Indiana News

Gov. Holcomb balances safety on construction sites with pandemic safety

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — While most people are working from home, construction workers can’t.

WISH-TV has received multiple emails questioning whether construction is really essential during Indiana’s “stay at home” order. I-Team 8 dug into the governor’s executive order to find out the answers.

I-Team 8 went out and saw several construction sites around the downtown area. It was hard to tell from a distance, but there were workers who looked as if they are within 6 feet of one another. Most of those workers appeared to be working in close proximity and not just hanging out.

According to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s executive order, construction is considered essential. Those projects can include work on housing, hospitals, schools and long-term care facilities.

Sharon Jackson, deputy general counsel to Holcomb, said, “It is a balance to keep Hoosiers at work, keep things going on as normal, but do it as safely as possible, and that is what we have said in the executive orders that the governor has issued.”

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The order says essential businesses must comply with social distancing requirements. Those requirements include more than just being 6 feet apart. People must also wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as often as possible or use hand sanitizer; cover coughs and sneezes; regularly clean high-touch surfaces; and not shake hands.

I-Team 8 got the following statement from local firm, Keystone Construction:

“Based on the Governor’s Executive Order, issued March 23, 2020, we immediately implemented procedures consistent with these guidelines for all our construction teams. In addition we immediately hired additional cleaning companies for all day sanitizing of sites.  These and a long list of other required procedures were issued to our contractors and subcontractors and we are making a concerted effort to follow these safety guidelines on all sites. Because of these procedures we have no cases of COVID-19 on any of our sites.” 

Jennifer Pavlik, Vice President and Chief of Staff

Anyone who believes their employer is violating the restrictions has been encouraged to work with their employer first. If it cannot be resolved, contact the Indiana Department of Labor.