On 11th May 2020, the Government released a new set of guidelines to compliment the existing site operating procedures set out by the Construction Leadership Council.
The new guidance is broken down into 8 sections;
- Thinking about risk
- Who should go to work
- Social distancing at work
- Managing your customers, visitors and contractors
- Cleaning and sanitising the workspace
- Personal Protective Equipment and face coverings (PPE)
- Managing your workforce
- Inbound and outbound goods
This article contains a short summary of the guidance.
Thinking about risk
As with any risk assessment, the objective is to reduce risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures, in order of priority. The guidance re-iterates the need for increased hygiene measures and that social distancing must remain when ever possible. The guidance also stresses the importance of liaising with other employers or contractors sharing the workplace so that everybody’s health and safety is protected. Risk assessments should also be shared on company websites.
Who should go to work
In the construction industry, it is rarely the case that we can work from home, in which case you are allowed to return to site. However, everyone should be following the recommended safety measures and the clinically vulnerable should be offered the safest available on-site roles, enabling them to stay 2m away from others.
Social distancing at work
The key guidance here is to maintain 2m social distancing wherever possible, including while arriving at and departing from work, while in work and when travelling between sites. To ensure compliance, the guidance recommends some key actions including; discouraging non-essential travel, implement one-way working systems, increase H&S signage, separating working zones, hold meetings outdoors or in well ventilated rooms, stagger break times and ensure high traffic areas are regulated.
Managing customers, visitors and contractors
The key guidance here is to minimise the number of unnecessary visits to the worksite. If you do have visitors to your site, it is important to explain site procedures (regarding hygiene and social distancing) upon arrival, to limit the number of visitors at any one time, and to keep an accurate record of visitors.
Cleaning the workspace
Sites should conduct a cleaning programme before reopening the site, and ensure that hand sanitiser/ handwash facilities are available. Once sites are open, the key objective is to keep the workplace clean and prevent transmission by touching contaminated surfaces. Workers are encouraged to clean hand-tools, controls and machinery after every use. Sites are also encouraged to reduce transmission through contact with objects that go in and out of the workplace; for example, through equipment, materials, waste, and onsite vehicles.
To supports sites, RVT are able to offer industrial grade disinfectant in a 22L pressurised canister. It can be applied using a spray gun and will cover 750 m2. It can be used as a fogger and will not leave a residue. It is also ideal for disinfecting work surfaces, regular touch points, or machinery that is used by multiple operatives. View all RVT Cleaning solutions here.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The guidance is clear; workplaces should not encourage the precautionary use of extra PPE to protect against COVID-19 outside clinical settings or when responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. Contractors are encouraged to follow the hierarchy of control when assessing the requirement for PPE and face coverings. The new guidance does, however, introduce the recommendation of a ‘face covering’ where social distancing isn’t possible.
Managing your workforce
The government are encouraging the use of shift patterns and working groups, to reduce the amount of contact between different individuals. In cases where workers must travel together, they must ensure that they are seated as far apart as possible and that ventilation is increased. It is important for employers to ensure that all workers are kept up to date with changes in safety measures as they are implemented or updated.
Inbound and outbound goods
To maintain social distancing and avoid surface transmission when goods enter and leave the site, the government recommend the following; encourage non-contact deliveries, revise signage for collection/ drop offs, have single workers loading/ unloading goods, encourage drivers to stay in their vehicles when possible, but allow drivers to access welfare facilities.
RVT are keen to support all of our customers getting back to work safely. If you would like any advice on increased ventilation, fume control, dust control, noise control or cleaning solutions, please give us a call on 0808 178 3286.
Alternatively, follow the links below for more information.
Download a copy of the full guidance here.
View RVT’s ‘Return to Work Guide’ here.
View RVT ventilation solutions here.
Please note that this information is correct as of 11th May 2020.