By the nature of their work, construction workers have a high risk of getting injured in accidents on NYC construction sites. Now many of them are facing another deadly threat as they have recently been asked to return to work after the State expanded the list of “essential building work” from hospitals, affordable housing and infrastructure projects to schools, hotels, restaurants, banks, convenience stores, appliance stores and storage facilities among others as long as ground has already been broken.
As a results thousands of construction sites are kept open in the city putting at risk construction workers and their families to catch the deadly virus.
Profit ahead of safety
Some construction workers are wondering why construction sites such as hotels have been deemed essential and are saying that their bosses are not taking the pandemic seriously, putting profit ahead of safety.
Other construction sites have found loopholes to stay open. For example in Elmhurst, a large construction site for a Target shopping center that will also be housing a Starbucks and a Chipotle was allowed to continue work as it will eventually host some type of “healthcare facility or ambulatory diagnostic treatment”.
Residents in some NYC buildings have also complained that non essential work such as renovation work is still continuing in their building under the exception that allows one-person jobs. As a result while delivery persons and non resident visitors are not allowed in the buildings, construction workers continue to use the service elevator. Read more in Curbed
For those construction sites which are still open, OSHA recently released COVID-19 guidance for the construction workforce. Among the most important ones:
- Workers should stay home if they feel sick to prevent infected others
- Construction workers should wear masks in addition to regular regular PPE necessary to protect them from other work hazards related to construction work
- Workers should avoid physical contact with other employees, contractors or visitors and respect social distancing more particularly if they have to get inside a trailer
- Clean shared equipment or tools with alcohol based wipes before and after use
- Promote personal hygiene and washing hands regularly or provide alcohol based hand rubs if workers cant access water
The complete lists of measures can be found here