Posted on March 31, 2020

In the context of efforts taken by the Public Works Authority ‘Ashghal’ in limiting the spread of Corona virus, Ashghal’s Road Projects Department worked with its contractors and consultants to develop and implement an emergency plan that includes preventive measures to protect workers, employees and residents of the areas within the department projects, to prevent the spread of viruses and to reduce and control infection.

Follow-up and Monitoring

Eng. Saoud Al Tamimi, Road Projects Department Manager in Ashghal, indicated that the procedures applied in the projects department currently include a medical examination for all project workers to early detect symptoms of the disease and the application of a policy to prevent visits to offices, sites and residential facilities. Moreover, Ashghal contractors in accordance with the authority instructions take necessary measures to monitor and follow up workers and employees for any disease symptoms, and to measure the temperature for each individual, and follow up on any other indications of infection and immediately present them to the direct supervisors and health and safety officials to take the necessary measures. Not allowing any laborer / employee to report to the site when any symptoms appear on him. The authority also instructed its contractors to assign a unified contact number at the laborers’ residence to report internally on any disease and take the necessary action to familiarise all workers and employees with this number and report any suspected cases to the Ministry of Public Health dedicated to cases of Corona virus.

Al Tamimi also stated to facilitate monitoring and follow-up, the department directed contractors to divide workers in all housing and residence facilities into groups of up to 100 individuals, which helps in early detection of symptoms associated with Corona disease (Covid-19). In addition to providing and managing isolation units inside the facilities and ensuring that the isolated do not come into contact with workers or other residents until they are transferred to the Communicable Disease Center.

Ashghal Implementing precautionary 2 [].jpgAwareness efforts

In the same context, the Road Projects Department undertakes a number of necessary awareness measures to familiarise workers and employees with the disease, its symptoms and effects, while providing a list of "necessary and prohibited practices" to prevent its spread among workers through illustrated publications in several languages. In addition to educating workers about the need to take care of the cleanliness of hands, the health of the respiratory system and the emphasis on etiquette to be followed when sneezing or coughing. Ashghal has also sent voice instructions through "WhatsApp" application to all medical personnel in the projects, to introduce the required and prohibited practices to deal with the disease and the necessity for the medical staff to educate those in sites or the workers housing for Corona disease.

Personal health and hygiene and the cleanliness of the surrounding environment

The Road Projects Department has also worked with its contractors to provide all the necessary tools to maintain personal hygiene in workers’ housing, workplaces, health and care areas, and dining halls at worksites, including hand washing facilities with all the cleaning and sanitising supplies provided. The department has also instructed contractors to maintain sterilisation and cleaning of all areas, including housing, eating spaces and site offices, in addition to workers' leisure facilities at work sites such as the dining hall, toilets, buses, and transportation vehicles.  In addition to periodic cleaning of all surfaces that are frequently touched in work sites and accommodation facilities.

Moreover, Ashghal has taken several measures to stop the virus from spreading among workers in project sites, including reducing the number of workers using the buses in half and sanitising it regularly, and leaving sufficient distances between them on the bus, in dining halls and while on work sites.  In addition, Ashghal regularly checks the availability of gloves, masks, and sanitising supplies at work sites and offices.

Ashghal Implementing precautionary 3 [].jpgProtecting the public and customers

As part of the precautionary measures taken by the department, Eng. Al-Tamimi indicated that he directed the local road project contractors to cancel all activities that include direct interaction with the public, whether individually or in groups, in addition to the cancellation of periodic visits to homes, that is to ensure the safety of residents in Qatar. Therefore, it is advised to reduce / stop direct interactions, physical contact with residents and all workers at work sites, to replace that by using phone calls and e-mail to communicate.

The department ensures the implementation of these precautionary procedures through conducting random inspection and audit of workers' housing, in addition to making field visits to project sites, and following up the progress of implementing emergency plans through crisis management teams that were specially formed to manage this crisis and issue measures needed to be taken by workers.