Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has called for the government to outline what checks and protections are to be put in place to guarantee the health and safety of construction workers once sites are given the okay to reopen.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“Before any building sites reopen the government must outline what protections will be introduced to protect the health and safety of construction workers.
“It is Sinn Féin’s strong view that a number of measures must be put in place before these sites reopen.
“A contractor must submit a written Covid19 safety statement to the Local Authority before construction work commences setting out how social distancing and other public health measures to protect workers will be ensured on site.
“The safety statement details of how workers – including sub-contractors – will travel to and from the site with due regard for Covid regulations.
“No construction site should re-open without an adequate supply of personal protective equipment and a confidential phone line should be provided for construction workers who want to report non-compliance with public health advice but are nervous of doing so for loss of employment
“Any contractor who is found to be in breach of the HSE’s public health advice should have their site shut down by the Local Authority.
“We called for this last week when some social housing sites re-opened and we believe the same rules should apply for every site.
“The trade union movement has been active on this and we support ICTUs calls for a protocol to be put in place as workers return to the workplace to guarantee their health and safety.
“In particular ICTU’s call that this protocol should not be voluntarily and should be mandatory has our full support.
“The health and safety of workers must be a priority. Before the construction sites were shut due to the government restrictions our office received daily correspondence from workers on sites that did not adhere to social distancing and hygiene rules.
“The government must now make it clear what its plan is in terms of the re-opening of both construction sites and the broader economy. We have yet to see what measures will be out in place to guarantee workers safety and this must be done before the restrictions are lifted.”