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Construction companies agree to implement new safety standards

By Staff | Apr 30, 2020

Workers follow the requirements of the Hawaii Construction Industry Pledge. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE GCA.

HONOLULU – Deemed an essential business by state and county government leaders, Hawaii’s construction industry has instituted an official pledge conveying to the public its commitment to implement strict requirements at jobsites statewide to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Initiated by the General Contractors Association of Hawaii (GCA) and developed in conjunction with the GCA COVID-19 Task Force, the Hawaii Construction Industry Pledge has been signed by more than 150 of the state’s contractors, contractors’ associations, construction-related firms, labor unions, business associations and developers, broadly representing the state’s construction industry.

Chaired by Lance Wilhelm of The Wilhelm Group, the GCA COVID-19 Task Force includes Vice Chair Gerry Majkut of Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co., Michael Young of Albert C. Kobayashi Inc., Jason Ames of Grace Pacific LLC, Rick Heltzel of Healy Tibbitts Builders, Tom Diersbock of Hensel Phelps, Leslie Isemoto of Isemoto Contracting Co., Tyler Dillon of Layton Construction, and Glen Kaneshige of Nordic PCL Construction.

Cheryl Walthall, executive vice president of GCA, said, “The construction industry is crucial to Hawaii’s economy and future well-being, and we appreciate the trust of our elected leaders in allowing projects statewide to continue while the stay-at-home, work-at-home orders are in effect. With the Hawaii Construction Industry Pledge, we want to reassure the public that construction companies and their employees are taking strong measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at jobsites.”

In addition to affirming the construction industry’s commitment to protecting its employees and conducting work safely, the Hawaii Construction Industry Pledge addresses a range of health-focused practices being implemented by managers and workers at jobsites that fall into five key categories: Personal Responsibilities, Social Distancing, Hand-Washing, Hoists, and Elevators Communication

Walthall noted, “The safety of employees and the public remains the number one priority of the construction industry. On projects statewide, contractors have expanded their already-stringent standard safety protocols and guidelines with innovative practices to better ensure workers are protected from being infected with COVID-19 and then unknowingly passing it on to family members, friends and co-workers.

“Along with requiring employees to wear personal protective equipment at all times and maintaining safe social distancing on the job to the extent possible, construction companies of all sizes have adapted their workplaces to the new normal of a COVID-19 world and are implementing a variety of enhanced practices at jobsites on a daily basis.

“These include requiring, at a minimum, cloth masks to be worn by every person on site, having hand washing stations or hand sanitizers placed throughout the work area, disinfecting tools, equipment and common areas on a continuous basis, and encouraging employees to practice good, personal hygiene etiquette at all times.”

Lance Wilhelm, chair of the GCA COVID-19 Task Force, commented, “Construction is a highly competitive business, but on the matter of COVID-19, we are all united in working to protect the people of Hawaii and ensuring the safety and economic viability of our industry.

“The commitment being made by companies to live up to the Hawaii Construction Industry Pledge demonstrates how our industry is moving forward together as we all cope with the enormous health and economic crisis our state is experiencing.”