April 11th: Unite, which represents construction workers throughout Ireland, has written to NPHET seeking guidance on the optimum testing regime for construction sites. Although approximately 30% of construction sites have remained open throughout Level 5 restrictions, non-essential construction sites have been closed since January 8th and will start re-opening on a phased basis from tomorrow (Monday April 12th).
Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Tom Fitzgerald said:
“The feedback from our members is that significant efforts have been made by contractors to ensure that sites are Covid-safe and observe the safety protocols which were developed last year in conjunction with unions.
“Nevertheless, our members remain concerned about the possibility of transmission, especially on large sites and in circumstances where they have no option but to work closely together or in unventilated spaces.
“We feel that the best way to allay concerns and ensure that the risk of transmission is minimised, especially in a context where Covid-19 case numbers remains high in the community, is to ensure regular on-site testing. We have therefore written to NPHET seeking their guidance regarding the intervals at which testing should be carried out to ensure optimum protection of our members and the wider public.
“Unite also believes that project management companies on larger sites are best placed to coordinate testing programmes, and our union is available to work with such companies on implementation.
“Our members are eager to ensure that the phased re-opening of construction which starts tomorrow continues smoothly, and that the sector is not forced into a renewed shutdown due to a failure to observe best practice”, Mr Fitzgerald continued.