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Our CHRISTMAS checklist for shutting down sites

Construction / 17 December 2020

With Christmas only days away, many construction sites will be shutting down for a period of time. In this update, we provide some practical tips to ensure your sites are secure.

Safely securing a site is nothing new: all sites should always be left safely (overnight or otherwise). This is critical to protect public safety and mitigate the risks of other incidents such as theft or arson on site. We recommend the following steps to close down sites this CHRISTMAS:

—  Consider the weather – temporary structures such as scaffolding, fencing, trenches and excavations could be at risk of collapsing in the midst of wintery weather. Make sure you make them as secure as possible, for example using warning signs, covering unfinished roofs and removing loose materials from scaffolding.

—  Hazard awareness – every site is different, so evaluating risk is important. Consider the level of risk associated with your site, low, medium or high. Factors such as location and profile may determine the risk factor.

—  Record – don’t forget to keep a comprehensive record of the potential hazards and risks you have identified, as well as logging details that you have risk assessed.

—  Inform everyone involved in the project that you will be off-site (clients, supply chain, design team, insurers and neighbours) to ensure they understand what is happening.

—  Security – be vigilant and make sure you have security cameras that work and can be monitored by someone remotely over the festive period. For higher risk sites, you may wish to consider alarmed fencing, heavy duty locks or security guards.

—  Take valuable plant, technology and now even highly sought after materials off-site if possible or lock them away securely to protect against theft.

—  Mental health – 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, particularly those in the construction sector. Use the time to relax, unwind and to re-charge the batteries for hopefully a prosperous New Year.

—  Avoid becoming complacent though – make sure you continue to maintain the safety of the site throughout the closure, through CCTV, monitoring devices or physical inspections.

—  Save energy – see our recent article with ‘Practical tips to reduce your carbon footprint and save energy when closing your offices this Christmas’, particularly useful for those with office-based staff.

We want you to start 2021 in the best shape possible. Ensuring your site is safe and secure and taking proactive steps to check the safeguards you have in place for safety during the Christmas break will help to facilitate a speedy restart of projects in the New Year.

Our Construction and Regulatory experts are on hand to provide urgent advice in respect of the implications of shutting down for Christmas, from both a contractual and health and safety perspective. Please do get in touch.


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This update is for general purposes and guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should seek legal advice before relying on its content. This update relates to the prevailing circumstances at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments. If you have general queries about our updates, please email: mailinglists@greenwoodsgrm.co.uk

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