Top News

Newfoundland and Labrador workers still shoulder-to-shoulder on construction sites, trades organization says

SNC-Lavalin, Dragados and Pennecon reached a milestone on Tuesday night with the West White Rose concrete gravity base structure’s first concrete slip pour completed.
The West White Rose construction site at Argentia is seen in a file photo. - Contributed

Trades NL stated Friday it is concerned with the continued operation of construction sites in the province in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A news release states that, respecting that contractors are making strong efforts to create controlled work environments, Trades NL is not seeing a scaling down of some projects where there are a large number of workers in a very confined workplace. 

“(Thursday) we wrote the Minister of Health asking him to engage his officials and officials from the Chief Medical Officer to review the West White Rose project site and determine if the operation meets all the special measures set out by government in the public health emergency,” Darin King, Trades NL executive director, said in the release.

The West White Rose project currently has over 600 trade workers on site, which is expected to increase to over 1,400 with the commencement of the next concrete slip pour scheduled for April 6.

Husky Energy, leading developer of the West White Rose project, says it is continuing to monitor the situation related to COVID-19.

“Our priority is the health and safety of our workforce, their families and our community,” Colleen McConnell, senior communications specialist, said in a statement.

“The contractor, SDP, has been taking measures to reduce exposure at the Argentia site, including risk screening at the front gate before access and social distancing measures on-site.

“SDP is following the guidance from the Chief Medical Officer for the province, and implementing the measures she has suggested.”

The statement notes that Husky continues to evaluate the situation.

“Before any decision is made to increase staffing for a slipform, a comprehensive risk assessment would be conducted with the focus on the health and safety of the workforce and the ability to operate safely,” McConnell said.

King noted there are other projects around the province having construction workers often in close quarters, and moving frequently between sites and sharing tools.

“At a time when the province’s Public Health Emergency is asking people to practice social distancing and that gatherings of 50 people or more are not allowed, we still have job sites where our workers are required to work shoulder to shoulder,” King said. “In short, we are asking government to use their resources and protocols to reassure our members that it is safe to work at these construction sites.”

Trades NL is an umbrella labour organization which co-ordinates the interests of 16 building and construction trades unions, representing more than 18,000 skilled trades workers in Newfoundland and Labrador.

telegram@thetelegram.com

Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories