A 'waste' for construction industry to have protective clothing when HSE needs them

A 'waste' for construction industry to have protective clothing when HSE needs them
File photo of dust masks. Photo: iStock

Architecture and planning expert Orla Hegarty has called on the construction industry to hand over to the HSE any personal protective equipment (PPE) they have.

It was a “waste” of PPE to give them to construction workers when they are needed by the HSE she told RTÉ radio’s Today with Séan O’Rourke show.

“It’s time to close the building sites. People are being put at risk,” she added.

The issue here is money.

Ms Hegarty acknowledged that some sites are important such as utilities.

The director general of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), Tom Parlon said he was “inclined” to leave the decision about closing down building sites “to the experts”.

So far the construction industry has followed public health advice “to the tee” with regard to social distancing, introducing measures such as staggered starting times for workers, he said.

The construction industry was critical for the country, he said. With many projects currently being undertaken to help the fight against the coronavirus such as the building of testing centres and modular pods.

This “massive” build had happened so quickly because of “the lack of red tape and rigmarole.”

Mr Parlon said that is any building site that was not safe then it should not be allowed to operate. The issue for the government was one of proportionate decision making, he said.

Meanwhile, a trade union is calling for all construction sites to close immediately.

Unite the Union says social-distancing is not possible during the Covid-19 emergency.

It claims 150,000 construction workers are in danger of getting the coronavirus and bringing it back to their families.

    Useful information
  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;
  • GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
  • ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024

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