THE consecutive reports of construction workers contracting Covid-19 prompted the Cebu City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to formulate guidelines for the construction industry.
As of Sept. 18, 2020, there are 17 construction workers from different projects who have tested positive for Covid-19.
Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera, EOC deputy chief implementer, met with the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) and Cebu Contractors Association to establish the guidelines, considering that social distancing is hard to follow in construction work.
Garganera said it was agreed during the meeting that if a construction worker tests positive for Covid-19, the contact tracing and swabbing of his close contacts will be undertaken by the City Government.
The food provision and isolation expenses though, need to be taken care of by the private contractor, he said.
Garganera said this is on top of the health protocol being implemented by the different contractors within their respective construction sites.
Considering that the social distancing protocol is impossible to follow in the construction work, the wearing of masks, face shields and gloves, practice of sanitation are strictly being implemented at the construction sites, he said.
Garganera said the contractors raised during the meeting the concern of transportation of their respective workers, saying some could hardly take a public utility vehicle to get them to the construction sites resulting in more exposure outside.
There are construction workers whose staff house or bunkers are not within the construction sites.
The contractors, according to Garganera, appealed to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) that they be given a permit to allow them to use their respective dump trucks and elf trucks to ferry the construction workers to and from the construction sites.
SunStar Cebu tried to get CCTO’s comment, but to no avail.
For bunkers or staff house which are located within the construction sites, Garganera noted that the respective contractors are able to control the movement of the workers.
Just like the business establishments and government offices, each construction site, as well as the respective staff house and bunkers of the construction workers, will be assigning a focal person so they can easily coordinate with the EOC in case a worker will test positive for Covid-19, he said.
Through this, it would be easier for the EOC to conduct contact tracing on the close contacts of positive individuals in the bunkhouses and staff houses, he said.
On Sept. 15, Cebu City recorded 15 construction workers who tested positive for Covid-19, the most number of cases on a single day. (JJL)