NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Director of Labour John Pinder said yesterday that while adherence to COVID-19 protocols has improved on construction sites, there continues to be too many instances of breaches among the industry.
According to Pinder, inspectors from the Occupational Health and Safety Unit (OHSU) continue to visit construction sites across New Providence to ensure adherence to protocols.
He said the ratio of compliance to non-compliance at these sites has been 60:40, noting that workers have been found wearing masks below their noses, and failing to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Pinder acknowledged the unique challenges associated with construction, which often requires more than one person on-hand to handle heavy items and equipment.
“As best we can we are trying to get them to follow those protocols,” he told Eyewitness News.
“So, what we have been doing is, we have been actually sending the teams out there to make recommendations. The last time we went to The Pointe, there were a number of persons at The Pointe that my team had actually asked management to send home to get themselves properly geared.
“…It’s more wearing of masks than anything else. We are trying to make sure that is happening.
“When we see that not happening we put pressure on the supervisor or the persons performing on the job and cause them to close down.”
During a national address last week Monday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said the construction industry presents challenges to the health officials in relation to COVID-19.
“To put it in a nutshell, what we see is the construction industry now becoming the so-called breeding ground for COVID-19,” Minnis said.
The prime minister also noted that police officers will monitor construction sites to ensure that health protocols are being adhered to amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week, Bahamian Contractors Association (BCA) President Michael Pratt said a wide range of professionals and construction companies took the BCA’s OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) COVID-19 course and were able to implement the training in the workplace and their homes.