Construction sites should be closed urgently. The Chamber of Civil Engineers Istanbul Branch has scrutinized the construction sites regarding Corona virus measures. It brought together applications from many construction sites of Istanbul. He added the information from the branch engineer civil engineers working abroad. He also included layoffs and unpaid leave applications in the construction business in the evaluation text. He evaluated the problems of the project offices, another field of work of civil engineers.
Construction sites must be closed urgently
The Chamber of Civil Engineers Istanbul Branch has scrutinized the construction sites regarding Corona virus measures. It brought together applications in many construction sites of Istanbul. He added the information from the branch engineer civil engineers working abroad. He also included layoffs and unpaid leave applications in the construction business in the evaluation text. He evaluated the problems of the project offices, another field of work of civil engineers.
Construction sites are in danger
Construction sites are the leg of the construction industry. The weight is known to work on construction sites when compared to the project and other offices and our colleagues working in the public sector. There are thousands of construction sites in different scales in Istanbul. Not only civil engineers but also thousands of workers work at the construction sites. There are nearly 300 thousand construction workers in Istanbul.
Except for engineers and workers, many people are included in the construction site life at different times of the day, except for those who carry material, from carriers to construction workers, building inspection officers and occupational health and safety experts.
Some measures initiated within the scope of combating corona virus have also been implemented at construction sites. However, we have to express that, unfortunately, construction sites are dangerous both for the employees and therefore for their social environment. Because, neither the measures taken are sufficient, nor the public control in this direction nor the conscious attitude about individual measures and social distance can be mentioned.
It is necessary to emphasize the main problem before moving to the working conditions at the construction sites. Because the problem will continue as long as the construction sites are open. Considering the working and accommodation conditions and places where basic needs are met, it is not possible to provide social distance.
It will inevitably be difficult to combat the epidemic in an environment where even safety measures cannot be taken adequately.
Construction sites are open to nature conditions; employees are directly exposed to rain, dust-soil, cold or heat. This natural environment leads to negative results in terms of hygiene. Common cafeterias and dormitories, common administrative offices make it difficult to comply with social distance and ensure hygiene.
All these reasons require construction sites to be closed for a certain period of time. Unfortunately, no steps have been taken in this regard. Even an expectation that the bad side of the job will be thrown is not allowed. Because decision makers are of the opinion that production continues in mines, factories and other businesses, including construction sites.
Current situation on construction sites
As a result of the research conducted in Istanbul, the situation in the construction sites can be summarized as follows:
Apart from the construction sites of the companies that we can define as institutional, a large number of construction sites defined as artificial works are active. 10 to 50 people work at these sites, depending on the size of the work and changing day by day. And unfortunately, let's stop the virus measures (social distance, mask, disinfectant, use of soap, etc.) even basic health boards are not implemented.
Partial measures have been taken in large scale constructions. However, the same level of precaution cannot be mentioned for each construction site. In the same way, it is stated that not all site workers comply with hygiene and precautionary rules.
Unfortunately, construction sites started in the second half of March. Many even got into a new state towards the end of March.
Among the precautions, the first thing to notice is the use of disinfectants in dormitories and cafeterias. These spaces are disinfectant every other day. However, the extent to which this method is the solution is controversial. It has been repeatedly mentioned by experts that it is useless to wash and disinfect the streets with soap.
In some construction sites, disinfectants are kept at the crossing points. However, it is ambiguous whether each employee uses it when necessary.
In some construction sites, fire is measured before work starts in the morning. It is clear that this positive practice, combined with the fact that fever is not the only symptom of the virus, will be insufficient to detect carrier workers.
In large-scale construction sites, 400-500 people eat at the dining halls at the same time. Considering the number of workers, it is neither possible to reduce the density in the refectory nor a shift procedure can be introduced due to working hours.
It was determined that the number of tables in some dining halls in some construction sites has been reduced but still, a suitable interval could not be created and the density could not be created according to the experts' warnings.
Dormitories on construction sites pose a greater danger. 80 percent of workers on construction sites in Istanbul are from outside the city. However, 20 percent reside in Istanbul. The meaning of this is clear. Thousands of workers use dormitories built on construction sites. There are an average of 10 workers in dormitories. It is not possible to decrease this number to a reasonable level considering the number of workers. How would it be possible to explain the condition of the dormitories, while even family members are advised not to be in the same room.
In some construction sites, it was determined that the cafeteria and dormitories were completely closed and the employees brought their meals from home. Again, in some construction sites, employees using dormitories were prohibited from entering the field after 18.30.
It was reflected in the press, where a worker was infected with corona virus at the construction site of the firm, which does large-scale work and employs thousands of workers. In this construction site, it was determined that the dining halls have 250 seats and the workers use common shower areas.
Again, it was observed that some construction sites dropped the working hours to 17.00 for workers to go to work during the busy hours of public transportation, but this practice ended after a few days.
The use of masks is also problematic and troublesome. There is no mention of any means that masks comply with the standard and that the standard is used. It is not observed that attention is paid to wearing a mask from the beginning to the end of the shift. Employees doing work based on bodily power disrupt the use of masks during the day.
It is certain that the use of elevators poses a danger, given that the elevator cabinets are narrow and that multiple workers are used at the same time.
Some companies employ their staff working from home in the office of the construction sites. This is of course a positive situation. However, not all applications have the same application.
Again, it was observed that, in some construction sites, subcontractor employees were employed alternately overtime, not on every job site. Again, it was found that non-critical manufacturing was stopped at some construction sites completely.
Situation at overseas construction sites
Some of our colleagues who are members of our branch work in the foreign affairs of Turkish companies. To summarize the current situation in overseas construction sites, measures, positive and negative aspects are at the same level. Since curfew has been declared in countries with some construction sites, life there continues in accordance with the ban.
The cross-country flights to major problems of employees who have not returned to Turkey are known to live for as discontinued. Virus outbreak because some firms that lay off workers, and it is not receiving wages in an unspeakable misery of workers who can not go to Turkey, health problems, it is noted that the experience is not surprising.
Unemployment and unpaid leave
At the moment, the most important problem of our business is layoff and free leave. Many construction sites, subcontractors have either fired their office and field employees, or have paid for unpaid leave. Although there are companies that have not applied for this route yet, according to the information obtained, the companies will not be able to stand any longer and will start at the time of dismissal and free leave.
It is known that around 15 thousand construction workers have been dismissed, some of them have been able to return to their countries, and intercity travel is forbidden, so many workers continue to live in Istanbul, but the problem of living and housing continues.
Obviously, the construction sector, which is already facing a severe crisis, cannot survive the new crisis caused by the epidemic. Employers will try to overcome the crisis by victimizing their employees, as has been seen many times before. It will be inevitable that the burden of the crisis will be reflected in wages. It is known that while the state has to step in at this point, fulfill the requirement of being a social state, and impose sanctions on firms, no steps have been taken in this direction, many employees have been unemployed since the start of the outbreak, and they have been released for free leave. Moreover, the number of unregistered workers in the construction industry is quite high. It is unclear whether or not to arrange for them.
Now a draft arrangement is mentioned. According to the draft, layoffs are prohibited for three months. It is envisaged that those who are granted unpaid leave are given 39 days a day, 1177 lira per month.
At this point, we would like to point out that as much as we can identify, some construction companies or subcontractors either laid off their employees, including engineers, or set them on unpaid leave. Retrospective provisions must be included in the enactment process of the mentioned draft. It was also noted that the draft did not impose any obligation on employers, but on the contrary, relaxed their hands.
Secondly, the wages for employees who are on leave for free leave are even below the hunger limit. This means "don't die from the virus, but die from starvation". It is not possible to accept the draft in this state. It is a matter of curiosity why the Short Work Allowance is not implemented despite open legal regulations.
An important point about this issue is that no one will be forced to leave for free. This is a vested right. Obviously the Draft will abolish this right.
Many of our colleagues work in project offices. Either the office is yours or a few engineers work in the offices. Offices, which do not have problems with hygiene and social distance, are facing another problem today.
The construction industry has been in crisis for a long time. The economic value created by the construction is gathered especially in major companies, while others try to survive only. The virus outbreak has found our industry in such an environment. The effects of the epidemic were exposed in a short period of time, and let's get new jobs. The public administration must take precautions to support project offices. Support from rental assistance to tax exemption will ensure that the extraordinary period, which is not clear how long, will be overcome with less damage.
Black stain that will go down in history
It will take place as a black page in our country's history to sign a commitment to the workers that “if I catch a virus while I work,” a construction site that continues to work but does not take precautions or is banned by some measures.
Therefore, we take this undertaking as a document of shame to our text to record:
“I used to use the campgrounds / rooms and the place of washing with my own will and will, I would like to stay in the camp, I would strictly comply with the measures taken by the employer during this period regarding this extraordinary situation that our country is in, during my period due to the fact that I did not comply with the rules specified by the employer or other conditions. I am fully responsible for all damages that may arise from the case of coronavirus transmission,
“The above supply and the reasons and reasons explained above will not result in any criminal, administrative, legal and legal responsibilities to the employer, no matter what name it may be under, no claim and claim against the employer, and the employer will be born due to my stay in that camp and getting sick with this virus. I accept, declare and undertake that there is / is not any responsibility for any damages. ”
To the final word
Construction has been exposed since the outbreak started, just as it is one of the most problematic business lines related to worker health and safety, which is vulnerable, and is susceptible to the spread of the virus. Although some employers have taken partial precautions, continuing the job renders the measures ineffective. Construction sites are dangerous for the virus. Thousands of engineers and workers work under unsanitary conditions. Unfortunately, the situation of the construction sites is not brought up in any way.
Political power should immediately grasp the current situation in the construction sites and should go to close for a certain period of time, but at the same time, regulations should be introduced that would not lead to the loss of employee rights.