Construction on sites across Ireland is continuing despite stricter enforcement of social distancing in the country amid the coronavirus outbreak.
A spokesman for the Construction Industry Federation, Ireland’s representative trade body, told Construction News that work on outdoor sites was not expected to stop due to the spread of COVID-19. He said: “Building sites remain open pretty much everywhere. We’re not in lockdown yet, we’re carrying out social distancing and self-isolation if required, so sites are carrying on. The message we’re hearing from our members is that they want to keep work on sites going in the safest way possible.”
He added: “There is an eagerness to keep building and deliver hospitals, housing and essential infrastructure for the society and for the economy to continue. Workers are adapting to the concept of social distancing on sites and doing everything they possibly can to make the sites as safe as possible.”
Figures show the Republic of Ireland has recorded 557 positive tests for the disease as of Thursday, with three deaths.
The trade body spokesman said there was a “synergy” between employers, employees, unions and the government about how to keep onsite workers safe. He added: “Employers and employees are self-policing each other to adhere to HSE [Health Service Executive] guidelines; unions are advocating for measures to be safely implemented; sites are staggering work where possible.
“Employees are eating their lunch separately in their own cars, and there are no mass gatherings on site. Hand hygiene is being reinforced constantly, and PPE was already a religious practice in the industry, but it’s continuing and is even more strictly enforced.”
The spokesman said Ireland's HSE had been advising companies on how to continue working safely, by sending guidelines on social distancing and reinforcing health and safety standards.
In the UK today, the Federation of Master Builders said more than three-quarters of small and medium-sized firms had already seen projects cancelled or delayed due to the coronavirus. Earlier this week, Italian-based envelope specialist Permasteelisa told CN it was enforcing remote working and split shifts to keep the company running during the COVID-19 crisis.
Meanwhile, the city of Boston in the US has shut down all construction sites in an effort to fight the pandemic.
This Article was orginally seen at https://www.constructionnews.co.uk/health-and-safety/irish-sites-stay-open-despite-pandemic-20-03-2020/