Earthwork News Roundup: March 2020

aerial image of worksite

For most, March has been a month of significant change as we adapt to a new world order. The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t just sequestered us indoors; it has reshaped social norms to physically distance us from coworkers, friends, and family—the only way to slow infection. 

For industries heavily reliant on in-person collaboration, like the earthwork community, this hasn’t been an easy shift. Now, those interpersonal processes that you’ve always considered an integral part of the professional day to day are potentially putting teams at risk and wellbeing in jeopardy. 

With the number of global cases rising exponentially by the day, leaders in the civil resource space have become increasingly polarized in their decisions to continue on with business as usual or cease operations indefinitely in the name of public health. 

This month, we’re taking a break from our normal news roundup to zoom in on the rippling effects of the COVID crisis. Here, we’ll dive into how things are changing (or not changing) for all our friends in construction, aggregates, mining, and waste management. 


Why There’s So Much Construction Still Happening


“Developers, contractors, and labor unions have offered a handful of reasons that construction ought to continue through the coronavirus shutdown, a combination of blue-collar bravura, engineering needs, hygiene logic, and societal necessity.

Mostly, the economic expediency of everyone involved.

Builders say shutting down a job site is less like shuttering a restaurant than firing the chef…” 

Teranga confirms Q1 guidance, exploration continues as planned


“Teranga Gold (TSX: TGZ) announced on Wednesday that its operations are proceeding as planned despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and first quarter output is likely to be between the expected 85,000 to 90,000 ounces.

Additionally, the company reiterated that this will be the strongest quarter of the year at its Wahgnion mine in Burkina Faso and the softest quarter at the Sabodala mine in Senegal due to lower grades processed.

Both mines are currently operating as expected…”

Construction Groups Push Back on OSHA’s COVID-19 Reporting Rule

From ENR 

“The sheer volume and pervasiveness of COVID-19 cases has construction industry trade groups and others questioning the practicality of current U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule that requires workplace exposures to the virus reported and recorded.

While OSHA has no specific standard for COVID-19, the agency’s March 13 guidance considers it to be a recordable illness if the case is confirmed, meets CFR 1904.5 criteria for being work-related and requires medical treatment beyond first-aid…” 

Shut down all nonessential jobsites to protect construction workers from COVID-19: A superintendent’s perspective

From Construction Dive 

“I am a superintendent who works in the field daily and I have seen firsthand how some local construction companies in my area are pushing forward on projects that are far from essential and are putting the health and safety of employees and their families, some of whom are already elderly or have underlying conditions, at risk in the name of schedule and profit.

As cities and states have moved to shut down all but essential services, many in our industry have said that construction workers should be exempt…” 

Coronavirus crisis ‘unsung heroes’ are waste management workers, industry experts say

From Fox Business 

“As a number of workers battle on the frontlines in the fight against the coronavirus, one key service that often goes overlooked is waste management and recycling.

Waste management is the collection, transportation and disposal or garbage, sewage, recyclables and other waste products in a safe and efficient manner.

It is also an essential piece of the puzzle in the fight against coronavirus to help prevent the illness from spreading.

“[Waste management workers] are the cornerstone to our communities – making sure they are safe from germs, disease, virus – but they’re the unsung heroes of our communities as well,” Nate Morris, CEO of waste management…” 

Coronavirus: Geospatial industry pitches in to help combat pandemic

From Geospatial World 

“While the world gears up to tackle this crisis of unforeseen magnitude and governments issue healthcare advisories and quarantine the infected, a lot of organizations are working on the ground to provide visualizations of the affected areas along with the real-time situational awareness.

Geospatial industry has come to the rescue in a lot of crises and disasters by boosting relief and rehabilitation efforts. In the case of Coronavirus, the geospatial community is proactive in tracking the spread of the virus, constantly updating the number of people affected…” 


Construction Trends Report 2020

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