France: Unions concerned about health and safety at relaunched construction sites

07 April 2020 09:25

BWI affiliates report that it took more than two weeks of negotiations between the government and the construction sector to agree on the terms for the resumption of construction sites that were shut down as part of national efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. 

A good practice guide has been produced by the Professional Organization for the Prevention of Building and Public Works, OPPBTP, which should allow the sector's activity to partially resume during the pandemic, while ensuring the safety of workers, has finally been endorsed and was released on 2 April 2020.

The guide lists the urgent and specific measures to be implemented to ensure the preventive measures and sanitary conditions necessary for staff working in offices, workshops, depots or construction sites. Despite the COVID-19 crisis, many construction workers continue to carry out public works and their priority remains to ensure the health and safety of their workers.

This guide was produced by OPPBTP experts, with the support of doctors. It has received approval from the various French ministries.  However, some unions are still not convinced that the guidelines are precise enough. Their concerns include that there  is no reference to relaunching only urgent sites, relaunching the work only after the peak of the pandemic, refusing access to trainees and alternate workers and testing workers entering the worksites.

 The French guide can be read: