With more than 30 private and public construction projects underway in Banff, the Town has implemented a number of measures to ensure crews are following strict COVID safety protocols.
"The priority for all construction is the safety of workers, residents and people who work or visit the locations," said Silvio Adamo, Director of Emergency Management for the Town of Banff. “Construction is classified as “essential service” under the Provincial State of Emergency, but we are taking extra measures to ensure safety for everyone."
Why construction activity is proceeding:
- Construction for industrial, commercial, institutional and residential improvements is classified as “essential service” under the Provincial State of Emergency.
- Work during the COVID crisis will have less disruption to residents and businesses, than if undertaken in a normal year or during Banff’s recovery period.
- The construction employs Bow Valley residents during the protracted recession and widespread local unemployment.
- Construction now will minimize impact on Banff’s destination reputation while international borders are closed and visitors are asked to stay home.
- The completion of construction will help position the Banff economy for recovery after pandemic.
- In many cases, construction costs capitalize on low interest rates used to finance the investment in making Banff better.
The municipality has distributed information posters to inform construction workers about measures to follow public health orders and reduce risk. The Town also verifies with each site supervisor the measures in place for the range of situations to ensure the safety of their employees and the measures to stop the spread of the virus to other workers, their families and the community.
The Town of Banff regularly monitors sites to ensure all construction projects comply with public health guidelines/directives, including but not limited to:
- Anyone exhibiting cold- or flu-like symptoms (not related to a pre-existing illness or health condition), are not allowed onto the worksite. They are sent home for mandatory 10-day self-isolation or complete recovery – whichever is longer (required by Alberta Government Public Health Order).
- Workers keep a distance of 2 metres/6 feet from each other at all times, unless critical for implementing tasks. If required to work in proximity to others and physical distancing is not possible in completing a task, workers involved wear N95 Particulate Respirator masks and disposable gloves.
- Gatherings are restricted in all areas such as trailers, hoist, stair wells, scaffolding, lunch area, etc. Work is scheduled to avoid stacking (i.e., scheduling multiple trades in the same work area at the same time), including flexible scheduling of shifts or other measures. Lunch and other breaks are staggered wherever possible to minimize the number of people near one another at one time.
- Workers are required to wash or sanitize their hands before they start work, at the start of their shift, before and after breaks, after handling with bare hands any tools, equipment or materials and at the end of the shift before leaving the worksite.
- Workers do not share safety equipment or tools, unless they are disinfected after each use with at least 70% alcohol-based cleaning solution.
- Occupants travelling in one vehicle at any given time is limited and physical distancing is maintained.
If Government of Alberta direction around construction activity changes, the Town of Banff will enforce restrictions.
Construction sites must be separated from the public by 2 metres/6 feet or a barrier is in place (e.g., solid construction hording or construction fencing covered with fabric scrim). Pathways around construction sites may be converted to one-way for public travel, or involve detours and closures, if the ability to maintain 2-metre distancing cannot be provided.
Everyone is reminded to keep 2 metres/6 feet away from others when traveling through construction zones. Cyclists must dismount when on sidewalks and on pathways around construction sites.