Covid-19 and the Concrete Industry’s Response

When it was clear that a nationwide pandemic was taking place, our members stepped up to ensure the safety of their employees and customers. While the Covid-19 crisis is something none of us have ever experienced, it has shown that the concrete industry remains vigilant in its responsive actions and continues to thrive even in these trying times.

From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that began in March, to the current date, it was Webb Concrete’s commitment to their employees and customers to provide a safe and healthy work environment, all while continuing to provide excellent service. Webb was deemed an essential business (as all construction was), which provided an opportunity for all of its locations to keep their doors open to service the communities with the building materials and concrete products needed to stay on course with project deadlines. 

Internally, the company immediately put into place a plan for all locations to have disinfectant products needed to maintain a sanitary work environment, including hand sanitizers in all of the company vehicles. They distributed signs for all locations to have visible stating that they were open for business, listing the CDC recommended guidelines for social distancing upon entrance. They also made necessary adjustments in staffing at locations to ensure their high risk employees were working remotely from home.

Webb also issued a self-policing method for hourly drivers to allow them to clock in/clock out from mobile devices, decreasing the amount of traffic in office areas. We used precautionary measures if someone was sick to go home and quarantine, also conducting professionally disinfectant cleanings for any locations possibly contaminated.

“We value our employees and their families, understanding that these times are scary and unusual for everyone,” said Phil Webb, President.

Therefore, Phil Webb issued a companywide hazard or “appreciation” pay to all salaried and hourly employees and sent a hand-written note of his gratefulness and encouragement that they would get through these troubled times together as a team. A gesture that was greatly appreciated and provided encouragement to the entire morale of the company. 

From a community standpoint, our members have assured their customers of the commitment to continue to serve them in a healthy and sanitary environment. Many offered curbside deliver and asked all vendors and customers to conduct business remotely when possible to limit face to face contact. Many companies offered virtual meetings and conference calls for any business needing to be conducted in a group setting.

“We provided PPE (masks, gloves) and hand sanitizer to all employees,” said Rick Passey with Kirkpatrick Concrete.  “Our operators are instructed to remain in their mixers, and not wait inside batch offices. Delivery tickets are not being signed to avoid contact, and customer copies are left at a mutually agreed upon spot. The operators have also been instructed that no one is to come in contact with anything other than the chute on the mixers.”

The company also made printed and electronic instructions available, and held safety meetings dealing with hygiene, symptoms, social distancing, which are still ongoing.

“We’ve developed protocol procedures for managers and employees to follow in the event an employee either contracts or is exposed to Covid-19,” said Johnny Young, VP of Human Resources for Bayou Concrete. “Hand sanitizer, face masks, gloves and disinfectant have been provided to all of our employees, and we are constantly reminding everyone of the need to follow these procedures.”

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to change daily, with the number of cases rising in most parts of the country. Our industry provides an essential material for economic recovery and ongoing sustainable development. Construction has a vital role to play in a post-pandemic recovery of communities and economies. We are so proud of the way our members have responded, and we will continue to work together to come out even stronger on the other side.

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