Maria Robertson

ATSSA member survey shows nearly half continuing normal business duties

An ATSSA survey shows nearly half of its members remained on the job with regular operations after restrictions went into place as a result of COVID-19.

Members had the opportunity to respond to the survey between March 18 and 25 and were provided the following options as to how their business or agency was handling operations under the COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the federal and state governments:

  • Continuing duties as normal
  • Continuing with outdoor work such as road project
  • Placing all staff on telework
  • Allowing those who could to telework, with others unable to work
  • Re-directing operations
  • Increasing operations
  • Ceasing operations.

The largest number of respondents, roughly 44 percent, said they were continuing with duties as normal. Another 16 percent were continuing with outdoor work. Only three respondents were either re-directing, increasing or ceasing operations. A chart showing the survey results is posted on ATSSA’s COVID-19 Updates page.

Plans could have changed since responses were provided, given the daily changes in developments regarding the pandemic.

Roughly 4 percent of the membership responded to the survey. They represented companies and agencies across the country with anywhere from 3 to 2,700 employees.

Only one mentioned having an employee quarantined out of concern for exposure to the virus.

The respondent with the largest staff represented a Department of Transportation in the Midwest. There they were continuing with operations but restricting face-to-face meetings and encouraging telework whenever possible.

A company in New York state was dealing with conflicting information as to whether its services were considered essential. The administrator felt they should fall into that category and had appealed to the state.

ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner this week reached out to the governors and lieutenant governors asking that members be considered “essential critical infrastructure workers” in alignment with guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The DHS guidelines note that states have the final say in deciding how to implement them.

Among companies that were employing a mix of approaches, social distancing and extra cleaning were part of the process.

One company had begun curbside delivery of items to customers who expressed concern about entering the business.

One large employer indicated that he heard the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and other DOTs were considering increasing operations while traffic volumes were lower than normal.

They saw this as a good opportunity to work with limited exposure to vehicles and thus minimize the risk in work zones.

“Some have said that as safety is our #1 goal for road construction that there is not a better time than now to get some work accomplished,” he wrote.

A Michigan company was employing a mix of options to keep its team working.

People who use computers throughout the workday are teleworking while people who go to construction sites are continuing to operate in the field. Lab employees are working rotating shifts to minimize the number of people in the building and to keep people separated.

One member’s company had seen an increase across multiple facets of his business. It provides a variety of products to its clients.

And one company had gotten a jump on the situation because of its connection to China where the virus originated.

“We saw the signs in early February and implemented our mitigation plan at our China operation then. Now we are fully staffed there and elsewhere around the world,” he wrote.

When travel isn’t an option, the company sets up video conferences and provides extensive documentation for its work.


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