Just two days after Ontario Premier Doug Ford deemed construction in the province to be an essential service allowing construction workers to continue working while other non-essential services shut down, three workers on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT project in Toronto have tested positive and presumptive for COVID-19.
“Unfortunately, three of our workers at our West Portal site — east of Black Creek (Drive) and Eglinton (Avenue) — have tested positive for COVID-19,” states a March 25 statement from Crosstown Transit Solutions (CTS) to the Daily Commercial News. “Two are presumptive cases waiting for confirmation from the national lab in Winnipeg. Our thoughts are with the workers and their families.”
The Eglinton Crosstown project includes over 19 kilometres of new light rail. CTS, a design and construction consortium established to deliver the project, is comprised of ACS-Dragados, Aecon, EllisDon and SNC-Lavalin.
In response to the incident, Crosslinx has been working with Toronto Public Health and is following its recommendations. They are taking a number of measures. Those who worked on the same team as the three people who tested positive/presumptive will not be working for 14 days.
CTS is notifying all people who may have come in contact with the workers and providing them with information on what they need to do based on the advice from Toronto Public Health. CTS is also in regular contact with subcontractors and unions.
In addition, the site office has been closed for deep cleaning.
“At construction sites and in our offices, Crosslinx is promoting and enabling frequent handwashing and social distancing,” states the release.
“We have stepped up our regular cleaning in common areas. Where possible, people are working from home. We have stopped allowing visitors on our sites.”
The release adds, “sites are staggering lunches, breaks and shift changes to maintain social distancing recommendations. Handwashing and social distancing information is prominently posted at all of our sites and offices. We are monitoring the return to work of anyone who is sick or is self-isolating. Crosslinx continues to ask people to stay home if they are sick and to report to their supervisor if they become unwell at work.”
Crosslinx is continuing to apply the out-of-country travel policy put in place in January, which now requires people to stay home for 14 days if they have been outside of Canada, adds the statement.
“There is a clear expectation with all of our contractors that they take measures to ensure the health and safety of all of their workers at all times but even more importantly during the COVID pandemic,” said Anne Marie Aikins, senior manager of media and spokesperson for Metrolinx, in a recent email to the Daily Commercial News.
“Measures include: health checks with employees before they begin work on site; ensuring a balance of staff so they can maintain social distancing; additional cleaning and sanitizing of work sites; adequate handwashing facilities and hand sanitizers on site; and making clear the expectation that staff should stay home if they are sick.”
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