GUIDANCE FOR CONSTRUCTION SITES DURING COVID-19
1. Live Construction Sites
Below is a checklist of risk control measures to consider whilst construction sites remain open. Not all of these items will be relevant to all sites:
Site access and egress:
o Signing in/out book carried out by one person.
o Remove or disable entry systems that require skin contact e.g. fingerprint scanners
o One person to stand at the site entrance and take the names of staff entering and leaving and also ensuring that social separation rules are adhered to.
o Staff to wash hands/use sanitiser before coming onto site and when leaving the site.
o Stop all non-essential visitors.
Start and finish times:
o Consider staggering start and finish times to reduce traffic flow and encourage social distancing.
o If an activity cannot be undertaken safely due to a lack of suitably qualified personnel being available or social distancing being implemented, it should not take place.
o Develop plans for different working shifts so that staff overlap is kept to a minimum.
o Implement split site or location operations where feasible.
o Find ways of planning and modifying processes in the event that large portions of the workforce are absent for a period of time.
o Allow plenty of space (two metres) between people waiting to enter site.
o Provide additional hand washing facilities to the usual welfare facilities if a large spread out site or the numbers of personnel on site is significant.
o Ensure soap and fresh water is readily available and kept topped up at all times.
o Provide hand sanitiser where hand washing facilities are unavailable.
o Regularly clean the hand washing facilities and check soap and sanitiser levels.
o Provide suitable and sufficient rubbish bins for hand towels with regular removal and disposal.
o Restrict the number of people using toilet facilities at any one time e.g. use a welfare attendant.
First Aiders: To be issued with or have available additional PPE for administering first aid such as masks, goggles, and gloves as they will inevitably have to break the social distancing rules to administer first aid. Correctly disposal of potentially contaminated items when finished. Whenever CPR is carried out, particularly on an unknown victim, there is some risk of cross infection, associated particularly with giving rescue breaths. Normally, this risk is very small and is set against the inevitability that a person in cardiac arrest will die if no assistance is given. First Aiders to seek NHS advice following any such first aid actions or treatment.
Breaks: All breaks should be staggered to ensure welfare facilities can be used safely and that operatives can observe the 2-metre rule.
Toolbox Talks: A toolbox talk on the measures implemented should be given to all site operatives and included in the site induction. Site briefings and toolbox talks to be carried out outside where possible to ensure social distancing can be achieved. Reduce the number of people in attendance at inductions (spilt groups).
o Additional cleaning especially on welfare areas.
o Regularly clean common contact surfaces; e.g handrails and doors handles.
o Where it cannot be guaranteed that after each use a microwave is cleaned this must be taken out of use.
o Introduce enhanced cleaning of all facilities to changing and drying rooms throughout the day and at the end of each day.
o Introduce enhanced cleaning of all plant and equipment throughout the day and at the end of each day.
Eating Arrangements: Whilst there is a requirement for construction sites to provide a means of heating food and making hot drinks, these are exceptional circumstances and where it is not possible to introduce a means of keeping equipment clean between use, kettles, microwaves etc. must be removed from use. The workforce should also be advised to stay on site once they have entered it and not use local shops.
Welfare Generally: Consider increasing the number or size of facilities available on site if possible.
Waste: Waste from welfare units to be emptied and disposed of on a regular basis. All staff encourage to bring their own food and take their own waste away with them.
Transport: All site staff to be encouraged to drive in their own vehicles and not use public transport. Additional carparking spaces may be required.
Illness: Be clear to workers who feel unwell that they should not be coming into the workplace. Process for staff taken ill on-site and suspected of Covid19 infection is to be put in place by the Principal Contractor.
Deliveries: Lorry drivers to remain in their cabs if they have no need to get out for unloading. If they do need to get out of their cabs they must wash / clean their hands before and after unloading goods and materials.
PPE: All visitors to site must bring their own PPE to ensure its cleanliness and no spread of Covid 19.
Construction Phase Plans: CPP’s to be updated to reflect these measures. The Principal Contractor to issue to the Principal Designer.
Risk Assessments and Method Statements: Ensure Principal Contractor and sub-contractors RAMS are reviewed and updated to include Covid 19 measures. Should include measures for:
o Enforce distancing – from now refer to ‘2 metre rule’.
o How to prevent cross contamination with deliveries.
o Hygiene arrangements.
o Travel Arrangement
o Plant and equipment contamination (cleaning)
2. Closing a Construction Site
Escape of Water: Consider draining down and isolating any temporary or permanent water supplies to the building.
Welfare: Ensure that everything that can be turned off is done so.
Combustible Materials: All combustible building materials, waste and pallets to be removed from site or stored in locked steel containers.
Site Contacts: The client, project manager and principal designer should have a list of emergency contacts distributed to them and that an emergency contact number is displayed on the site gates.
Waste: Ensure that skips are emptied and stored 10 metres from the building. If this cannot be achieved, provide locked metal containers and locked skips.
Loose materials: Check the site and especially the roof for any loose material that could be a hazard in stormy conditions.
Reopening a Construction Site: If a site is closed the project team will need to agree a site remobilisation procedure. They will need to be inspected prior to opening to ensure:
o Access is still safe
o Welfare is still fit for purpose
o Scaffold is fully re-inspected
o Excavations are safe
o Any fire mitigation on timber frame sites is still fit for purpose
o Any plant fully inspected before use and any thorough examination certificates are still in date for plant and lifting equipment.
If there is any Scaffolding still on site then The National Access and Scaffolding Confederation has issued the advice below on dealing with the forthcoming impact of Coronavirus on the industry.
What should I do if my scaffolding inspector has been forced into self-isolating?
1. As the scaffolding company has been employed to undertake the scaffolding inspections and not the individual the main contractor may request another inspector from the scaffolding company to attend.
In many ways this is a similar situation to annual leave cover or ‘normal’ sick leave. Worst case scenario, employ a third party to cover the period whilst your scaffolding inspector is unable to attend.
What happens if the site is shut down? Do we still need to carry out weekly inspections?
1. In the context of seven-day inspections, section 12 (4) of the Regulations states, “…every employer shall ensure that a working platform used for construction work; and from which a person could fall 2 metres or more is not used in any position unless it has been inspected in that position or, in the case of a mobile working platform, inspected on the site, within the previous 7 days.
2. Based on the above no 7-day inspections will be required as the site is closed and no one will be accessing the scaffolding (However reference must be made to section 3, 4, 5 and 6 of this paragraph). An inspection will be required the day the scaffolding is required to come back into use. In many ways, this is similar to the Christmas period. Please continue to monitor Government announcements and liaise with the main contractor on site regarding this.
3. On closed sites, or where access has been restricted to scaffolding structures, a judgement needs to be made (a risk assessment) to determine the suitable frequency at which scaffolding should be inspected or checked for a deterioration in condition. These inspections may be less frequent than the seven-day inspections and the actual required frequency will depend on the risk of deterioration.
4. The statutory inspection requirement still applies for scaffolds that may have been affected by an event or conditions causing deterioration, such as high winds or impact by a vehicle or items of mobile plant and they must not be used until an inspection has taken place.
5. Consideration must be given to the ongoing stability of scaffolds and they cannot be simply forgotten about because they are not in use. This applies to all temporary scaffolding structures including special purpose structures, falsework, formwork and not only access scaffolding that includes working platforms. The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 apply to all construction work in the UK. Regulation 19 of CDM (Stability of Structures) states, “All practicable steps must be taken, where necessary to prevent danger to any person, to ensure that any new or existing structure does not collapse…”
6. Advice is to risk assess each scaffold and give consideration to the particular factors that may impact its stability. From there, a judgement can be made as to how often the scaffold should be inspected. Factors to be considered might include:
• Scaffold configuration – is it sheeted or netted? Or is it fully boarded?
• Location – Where is the scaffold situated? Is it exposed to wind, or other conditions that could impact stability?
• Environment – Are there any adjacent activities that could negatively impact the scaffold?
What happens if we’re advised not to attend sites?
If the Government or indeed the main contractor advises you not to attend site this will apply to all trades and individuals so the same scenario as a site shut above down where an inspection will not be required until the site is re-opened and the scaffolding is required to be put back in use will apply.
The industry trade body has advised that the above is strictly NASC advice. And asks to seek relevant professional guidance wherever and whenever applicable to ensure you are as best placed as possible to manage whatever the specific implications of the spread of coronavirus are to your business and employees. Information sourced from – https://nasc.org.uk/covid-19-information/
3. Site Visits from Consultants – Valuations – H+S Visits – Building Control:
All site visits should be cancelled. If site visits have to take place on site, ensure:
o The visit is absolutely necessary and cannot be completed over a video call or via pictures taken on site by the site manager.
o All visits must be arranged prior to arrival on site. The visit takes place during the quietest part of the day, preferably prior to or after the site operatives working day.
o The visit takes place during the quietest part of the day, preferably prior to or after the site operatives working day.
All meetings should be undertaken via video conferencing. If meetings have to take place on site, ensure:
o Only absolutely necessary meeting participants attend.
o All attendees are 2 metres apart from each other.
o Rooms are well ventilated/windows opened to allow fresh air circulation.
o Meetings to be held in open areas where possible.