While face coverings are recommended and even required on construction sites across the country, construction pros have a range of reasons for not liking them.
They are seen as a necessary evil, with 67% of respondents to Construction Dive's June 12 Friday Feedback survey saying that they are an important means of protection from COVID-19. About two-thirds of respondents also said they are required on their jobsites, either by their firms or by government protocols.
While construction pros said they see the need for face coverings on jobsites, they don’t always like having to wear one. Drawbacks include the fact that they can make the wearer feel hot and tend to fog eyeglasses and safety goggles. Other reasons mentioned were that they make it hard to breathe during strenuous activities, they can fall apart, and they irritate the skin behind the ears.
Reader responses included:
At the start of the outbreak it was recommended that most people not wear a face covering and save the respirators for the first respondents due to inadequate supply. As we learned more about the virus, there was further evidence that face coverings can have an effect on transmission of the virus. Many construction workers, and the public, have not needed to wear a face covering prior to this year. It is very difficult to make any major changes so rapidly and can cause issues for those who don't completely understand how the virus spreads or feel they should not be told what to wear.
Until we have a vaccine, the face coverings, and other mitigation procedures, are our best defense at reducing the virus. As temperatures rise, it is becoming more difficult to work in construction and some are looking at which is the greater hazard, heat stress or the COVID?
— John Horak, safety director, Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters
The face covering does not protect you, it protects others from you. I have a family that I want to go home to and I don't want to worry about what I could be taking home, so if everyone does their part we will get through this.
— John Tull, senior construction manager, AECOM