MONTREAL -- While public health officials repeat that handwashing is essential to stop the spread of the coronavirus, many construction workers cannot do it because of the lack of running water and soap on sites, their unions said.

The FTQ-Construction and the Conseil provincial du Québec des métiers de la construction (International) again denounced the situation on Friday saying they have been calling for better sanitation facilities for all workers for years.

The regulations stipulate that construction sites with at least 25 workers must have sanitary facilities with running water, but this is not the case for construction sites with 24 workers or less, said Éric Boisjoly, general manager of the FTQ-Construction.

Workers still have to use chemical toilets that have no sink, running water, or soap, and that are not heated in winter or ventilated in summer, he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 13, 2020.