As the Covid-19 restrictions in the UK are being lifted, the construction industry is opting to maintain certain health guidelines and other Covid safety measures to minimise risks for workers. The measures are being brought in to help tackle the spread of the virus and thereby allow the industry to continue functioning. The Covid-19 checklist for construction sites make the guidelines easier to follow, which are for both employers and employees and will help to curb potential sources of exposure in the industry as construction workers return to work.
It would be beneficial to make the checklist and regulation details available to all within the company, which will help to embed these crucial safety principals within the organisation. With a checklist to refer to it will allow the health measures to steadily become part of day to day to operations.
1. Compliance with health guidelines recommended by health officials
Control measures will continue on construction sites which include the usual health guidelines, such as wearing masks and social distancing. Other measures include continuing with hand sanitisation, avoiding touching nose, mouth and eye areas after contact with surfaces that may be contaminated. Ensure that jobs that can maintain the 6 feet apart do so and that others that require closer contact are done under strict health guidelines.
2. Consider holding staff meetings outdoors or at a properly ventilated space
As before it is beneficial to continue holding remote staff meetings or if not conducting then in an open or outdoor space. If it is not possible to conduct the meetings out of doors, then ensure that it is held in a very well ventilated location.
3. Keep number of personnel on-site at a minimum
As we all know by now the Covid-19 virus is a respiratory illness that we believe mainly spreads from person to person and through touching contaminated surfaces. This is why it is necessary to continue whenever possible remote communication and reducing non-essential contacts. To this end both employers and employees should discourage unnecessary construction site visits and only ensure the safest number of personnel are on site at a time. Further, inspections of construction sites should be done when workers are not around to minimise unnecessary contact.
4. An adequate supply of PPE for staff
To stop the spread of Covid-19 in the construction industry it essential that employers ensure that workers have an adequate supply of personal protective equipment or PPE. This includes not only the standard construction related equipment but also easy accessibility to sanitiser, masks, shields, gloves and soap and other such items that are essential during the Covid-19 pandemic the world is currently experiencing. Workers should also be regularly reminded of the correct way to wear the PPE to ensure its success in preventing contamination. Sharing of PPE unless thoroughly disinfected and sanitised should be thoroughly discouraged.
5. Keeping tools and workstations disinfected and sanitised
There should be in place a system where all tools and workstations, especially those used frequently, are disinfected and sanitized regularly throughout the work day. Surfaces can become contaminated and spread the virus and it is beneficial for all if a routine of disinfecting and sanitising is created. The construction site should be fitted with adequate temporary handwashing stations so that construction workers have easy access. Further, the company should instruct the workers on the importance of regular handwashing and provide access to sanitisers with at least 60% alcohol.
6. Maintaining distance between drivers and site workers
Protocols should be introduced and implemented to help maintain health and safety measures. Drivers should be protected with shields or barriers such as plexiglass barriers if possible. Social distancing protocols have to be in place when visiting lunch trucks or construction site vendors enter a site. Work schedules should be rearranged with staggered and extra shifts, to contain the number of workers travelling or at a construction site at a given time. Workers should be educated on the importance of restricting the number of people in enclosed spaces such as break areas and trailers to minimise transmission of the disease.
7. Coordinate with health officials for Covid-19 testing on-site when required
Despite the best measures and protocols being in place Covid-19 is a highly contagious virus which spreads very quickly. As such in an environment where people have to interact closely it is best to take precautions with Covid-19 testing when required. Employers should coordinate with health officials to facilitate on-site Covid-19 testing for employee convenience.
8. Continuous awareness and encouragement to follow safety protocols
The best way to ensure that a construction site remains as safe as possible is with continuous awareness measures so that all employees are on the same page and awareness level regarding procedures and protocols. Employers too should continuously encourage employees through example and communication via emails, notices and handouts. It is only when everyone follows the safety and health guidelines that a construction site can hope to avoid being infected by the virus.
It is important for infrastructure development to continue and for construction workers to have employment. In order for this to continue unhindered constant evaluation of risk levels and the adopting of control measures are necessary to keep the workplace safe. Being mindful and making the Covid-19 checklist available to all workers will keep everyone aware of procedures and protocols in place to prevent the spread of infection.