Friday, April 24, 2020

The Construction Industry’s Latest Challenge: Taking the Coronavirus Threat Seriously

An article in the Texas Monthly


By the time Adam Lucas walked inside the spacious, upscale home overlooking Lake Austin in Texas on a chilly morning last week, a newly begun remodeling process was in full swing. It was clear to Lucas, the owner of a successful green building company, that the subcontractors he had hired to rip out drywall and pull wiring out of the ten-foot ceiling were making good progress.

Normally Lucas, who was dropping by to see how much progress his team had made, would’ve been pleased. But on this morning, as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Texas was nearing 14,000, the 37-year-old business owner’s keen attention to detail had zeroed in on something else: of the ten workers at the busy construction site, only one, a foreman in his fifties, was covering his face with a protective mask. Making matters worse, none of the men moving casually around the work site appeared to be practicing anything approaching CDC-standard social distancing, which the state requires of businesses that continue to operate.

The violations didn’t last long. After Lucas made his presence known, workers’ bandannas were once again covering their faces and people began spacing themselves apart. But when a subcontractor and another worker showed up at the site a few minutes later, both men walked among the laborers without a mask. Lucas could only shake his head, his own mask concealing a frustrated grimace.

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Though he has limited the number of his employees at work sites, and posted strict health protocols there that demand hand-washing, mask-wearing, and social distancing, Lucas knows he’s not just battling a deadly contagion. He’s also battling the perception, prevalent among some subcontractors, that the contagion isn’t really a big deal.

“No matter how many people have died,” he said after discussing health protocols with the foreman and leaving the site, “it’s clear that some people in this industry are still not taking the virus seriously.”

CLICK HERE to read the entire Texas Monthly article

Modcoach Note: Make sure you check your jobsites and production lines to make sure everyone is following the CDC requirements.

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