HBA Addresses COVID-19 in Latinx Community
By: HBA of Durham, Orange & Chatham Counties
The HBADOC represents 490 member companies active in the residential construction industry. As an Association, we are grateful for the essential work being done by homebuilders and skilled trade persons who are providing shelter for us at a time it is needed most. While companies want to protect their workers and keep their worksites open, the safety and welfare of our members and their employees/trade partners has been a continuous focus in our communications to our association. We are providing signs in Spanish and English to our members to install on jobsites as guidance to workers on proper preventative measures, as well as a Spanish-language safety training video that can be shared with workers who come onto a jobsite for the first time. In May during a nationwide safety stand-down, our member contractors were encouraged to hold onsite COVID safety discussions with everyone on the job to review the best workplace practices and company policies for working during the crisis.
Durham Health Department Director Rodney Jenkins stated in The N&O article that he noticed more Hispanics testing positive in late April. In May, nearly 58% of the positive cases were among Hispanics. In light of these specific reports, we are communicating with the County Health Departments in our region to understand in more detail what they know; in particular if there are specific jobsites, contractors, crews, and even individuals who share the same household and/or transportation means who have been particularly hard hit. We are working with our leaders and owner-members in our local Latinx community to further understand if there are underlying issues that might be addressed in a culturally sensitive manner with the goal of additional employee education.
While the HBADOC does not represent all of the area builders and subcontractors, we feel that collaborating with local commercial, multifamily, and institutional contractors, health officials, and inspection departments to share information and work toward a combined program of education, additional safety measures, and jobsite compliance monitoring is essential.
Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the community in these extraordinarily challenging and uncertain times of concern and unrest. Our desire is for health and safety to remain a priority and we hope to be a positive resource for the construction community.