Bahamian Contractors Association (BCA) President Michael Pratt yesterday said he was surprised by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis’ recent announcement that construction sites have become the newest breeding ground for COVID-19.
Minnis said during a national address on Monday that the construction industry has in particular presented new challenges to health officials, a comment Pratt said the BCA takes very seriously.
“The recent comment by the prime minister was surprising and is being taken very seriously by the BCA. The primary focus of our members should be to protect the lives of our workforce. We believe we will see the effect of this virus for months to come,” Pratt said in a statement yesterday.
“We are currently experiencing not only project delays but also supply chain disruptions and we cannot afford to lose our workers. This means construction companies need to proactively mitigate the impacts on their businesses. The COVID-19 protocols for the construction industry must be strictly adhered to.”
Because of the influx in cases associated with construction workers, the prime minister said the police will be monitoring sites to ensure that mask-wearing protocols are being followed by all construction workers. He added that operations will now be fined for non-compliance with the orders related to mask wearing and other physical distancing protocols.
Pratt said home and project owners ought to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the protocols and report infractions.
“The BCA has embarked on an extensive training program to provide training on the COVID-19 virus and workplace preparedness. A number of individuals, professionals and construction companies have taken our OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] COVID-19 course and have been able to implement this training in the workplace and their homes. This online course has been well received and we are positive that we have favorably impacted our industry through this education initiative. We are now releasing the recorded online version and signing up is possible on our website www.bahamascontractors.org as of next Monday, September 14, 2020,” he said.
“COVID-19 has forever changed every facet of life on the planet in terms of responding to infectious disease outbreaks and pandemics. Utilizing OSHA’s developed preparedness and response planning guidelines, we provide direction on infection prevention, hygienic practices and the design, development and implementation of a corporate infectious disease prevention and response plan. Such preparedness may be used in responding to any epidemic, infectious disease outbreaks and pandemics. Our objective is to keep the industry current with regards to training and safety.”