Construction worker airs concerns about unsanitary conditions in video at Toronto jobsite

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A video of a construction worker voicing his concerns about unsanitary conditions at a Toronto job went viral on social media Wednesday, as as some workers pressured the provincial government to suspend projects at due to concerns about unsanitary conditions at some jobsites.

“If I lose my job, I lose my job,” the worker said.

“I’ve got an 86-year-old at home … My wife is crying every time I go home because she doesn’t know [if] I’m going to kill her father if I have something.”

A group of coworkers is seen listening to the man as he gives his speech.

“We don’t have six feet among each other here,” he said.

“When you’re in the work site there, you guys don’t have six feet around you. We’re all breathing on each other. Where’s your eating facilities? Are they sanitized? Do you have water to wash your hands when you eat your sandwiches?”

According to Global News, the man is a business representative from Local 183 and the video was filmed Wednesday morning.

Premier Doug Ford ordered “non-essential” workplaces in the province to close this week but included most construction projects on a list of essential services. He said he has talked to unions and workers, and both want projects to continue and warned construction companies to protect their workers.

“I want to make it very, very clear . . .  if the workplace, the construction site is not safe, you can walk off the job,” Ford said.

“I’ll have zero tolerance for any construction site that doesn’t have the proper essentials to keep the workers safe and make sure the outhouses are clean, make sure the sanitizers are there.”

Ford said there are 125 site inspectors in Toronto alone, and added that 12 notices were issued on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) released a “best practice guide” for employees to ensure sites stay safe.

“Safety has and always will be the industry’s top priority,” Richard Lyall, the president of RESCON in a statement. “Site safety is the builders’ responsibility and they must work with sub-trades employers to ensure all on-site workers and work sites are safe.”

The guide from RESCON includes seven recommendations:

  1. Maintain good personal hygiene (construction or not)
    2. On-site sanitation
    3. Practice physical distancing
    4. Communicate policies
    5. Protect your family and roommates — workers should wash clothing.
    6. Report illness
    7. Track sick workers

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