Plans to re-open building sites on a site-by-site basis must not happen until it is deemed completely safe to do so

TD demands enforcement of Covid 19 guidelines in workplaces

Following a recent meeting between construction companies, unions and government departments to discuss the stress-testing of health and safety procedures to allow building sites to re-open, a Construction Industry Federation spokesperson said a return to work “could happen relatively quickly”.

It has emerged that builders have approached local authority management in the Meath and Louth areas to agree to the re-opening of several construction sites in these areas.

Responding to this Deputy Gino Kenny said: “While it is important to get essential construction projects such as public housing building back up and running, we must not rush into anything that could potentially put workers and surrounding communities in any danger of spreading Covid-19 or cause a resurgence of the virus.

“Any easing of Covid-19 measures must be done in a planned, structured and health & safety orientated way. Profit must not be allowed to trump the health and safety of workers and the wider community.

“We have found that neither the HSA nor the HSE have any role in enforcement measures for workplaces that are not applying best practice such as social distancing or making PPE and hand sanitizer available. Workers and the public need to know that some agency of the state can act on complaints from workers and close sites if need be before we think of reopening them.

“Developers cannot be allowed to dictate when and how construction sites re-open. They cannot be allowed to strongarm government into agreeing to the re-opening of sites until the HSE and the HSA are fully certain that it is safe to do so. We cannot gamble with workers’ health in an effort to get profits rolling in again.”