We Need to Stay Focused on Protecting Workers from the Coronavirus

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As I write this column, coronavirus case numbers continue to spike in many parts of the country. This means people working on your projects are more likely to show up with the virus and put others at risk, and state and local officials may once again consider imposing lockdowns that impact your projects and possibly even your operations.

That is why it is essential that we continue to take every possible step to protect workers from the coronavirus. The good news is few industries have done a better job protecting workers than the construction industry. We have implemented comprehensive new safety practices, adjusted schedules and participated in safety events like AGC’s nationwide coronavirus safety stand down. And we have regularly reinforced, and enforced these new safety procedures. As a result, our industry has not suffered the kind of debilitating outbreaks that other sectors of the economy have experienced — so far.

But with cases on the rise in much of the country, we need to remain extra vigilant to make sure workers are protected and that our industry is doing its part to flatten the curve.

That is why we need to make sure everyone on your projects knows all your coronavirus safety requirements. We need to make sure they follow them, and we need to make sure we send people home who are not complying with those requirements. If we have learned anything, it is that there is no margin for error when it comes to COVID.

Once again, our industry finds itself just a stroke of a pen away from being shut down. What will make the difference is if all of us make sure we are doing our part to protect workers, and through them, their families and our communities, from the spread of the coronavirus.

We will have a great opportunity to do that as we collectively participate in National Construction Safety Week, which is now taking place the week of Sept. 14. AGC of America is a signature supporter of the week, and we hope all of you will be participating this year.

While the planned activities cover — rightly — a broader range of safety issues, I urge all of you to set aside as much time and resources as you can spare to reinforce your COVID-19 safety procedures during the week, as well as before and after.

The coronavirus is a challenge like few others, but with all of us engaged and focused on enforcing the safety protocols, we will get through this just as we have prior crises. Keeping our workers safe and healthy is the best way to make sure our industry can play the lead role in rebuilding the American economy, after all.