Bouwunie, the association that represents the self-employed and SMEs in the construction sector in Flanders, asks to have the vaccinations done by an external prevention service on site for the construction workers.
“By vaccinating construction workers on site, we avoid delays and the teams are vaccinated and protected together,” says Jean-Pierre Waeytens, managing director of Bouwunie.
Anyone who has to be vaccinated during working hours can invoke ‘little absence’ for this. However, Bouwunie fears that for construction workers this will often mean that they will be absent the entire working day.
The main reason for this is that the relocation to and from the site is mainly collective. According to the association, some sites run the risk of coming to a standstill during their absence, or not being able to continue at full speed and efficiently.
Deploying external prevention services
That is why Bouwunie is asking that the external prevention services also come to the site with vaccination buses. ‘An entire team is vaccinated at the same time, and the practical disadvantages disappear. Our construction workers do not always work on sites near the vaccination centers or their place of residence. For example, if the crane operator is away for half a day, the delays quickly add up, ‘says Waeytens.
The vaccination task force says that this is not the case for the time being. “No vaccinations are carried out by external occupational health services,” said spokeswoman Gudrun Briat in De Zondag. ‘That only happens in the vaccination centers and they are also open after working hours. So construction workers can make an appointment there without having to take a little absence. ‘