Keeping construction workers safe during the pandemic
Construction workers are seen working on a project in Toronto in this undated photo.
WINNIPEG -- Unions representing Manitoba’s construction and mechanical industry employers have partnered to improve guidelines for workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The measures, announced on Thursday, are an enhancement from previous guidelines announced March 31.
“We are collectively taking measures to protect our frontline construction workers by developing safety guidelines that ensure contractors continue to operate safely while allowing business continuity,” said Peter Wightman, director of the Construction Labour Relations Association of Manitoba (CLRAM), in a news release. “We encourage the whole of Manitoba’s construction industry to join us in adopting these guidelines as a new standard to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
Those collaborating on the project include CLRAM, the Mechanical Contractors Association of Manitoba (MCAM), Manitoba Building Trades (MBT) and OHS Global Risk Solutions.
The measures, which can be read here, includes telling workers not to come to sites if they're feeling sick, promoting proper handwashing, having hand sanitizer on job sites and promoting physical distancing when possible.
The release said worksites that do not provide these amenities or do not follow applicable guidelines could be deemed unsafe, and workers could exercise their right to refuse to work through the Workplace Health and Safety Act.
“The safety of our workers is paramount during this difficult time,” said Sudhir Sandhu, chief executive officer for MBT, in a release. “Workers and their families should feel confident that employers are taking measures to protect them.”
The release added that multiple construction organizations have endorsed the guidelines, including the Construction Association of Rural Manitoba, the Manitoba Association of Sheet Metal and Air Handling Contractors, the Manitoba Insulation Contractors Association, the Roofing Contractors Association of Manitoba, the Testing and Air Balancing Association, and the Manitoba Masonry Contractors Association.