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Calgary construction workers stuck in pandemic

CALGARY – Some construction sites in Calgary have been affected by the pandemic, but many have taken drastic measures to ensure safety.

“In any case, pay a lot more attention to cleanliness,” said construction worker Eric Woodcock.

“Usually we act, we are Neanderthals, basically all of us, there is a lot more hand disinfection, more sinks. We put in several sinks and did everything we can to get as much hand disinfection into our hands as possible.”

Woodcock is working on a construction site building retail and condominium buildings in the northeast.

He said building can be difficult to break social distance, but they want to keep their jobs.

“For anyone who knows the nature of this animal, it is impossible to do some things this far apart, but whatever is physically possible we always keep at least six feet upright as best we can,” said Woodcock.

The Calgary Construction Association announced that a new Pandemic Log Document has been created to help companies address new security measures to protect against COVID-19.

“The document we started with really marked the beginning of our efforts to help the entire industry understand the safety of COVID,” said President Bill Black.

“They change the train’s engine while the train is running to implement new standards.”

“Naturally Dangerous Business”

According to Black, the document contains guidelines that businesses large and small can follow to keep workers safe.

“Building is inherently dangerous business,” said Black.

“We deal with safety every day and safety is a job in our industry. It is developed, enforced, monitored and measured on a daily basis.”

Black suggests that many companies already have ideas and protocols in place to ensure physical distancing and disinfection.

“Meet outdoors rather than indoors, where the space can be more easily used to distance yourself,” Black said.

“Limit the size of meetings. In some locations, the employees don’t eat alone, but have lunch in their vehicles and manage the accumulation of points.”

Hundreds of jobs per location

For Woodcock, he said there were fewer people on the construction site.

“We keep our site numbers low, like the number of men, but each of these companies has an office full of people,” said Woodcock.

“Just one location alone, there are hundreds of jobs.”

Regarding the potential for the spread of coronavirus, Woodcock said workers are taking different actions than usual.

“We come here and do our job, which is unfortunately currently unique in the world. We are in the minority there,” he said.

“The main difference is when you leave the site, you go home. You don’t go to the store, you can’t go out to dinner, you go home, clean yourself up as best you can, and hopefully see your family.”

According to the province, OSH has carried out 165 inspections in the construction sector since March 15. None were specific to COVID-19-related threats.

“The recent inspections have placed an emphasis on education and awareness of COVID-19 threats, particularly social distancing, personal protective equipment, and disinfection and cleaning practices,” spokeswoman Adrienne South said in a statement.

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