We all know the routine by now, wear your cloth mask, wash your hands, keep your social distancing, sanitize, screening, and monitoring.
But how did the construction industry take to the COVID-19 Directives?
Well for a start you will notice long queens of employees waiting to be screened. But the problem is not unique to construction we see this in every industry.
When you go banking or shopping you see the same control measures.
It is what happens after the screening where construction faces a completely different situation altogether.
A construction site is like a beehive of employees working over, amongst, and under one another.
Social distancing as much as what we like to think is impossible to maintain on a construction site.
It’s a time bomb waiting to explode, and if you think it won’t affect you, think again.
How many of the construction industries employees utilize public transport? Taxi’s, taxi’s which now operate at 100% capacity. The same taxi that nurses, tellers, fuel attendants, waiters, and housekeepers make use of. The same people that you come into contact with on a daily basis.
General laborers work hard to earn a living and they generally work in fear of losing that living.
With over a 30% unemployment rate in South Africa and a predicted 50% unemployment rate as is estimated at the end of this pandemic, having a job is sacred and should be protected at all costs.
The dreaded questionnaire
And that is exactly what happens on a construction site when an employee is faced with answering the questionnaire. Do you have any symptoms? And the answer a surrounding NO, every single time. If your temperature does not state any different, you’re on the project ready for another day’s hard-earned money.
The alternative to the answer no, is time spend in isolation with the default rule in construction applying, no work, no pay.
Construction projects are a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. A bricklayer simply put cannot maintain the 1.5-meter social distancing, and not only that, it’s hard labor and the mask will eventually become such a burden that it will come off. Bricks are handled between one another, with no gloves. The next trade comes and takes measurements from the newly build wall and the domino effect takes place.
COVID-19 might be brewing unbeknownst on a construction site and public transport is its network of distribution.
It is a double-edged sword.
The question is how much relief is there for the construction industry. An employer can’t face losing productivity, employees can’t face losing income. Both will push on, and the flint is becoming ever so shorter.