The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Safety has issued its latest guidance for safe working on construction sites during the current pandemic.
The guidance states: “Construction work plays an important role in ensuring public safety and the provision of public services. It can continue if done in accordance with the social distancing guidelines wherever possible”.
The advice also includes the following recommendations:
- Staff to keep 2 metres apart as much as possible.
- Keep groups of workers working together in teams as small as possible.
- The inside of cabs should be regularly cleaned, particularly between use by different operators.
- Plan work to minimise contact between workers and avoid skin-to-skin and face-to-face contact.
- If facilities to wash hands are not available, hand sanitiser should be made available and used regularly.
- Face-to-face contact should only be done if it is essential and kept to 15 minutes or less wherever possible.
- Consider adding additional pop-up hand washing stations or facilities, providing soap, water and/or hand sanitiser.
- To protect your staff, you should remind colleagues daily to only come into work if they are well and no one in their household is self-isolating.
- Employees should keep the windows of enclosed machinery or enclosed spaces always open for ventilation and be careful to avoid touching their face.
- Staff should wash their hands each time before getting into enclosed machinery (such as diggers) with others and wash their hands every time they get out.
- Use stairs in preference to lifts or hoists. Where lifts or hoists must be used, you should always lower their capacity to reduce congestion and contact, and regularly clean touchpoints, such as doors and buttons.
- Staff need to frequently wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds especially after blowing their nose, sneezing or coughing, on arrival at work, before and after eating, after using public transport, and when they arrive home.
In addition, Version 3 of the Construction Leadership Council’s Site Operating Guidance was released on 14th April and now recommends that; "Where close working cannot be avoided it should be limited to less than 15 minutes and workers should be side by side rather than face to face.” Download version 3 here.
Action Against Non-Compliant Employers
The HSE has also released a joint statement with The Partnership on Health and Safety in Scotland, advising that social distancing is a key public health measure that employers needs to follow. The statement goes on to say that the HSE has high expectations of how fair work principles should be applied during the current Covid-19 crisis and they will consider a range of actions against employers that are not complying with the Government health guidance.
The action taken against employers could range from receiving specific advice to issuing enforcement notices, including prohibition notices. Local authorities also have enforcement powers in specific premises under health and safety legislation and can close non-essential businesses under new public health Coronavirus legislation in Scotland.
RVT continue to support critical construction projects in the UK, such as, by providing ventilation at John Radcliffe Hospital to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Read the full case study here.
For more information on how RVT can help you keep your work zone safe and clean during the COVID-19 crisis, please call 0808 178 3286 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We wish our valued customers well during the current pandemic, from all of us at RVT.
Please note, this information is correct as of 15th April 2020.