As much as crew leaders, business owners, and facility managers have tried to keep their workers safe during the pandemic, a recent survey of nearly 17,000 people employed in many different industries revealed that workers in the construction industry were among the least likely to seek out a vaccine. Just 53% of construction workers expressed willingness to get the vaccine, ranking 12th out of 15 industries, coming in slightly higher than retail, transportation and food and beverage workers.
In response, United Contractors (UCON), a California construction trade association, has launched an effort called “Roll Up Your Sleeves” in order to help construction workers better understand the need for vaccination as well as what to expect when it happens.
UCON believes that company leadership is the best way to effect change. “The most effective way to increase COVID-19 vaccinations is by sharing accurate information, helpful resources and a positive message,” says the organization. “Let your employees, clients and peers know you support COVID-19 vaccination as an important tool to stop the pandemic.” By supporting the vaccination efforts – and getting vaccinated yourself if you haven’t – you can encourage your crew to get their shot.
UCON also suggests that crew leaders and foremen, for example, empower their painters with accurate COVID-19 vaccination information. Frequent and transparent discussions with a trusted crew leader can help reluctant crew members understand that along with the current safety protocol, a vaccine is a critical tool to protect the painter as well as the rest of the team, their families, customers and others around them.
The website www.vaccinateconstruction.com has advice as well as printable information sheets – many developed by the CDC – that you can post in your shop, on social media, or email to your employees. For example, “FAQs about COVID-19 Vaccination in the Workplace: For Workers,” prepared by the CDC and available through this site, addresses the simpler but also the more complex questions about getting the vaccine, including religious issues, proof of vaccination, etc. A “Myth vs. Facts” page, designed to combat misinformation about the vaccine, is available in English and Spanish.
“Empowering your employees with accurate information, education, and resources is the most effective way to help increase vaccinations across the industry,” says the organization.