While the construction industry was turned upside down in March 2020, our experienced risk management leadership ensured that we were ready to respond, and quickly.
Long before we’d ever heard the term “COVID-19,” Dickinson Cameron Construction was known for its dedication to the safety of our field teams, partners and jobsites. While the construction industry was turned upside down in March 2020, our experienced risk management leadership ensured that we were ready to respond and quickly. Leading this charge was Corporate Safety Officer Thomas McCollum and Human Resources Manager Daniela De La Rosa.
“For DCC, the first hurdle of doing business during the pandemic started before most cities even experienced an uptick in cases,” remarked McCollum. Seeing the direction that things might be heading, he began sourcing the necessary PPE and cleaning supplies for jobsites. Field teams quickly received N-95 masks, thermometers, hand sanitizer and surface disinfectants. This allowed the sites and offices to remain open—and safe—while many others had to pause. Additionally, new cleaning requirements were implemented immediately and COVID-19 tests were purchased to be used in house as an added safety measure.
With offices on both coasts and active projects in a minimum of five different states at a time, one of the most daunting tasks of the pandemic has been keeping up with various state, local and municipal COVID-19 requirements. Not to mention ensuring that our field teams were complying with these ever-changing ordinances.
“Time is of the essence when dealing with COVID-19 regulations, so we created the DCC COVID Response Team that would meet, decide upon and disseminate important information quickly to the rest of the company and partners,” added De La Rosa. “We also held virtual training sessions for our superintendents and field managers to make sure that we were confident and consistent in our safety messaging. This truly was a situation where we wanted to make sure work continued, but first and foremost that we kept our team safe. It took a substantial amount of communication and planning to accomplish both.”
While Dickinson Cameron-run construction sites experienced zero outbreaks, there were a handful of positive tests recorded. “If there was a positive test, or even a suspected positive case, we practiced extreme caution by closing down jobsites until they were sanitized and safe,” remarked McCollum. Adding, “We required the CDC-prescribed quarantines for those who tested positive and for those with whom they came in contact.”
Asked to reflect on the unprecedented times, both believe a number of positives have come out of the pandemic. For Tom, it is the company’s dual focus on team safety and client satisfaction that most impressed him. “We kept our team safe in scenarios we’d never experienced while we continued to complete projects to our DCC standard,” he shared.
Similarly, Daniela believes DCC’s ability to remain nimble will serve the company well. “Many of us worked remotely with no notice. We improved our technology and communication tools on the fly. I really believe that we proved to ourselves and our clients that no matter the situation we can adapt and produce.”
As we near the two-year mark of COVID-19, Dickinson Cameron remains hopeful that life can return to “normal.” Nevertheless, we continue to refine our corporate safety protocols, streamline executive-to-field communications, and prepare to tackle whatever challenge come next.