As part of its continuing efforts to combat the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) spread, the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has started implementing an emergency plan with contractors and consultants to protect workers, employees and residents of the areas within the projects.
As part of the plan, Ashghal’s Road Projects department is implementing preventive measures to contain the spread of the virus and reduce and control infection, an official statement said.
Road Projects manager engineer Saoud al-Tamimi said that the procedures, applied in his department, include a medical examination for all project workers for early detection of any symptoms of Covid-19 and the application of a policy to prevent visits to offices, sites and residential facilities.
“Moreover, Ashghal contractors, in accordance with the Authority’s instructions, take necessary measures to monitor and follow up workers and employees for any disease symptoms. Steps are also taken to measure the temperature of each individual, follow up any other symptoms of infection and immediately refer them to the direct supervisors and health and safety officials seeking necessary measures. Any labourer or employee is not allowed to the site if he shows any symptom,” he said.
Ashghal has also instructed its contractors to assign a unified contact number at the labourers’ residence to help them report internally about any disease and take the necessary action to familiarise all workers and employees with this number. Contractors have been also asked to report any suspected cases to the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH).
Al-Tamimi added that Ashghal has directed contractors to divide workers in all housing and residence facilities into groups with up to 100 individuals citing this helps in early detection of symptoms. Besides, isolation units are provided inside the facilities and steps taken in order to ensure that isolated persons do not come into contact with workers or other residents until they are transferred to the Communicable Disease Center.
The Road Projects Department is carrying out a number of awareness measures to familiarise workers and employees about Covid-19, its symptoms and effects while providing a list of necessary and prohibited practices to prevent its spread.
Posters in several languages are also distributed. In addition to educating workers about the need to take care of the cleanliness of hands, they are also made aware of keeping the respiratory system healthy.
The workers are also educated about the etiquette to be followed when an urge to sneeze or cough is felt. Ashghal has also sent voice instructions through WhatsApp to all medical personnel in the projects to introduce the required and prohibited practices to deal with Covid-19 and the necessity for the medical staff to educate those on the sites.
The Road Projects Department has also worked with its contractors to provide all the necessary tools to maintain personal hygiene in workers’ housing, workplaces and health and care areas along with dining halls at worksites. These places have hand washing facilities with all the cleaning and sanitising supplies.
The department has also instructed contractors to maintain sterilisation and cleaning of all areas including housing, dining spaces and site offices in addition to workers’ leisure facilities at work sites. These include dining hall, toilets, buses, and transportation vehicles. This is in addition to periodic cleaning of all surfaces that are frequently touched in work sites and accommodation facilities.
Ashghal has taken several measures to stop Covid-19 spreading among workers on project sites. The number of workers who use buses has been reduced by half while buses are sanitised regularly.
Sufficient distance between the workers inside the bus, in dining halls and work sites is also ensured.
In addition, Ashghal regularly checks the availability of gloves, masks, and sanitising supplies at work sites and offices.
Al-Tamimi explained that he has directed the local road project contractors to cancel all activities that include direct interaction with the public whether individually or in groups. They also have been told to cancel periodic visits to homes in order to ensure the safety of residents in Qatar. “These visits will be replaced by phone calls and e-mail,” he said.
The department is also implementing the precautionary procedures through random inspection and audit of workers’ housing in addition to making field visits to project sites and following up the progress of implementing emergency plans through dedicated crisis management teams.
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