Keep calm and carry on working on-site (safely)
Last week, the Government announced that all workers in England who can work from home should do so in light of the increased number of coronavirus cases over the last few weeks. But, not construction workers.
The Prime Minister specifically clarified that those workers who are unable to work from home, including those in the construction sector, would still be encouraged to go to work on-site, as long as their workplace is COVID-secure. However, construction firm’s office-based staff have been told to work from home wherever possible. This may provide a welcome lifeline for many construction businesses allowing them to continue working on-site and could potentially save jobs.
We understand that the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) is currently working on updating its ‘Charter for safe-working practice – COVID-19’ which we reported on earlier this year.
Since that update, we have also seen some new emerging health and safety initiatives within the sector, including:
— The installation of ‘personal protection tunnels’ – to sanitise workers with a “COVID-19 killing mist” when they enter a job. No doubt the tunnels are not cheap and businesses using them should also be aware that the mist/fog contains chemicals, which should be risk assessed in accordance with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations. The chemicals in the mist may cause contact dermatitis and/or irritate the lining of the lungs since they will be bleach-based, or similar.
— Continued temperature checks on site-entry – this is not something which has been advocated by the Government, for a variety of reasons. Thermometers are often inaccurate; your temperature can be raised by simply running to catch the bus to work and/or carrying a heavy load and the information has significant data privacy issues (which our Data Privacy expert, Lucas Atkin, can help you with).
October 2020 – The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) ‘Construction Health Inspection Initiative”
October will see the HSE carried out its latest construction health inspection initiative with health and safety inspectors specifically targeting construction sites across Great Britain. The initiative will run from 5 – 30 October 2020 and will focus on respiratory risks, such as chemicals used in ‘personal protection tunnels’ and critically, COVID-security. For more information, view the HSE’s press release.
Our construction and regulatory teams welcome and support continued working on site for the construction sector, allowing businesses the opportunity to keep calm and carry on doing their job. We can help ensure you do this safely. Please do get in touch if you need help.