"The coronavirus does not understand borders but it does understand classes." This phrase, used by different politicians since the pandemic began, can carry over into the construction sector, where smaller companies are having trouble complying with security measures that are imposed from the Ministry of Health.
This is confirmed by a study carried out by the General Council of Technical Architecture of Spain (CGATE), in which it concludes that around 20% of the works You have not made any changes to your Health and Safety Plan. The problem is more serious in buildings with less than 5 workers, where 30% have not implemented any measure; while in those with between 5 and 15 workers it is reduced to 12%, and in those with more than 15 workers it is 7%.
The smallest works are usually operated by construction SMEs. These companies have more difficulties in accessing protective material, such as PPE, or they work in small spaces where it is impossible to maintain a safety distance of two meters. Therefore, it is more difficult to implement the security measures that the health authorities dictate.
"The differences are notable between the works with a smaller number of workers and the large works that have acted with a higher degree of prevention," said the CGATE President, Alfredo Sanz. However, from society they prefer to stay on the positive side and understand that these percentage figures are very small in total terms, due to the large number of construction companies operating in Spain.
Of the 80% who have introduced new security measures, 7% confirm that they have made modifications to the previous Health and Safety Plan, 26% maintain that they have implemented an alternative plan and 47% assure that they have carried out both Actions.
Among the data in the report it is also extracted that, despite the fact that 63% of the respondents have noticed some change in the works since they returned to activity on April 13, only 52% consider that all protocols are met ruled by the competent authorities. In other words, almost half of those surveyed believe that worker protection still needs to be increased to prevent infection.
COMPLICATED SITUATION IN SMALL BUILDERS
This week more data has been released showing the complicated situation that construction SMEs are going through with the coronavirus crisis. For example, him City of Madrid calculated that in small (less than 50 employees) some 12,250 workers will be affected, only in the month of April, with layoffs or changes in working conditions (shorter hours, lower wages, ERTE …). In the medium ones (between 50 and 249) there will be almost 3,900 workers and the large ones (more than 250) will only need to adjust 2,100 jobs.
In addition, a large part of these small construction companies base their business on housing and building reforms, just the activity that remains paralyzed if the property is inhabited, in order to avoid contact between workers and residents. From the Andimac employers calculate that the reform sector will have losses of 3,000 million euros during this crisis.
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