Union wrote to Intel project management companies in March
NPHET must provide guidance on testing for construction sector
April 23rd: Responding to the the news that at least 70 construction workers on the Intel site in Kildare have tested positive for Covid-19, Unite – which organises workers throughout the construction sector – today (Friday) highlighted the urgent need for a rigorous testing regime on construction sites. Unite first called for such testing in May of last year, and in March wrote to Intel’s project management companies Exyte and DPS Engineering pointing out that rigorous testing would not only increase confidence among those working on sites but also minimise the risk of business interruption due to works being closed down as the result of a Covid-19 outbreak. Unite has also been in contact with NPHET seeking their guidance on the optimum testing regime for the sector.
Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Tom Fitzgerald said:
“Unite’s construction branch met last night and the feedback we are getting is that some of the basic health measures put in place last year, such as social distancing, have started to break down on the Intel site with insufficient facilities forcing workers to queue at close quarters. Unite members are concerned that this, combined with the absence of a uniform and rigorous testing regime across the project, has created the conditions for an outbreak on the site.
“The Intel outbreak must act as a wake-up call for the sector as a whole. In addition to a renewed focus on basic hygiene facilities, there is now an urgent need for a regular on-site testing regime conforming to best practice.
“As the economy continues opening up, we must take all necessary measures to protect the health of construction workers and their communities, and regular Covid-19 testing is fundamental to that”, Tom Fitzgerald concluded.