Gerry McCormack said: “Our absolute priority is for the health and safety of workers both in construction and across the economy. For as long as the Government holds the position that construction sites should stay open, we will be working tirelessly to ensure that the Covid-19 containment standards can be met. Where distancing and other safety standards cannot be met those sites should be closed. Employers have a duty of care to their workers and we intend holding them to that. SIPTU representatives who are concerned about safety standards at a particular site will insist on its immediate inspection.“
He said that there should be full compliance with the guidelines issued by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions today (26th March) which state:
“Full compliance with Health and Safety Legislation, Regulations and Public Health advice on all construction sites is crucial. All ‘essential services’ construction sites should be identified immediately and assessed to ensure their full compliance. Personal Protective Equipment should be supplied to all workers, where appropriate, on these sites.
“Non-essential services construction sites should not be open unless they are fully compliant with these safety measures. A full risk assessment of all ‘non-essential services’ construction sites should be carried out over the next 24 hours and those found to be non-compliant should be closed immediately.”
Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, workers are entitled to remove themselves from any premises that represents a hazard or danger to their health and welfare and they cannot suffer any loss as a result.