Bricklayers and associated craftsmen face unique challenges in preventing the spread of COVID-19. With mostly outdoor worksites, social distancing becomes important, but not necessarily feasible. Working outdoors raises other concerns, such as wearing masks that could make the wearer overheat more easily or causing difficulty breathing with increased activity.
It is still your employer’s responsibility to create a workplace that is as safe as possible. That means they have a legal responsibility to take certain actions to address coronavirus in the workforce, as well as in interactions with the public. Luckily, most craftsmen have little, if any, direct contact with clients, but measures do need to be taken to keep workers safe.
All workers should be screened before going to the job site or upon arrival. Screening should include checking for symptoms as well as a temperature check. Any employee with symptoms or an elevated temperature should be sent home for 14 days or until they can be tested.
Paid Sick Leave
Even if you already used your sick leave, your employer should be paying you for your time off in the event you are forced to quarantine. Employees should be encouraged to stay home or get tested if they are sick. Paid sick leave ensures that employees feel comfortable taking time off to protect themselves and the community.
If you cannot maintain social distancing at the job site, your employer has a responsibility to provide necessary PPE at no cost to you. This includes providing masks and any other supplies that you need to keep yourself, your tools, and your work area safe. You should have a mask to wear anytime you are within six feet of someone else.
If you share tools or equipment with other employees, your employer should be providing you with alcohol wipes or spray to disinfect touched surfaces between uses. Each employee should have their own set of basic tools needed for the job to minimize shared objects. Since handwashing is a problem at most work sites, hand sanitizer should be provided as well.
If you have concerns about whether or not your employer is correctly responding to the pandemic, contact us today for assistance.