Construction sites flout COVID-19 rules

Muscat: Various construction sites in the capital area are flouting Covid-19 precautionary measures, including social distancing and wearing masks at work, which may have serious repercussions if not checked.

The Supreme Committee on Covid-19 has instructed essential services and a group of other services and trading sectors to resume work with strict adherence to precautionary measures.

Some companies, however, have not been implementing the safety measures within the premises which can augment cluster spread, a much-feared form of virus spread.

“It has been found that some, mostly small companies, engaged in the construction and maintenance, are not following the safety and precautionary measures against Covid-19,” said ShahswarBalushi, Advisor on the construction sector.

“However, the Covid-19 rules need to be strictly implemented and I believe the onus lies on the authorities to enforce the rules,” Shahswar, who is also the ex-Chairman of Oman Society of Contractors, added.

Hundreds of people work from morning till evening at various construction sites in the region. They neither wear hand gloves nor face masks and if at all they are worn, it’s just for namesake which is often pulled down when they communicate with each other.

The same is the case with social distancing. They sweat as the temperatures continue to rise and they work in one of the most vulnerable sectors, construction, and maintenance.

Meanwhile, Shaikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Abdullah al Bakri, Minister of Manpower, has issued ministerial decree 167/2020, imposing fine on violations of the decisions of the Supreme Committee to limit the spread the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some of the fines announced by the ministry are:

RO100: No social distancing signals at work sites or workers’ accommodation.
RO 100: Not wearing masks in public transports or workplaces.
RO 100: For not providing sanitisers at workplaces or labour accommodations or provision.
RO100: If sanitisers contain less than 60 per cent of alcohol content.
RO100: No multi-language awareness posters at worksites.
RO 500: No security guards to register or monitor workers and visitors movement in labour accommodations.
RO100: Not disinfecting work tools and equipment.
RO100: For not training workers about precautionary measures to avoid the virus.
RO100: No Internal emergency plan to deal with Covid-19.
RO500: No special mechanisms to report workers suspected to have Covid-19.