and is worn in a manner that covers the nose and mouth.
- Employees and contractors who enter a customer’s home or indoor facility in the course of their work may, on a voluntary basis, wear a filtering facepiece respirator (N95/KN95) for which they have been qualified through TEP’s and UniSource’s Respiratory Protection Program.
- All employees and contractors may voluntarily wear face coverings or dust masks full-time, in the course of their job duties, should this not create a greater hazard.
- Exceptions to these guidelines must be approved by the area Vice President, in consultation with the Corporate Safety Director.
Guidance for face coverings:
- Face coverings are defined as fabric coverings or surgical masks that cover the nose and mouth. They are worn to protect coworkers from any droplets or aerosols that are emitted when the wearer speaks, breaths, shouts, coughs, or sneezes. In addition to protecting coworkers, face coverings may also provide the wearer some level of protection.
- Cloth face coverings or surgical masks are not considered respirators. Respirators and N95/KN95 masks are governed differently than face coverings, under OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard.
- Properly fitting face coverings correlates to increased protection for the user and coworkers
- Factors that improve face coverings effectiveness and fit:
- Face coverings which completely cover the nose and mouth, fit snugly and don’t have gaps.
- Face coverings made with tightly woven fabrics, such as cotton and cotton blends.
- Face coverings made with two or more fabric layers, but still breathable.
- Face coverings with a moldable nose wire.
- Knotting the ear loops to tighten the mask.
- Doubling up by wearing a disposable mask under a cloth mask.
- Additional considerations:
- Gaiters should have two or more fabric layers or folded over to create two layers.
- Face shields alone are not a replacement for face coverings, but may provide additional protection when worn in addition to a face covering.
- If wearing glasses, find a mask that fits snugly across the nose to help prevent fogging. There are many factors that contribute to fogging. It may take some experimenting to find the best version of face covering for your face and style of glasses.
- Don’t use masks with exhalation valves or vents; these will allow virus particles to escape.
- Maintenance and care for face coverings:
- Disposable masks should be disposed of daily, or sooner, if they become dirty or damaged.
- Employees and contractors should clean and maintain face coverings or respirators in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidance. If manufacturer’s guidance is not available:
- Reusable masks should be washed regularly (daily is preferable).
- Include the masks with your regular laundry.
- Use regular laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth.
- Use the highest heat setting appropriate for the cloth and leave in the dryer until completely dry. Masks also can be air dried or dried in the sun—ensure that they are completely dry prior to use.
For more information about face coverings or the Respiratory Protection Program, please contact Corporate Safety. You may also find information at the CDC website.
Here are additional guidelines for workers:
- If use of a face covering interferes with a worker’s ability to perform essential job functions, consult with an onsite TEP or UniSource representative about the possibility of alternate mitigation efforts.
- Workers can remove face coverings to eat or drink. They do not need to put it back on between bites or sips. However, workers must resume wearing a face covering after they are finished and should maintain proper physical distance at all times.
- Face coverings may be removed for a safety reason.
Employees and contractors without face coverings will be denied entry into worksites.