Construction has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, although in many states building continues while other businesses are shut down. Equally important, construction companies are learning a critical lesson from the coronavirus problem: safety must be paramount. How they are responding can be helpful information for others in the field.

A coalition of critical infrastructure and construction companies has banded together to launch the “NEXT Coalition” to promote and share industry safety best practices. Black & VeatchDPR ConstructionHaskell and McCarthy Building Companies are leveraging their safety expertise and best practices in a campaign to ensure the well-being of crews and office team members facing complex challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak.

The coalition seeks to identify and advance processes and technologies most likely to bolster construction safety in response to COVID-19 and that can be applied in the future. To that end, the coalition is launching the “Construction Safety Challenge,” an open call to companies, startups, and innovators with emerging safety solutions that can be quickly deployed and scaled.

The NEXT Coalition seeks both new startups and seasoned companies to partner with its members to implement products and processes that will enhance health and safety in the field and back office. Submissions must be as close to market-ready as possible, though proof-of-concept/prototype-stage solutions will be considered. Solutions that are chosen may be deployed by coalition members on active projects around the globe.

The Construction Safety Challenge seeks solutions in areas that include safety policy compliance, screening, tracking and tracing, real-time communication, incident tracking, data analytics and others. Technologies may include screening, mobile apps, disinfection, wearables, contact tracing, PPE (personal protection equipment) and more.

In construction, work cannot be done remotely and social distancing can be challenging. This makes developing solutions to minimize or quickly mitigate the onsite transmission of COVID-19 and future virus-based pandemics essential.

The Construction Safety Challenge is facilitated by Brightidea, a management platform that accelerates the success of modern approaches by harnessing the creative potential of organizations. Developed ideas are submitted through a web portal, a mobile app, or by email, then reviewed by subject-matter experts at each company.

So, take the Challenge, remembering that Safety is everyone’s business.

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