Covid-19 and construction industry

 

Sir, – If construction is to be the “guinea pig” for reopening the economy, has a risk assessment been done for mobilising over 100,000 people next Monday?

The Leaving Certificate exams have been cancelled due to fears of infection, and that was to be held in limited local settings, for half the number of people, and 10 weeks later. Construction mobilisation will involve tens of thousands travelling to sites, predominantly in Leinster, from regions across Ireland and Europe next weekend.

From Monday, these “family units” (according to the Construction Industry Federation) will share sites, vehicles and bedrooms on workdays, before returning to their own families on weekends, in every part of Ireland.

Construction does not have the same controls as offices and factories, because it is made up of sub-contractors who work in parallel under financial penalties, and who move between sites with materials, tools, clothing and personal protective equipment.

This rushed restart of construction, perhaps due to financial pressures on the State, on capital budgets and on contractors themselves, seems contrary to the careful, phased reopening planned in every other sector. The stakes are too high to risk another blindspot, such as happened in nursing homes, direct provision centres and meat factories. – Yours, etc,

ORLA HEGARTY,

Assistant Professor,

School of Architecture,

Planning and

Environmental Policy,

University College Dublin,

Belfield, Dublin 4.