Group says COVID-19 violations continue at construction sites

‘Spotty’ enforcement blamed

Group says COVID-19 violations continue at construction sites

DEDHAM, Mass. — They were among the first industries to reopen in Massachusetts, so keeping COVID-19 at bay should be old hat by now at construction sites, but one group is charging that violations of the Phase 1 reopening rules continue in that industry -- because no one is paying attention.

"There's little to no spotty enforcement out there if they're not following the protocols," said Frank Callahan, president of the Massachusetts Building Trades Council, which represents union construction workers.

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Those protocols include mandatory social distancing and, when that's not possible, use of masks. Workers must also wear gloves and not congregate in groups. There's also a requirement that vehicles not be shared.

Callahan said he was recently apprised of an egregious violation of that rule -- when workers showed up to a job site carpooling in a van. When other employees complained to the project manager, the van was turned away.

“Unfortunate, number one, that those workers were put at risk,” Callahan said. “But then they lost a day’s pay.”

Callahan recently wrote a letter to Governor Baker asking for stronger language in the reopening regulations covering the construction industry. He also requested clarification on the use of masks (which he thinks should be universal on job sites) as well as better tracking of Covid-19 cases among construction workers.

He also wants protection for workers who feel compelled to walk away from construction sites because employers are not providing adequate personal protective equipment.

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