Taken from 9News – 04/04/2020
Building sites are operating under new regulations to ensure workers stick to social distancing guidelines.
The biggest construction companies are splitting break times and locations as well as staggering shifts to keep works across the country running and on schedule. The sector employs 1.2 million people and is among the biggest provider of full-time jobs in the national economy.
Multinational Lendlease has separated its workers to reduce large gatherings on construction sites.
It has moved some office staff off-site, staggered shifts on its larger sites and created extra break facilities to stop workers gathering in the same place.
It has also increased the use of digital tools to reduce the need for face-to-face meetings.
“Additional measures include the promotion of best practice hygiene, increased frequency of cleaning in common areas and amenities, and ensuring hand sanitisers are available for all site personnel,” Dale Conner, Lendlease CEO of building, said.
John Holland, which has 60 projects across Australia, New Zealand and south-east Asia, has also introduced staggered shift start times and meal breaks. Visitors to sites have also been restricted.
The company has also established a COVID-19 taskforce with representatives across the business to plan for potential developments.
“On current government advice we have adopted a series of protocols to protect our people and the wider community, but we understand the situation is fluid and we will respond accordingly,” a spokesman for John Holland said.
Construction companies have also suspended all domestic travel and totally banned international travel. Face-to-face training has also been axed.
The new measures come after the Master Builders Association and the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) stressed the industry’s vital economic role.
“A shut-down of building and construction would devastate not only the livelihoods of more than 1 million Australians but would be a disaster for the living standards of the whole community,” they declared in a joint statement.
Both unions and industry representatives have called on the federal government for a stimulus package directed at keeping construction trade going.