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Master Plumbers joins call for mandatory vaccination in construction sector

19 October 2021
COVID-19 Vaccinations

Master Plumbers is adding its voice to industry demands for compulsory vaccination in the building and construction sector, and is asking the Government to act with urgency.

Building industry membership group Registered Master Builders yesterday called for vaccine mandates in the health and education sectors to be extended to the building and construction sector.

Master Plumbers, Gasfitters & Drainlayers CEO Greg Wallace says the Government has previously recognised plumbers are more vulnerable to the risk of Covid-19 due to potential exposure through wastewater and work in and around MIQ facilities.

Whilst the industry has strong health and safety protocols, which include high levels of PPE, strong supervision, and contact tracing, mandatory vaccination of the plumbers, gasfitters and drainlayers would provide another level of protection.

"Plumbers are going into people’s homes, including more vulnerable people who are at greater risk from Covid-19. Understandably they want to be assured that tradespeople are vaccinated—and currently employers are not able to ask for a staff member’s vaccination status.

"If the Government required all works in the building and construction sector to be vaccinated, it would enable business owners to give clients certainty around the vaccination status of tradespeople coming into their homes."

Greg Wallace says Master Plumbers is actively encouraging vaccination of all plumbers, and wants the Government to act quickly to bring in a mandate across the entire building and construction workforce.

"Plumbers work alongside many other trades on construction sites, often in close quarters, with poor ventilation. We’ve already seen a construction site in Auckland become a Covid-19 location of interest and, as the virus spreads, this is likely to occur more frequently. Mandatory vaccination of all those on building sites is the best and most effective way to protect the entire workforce, and the wider community.

"By broadening the vaccination mandate to the building and construction sector, the Government has the opportunity to get ahead of the game with this workforce, instead of continually playing catch-up," he says.

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