Social partners agree on rules for relaunch of construction
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    Social partners agree on rules for relaunch of construction

    The rules on social distancing remain a priority. © PxHere

    The social partners in the construction industry – employers’ and workers’ representatives – have reached an agreement on working through these times of coronavirus epidemic.

    They also agreed to ask the government to work with them on a protocol for the relaunch of economic activity, presumably from May 4, the Construction Confederation said.

    On current working conditions, the two sides signed an agreement which places health and safety – including social distancing – as a priority.

    For example, it is now allowed for a worker to choose whether or not they accept to work on a part of a building where infected people are. At the same time, a worker who has a medical certificate as a member of an at-risk group, by virtue of age or medical history, can also opt to be moved to another part of the workplace without penalty.

    The construction industry has been able to carry on working since the beginning of confinement, but the rules on social distancing make much work difficult or impossible. The agreement stresses that those rules have been and remain a priority, even in emergency interventions.

    It the rules cannot be observed, the works can be closed down entirely or partially,” the confederation writes. The works can only be resumed once the internal or external accident prevention service has given the all-clear.

    How the rules are put into practice is the job for the works protection service or the union delegation. Even companies too small to have a delegation must still draw up risk-analysis reports.

    “The social partners agree that in the event social distancing cannot be guaranteed all the time during urgent interventions, the strict minimum of failing to respect the social distancing will be applied,” the confederation said. “Employers must provide the necessary protective equipment.”

    The rules must also be applied, finally, during collective transport of workers to and from construction sites. If that is not possible, individual transport must be arranged.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times