Eyewitness: public contractor in Iran details Covid-19 response

16 April 2020

The Mashhad Municipality Civil Organization (MMCO), the public works contractor for the city of Mashhad in northeast Iran, has taken a proactive approach to dealing with Covid-19 containment.

Despite a lack of country-wide guidance for construction, the organisation has taken multiple measures to curb the virus and is even building its own PPE in its workshop.

Picture1

Staff receive health and safety training.

Mohammad Javad Mousavizadeh, the public relations manager at MMCO, tells KHL that the organisation is the largest contractor across the city with 1000 employees and more than 30 projects underway at any one time.

Private construction in the city – which is the second largest in Iran with more than 3 million inhabitants – has continued, but with restrictions. 

“Unfortunately, there are no protocols for the construction industry during the Covid-19 outbreak and many of the contractors are in an uncertain situation”, said Mousavizadeh, ”The actions that Mashhad Municipality Civil Organization have taken are spontaneous.”

He said the organisation has initiated a number of measures, including:

  • Forming a ‘war council’ against Covid-19 in the organization, including all managers;
  • Staff screening by a self-assessment form, including questions about medical history and symptoms;
  • Distribution of PPE for workers and engineers on job sites and the central office;
  • Providing health protocols for construction operations, including social distancing;
  • Leave of absence for staff older than 55 and ’at risk’ groups;
  • Reducing working periods as well as construction operations;
  • Establishing cleaning and handwashing stations within work areas.

Picture3

The health of staff is monitored every day.

The organisation had created its own workshop to produce face masks and is also monitoring the protocols in place in other countries, including the UK, US and Canada.

In addition, MMCO is holding training course for members of its health and safety unit. “Any worker working on job sites must be screened, and confirmation by the health and safety authority is required,” said Dr E Azimi, the head of the organization.

Mousavizadeh said there were no standard procedures across the country, and he thinks that Mashhad is perhaps the only municipality to have taken this degree of care in combating the virus.

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