No matter how diligent a country is in combating the Covid-19 pandemic, active construction sites and worker camps will remain an area of high vulnerability due to the number of people working and living in close proximity to one another, Asian Development Blog reported.
The report said coronavirus has highlighted the need to routinely inspect construction sites including camps and address any overcrowding and unsanitary conditions.
Overcrowded accommodations where 12-20 migrant workers sleep is a major factor for the spread of disease such as Covid-19. Some also have limited access to health facilities as host countries do not extend health coverage to migrant workers, according to the report.
While most countries have implemented emergency quarantine arrangements or instituted a state of emergency, construction activities have continued as "essential services" in some countries.
As a result, migrant (national and non-national) workers have remained at construction sites, sometimes living in crowded camps or dormitories where physical distancing can be a big challenge.
Employers can help prevent the risk of transmission of the virus through the provision of decent accommodation for workers with adequate supplies of soap, hand sanitiser, clean running water etc., said the report titled Protecting Construction Workers from Coronavirus.
The report also proposed contractors to prepare an outbreak plan following safety measures provided by relevant government authorities as well as good practices such as those issued by the World Health Organization.
Workers also need to be made aware of protocols around self-assessment and who to report to if they suspect they have symptoms.
It also emphasised on ensuring adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for preventing the spread of Covid-19. This includes face masks, wipes, and sanitizer as well as guidance on how to properly use them.
The report said access control measures can include restricting site access to workers performing essential activities (including inspections) and limiting access to the work site and camp area.
"Contact tracing can be enabled by maintaining a list of all visitors and their contact details. The point of access should check to ensure that PPE is supplied to every visitor and it is correctly used by the visitor before accessing work sites."
"An outbreak plan can specify details for contractors to provide training to employees on how to recognise the symptoms of Covid-19 and how to conduct a self-assessment, encouraging anyone who is experiencing symptoms to notify supervisors through the established protocols," the report also mentioned.
"The outbreak plan can also identify how workers can access health support, including arrangements with local health facilities, provision of on-site medical staff and advice to workers with symptoms, and connections with facilities that can provide further treatment," it concluded.