What is the ‘Charter for safe working practice – COVID-19’?
A one-page ‘Charter for safe working practice – COVID-19’ (the Charter) has been launched to enable housebuilders to make a common commitment to operating in line with government safe working guidance. Signatories to the Charter have publicly committed to safe working practices in accordance with government and the Construction Leadership Council guidance.
The Charter has been produced by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and Home Builders Federation (HBF) to ensure that home building activity is carried out safely and in accordance with the advice of government and Public Health England during the pandemic.
The HBF advocates that, “through adherence to this Charter, the industry can continue to provide much-needed additions to housing supply and play its part in the country’s economic recovery while delivering on its top priority: protecting the health and safety of the home building workforce, visitors to site and the local community.” Major housebuilders including Avant Homes, Bellway Homes, Persimmon Homes, and Redrow Homes, to name a few, support the Charter.
Steps required by the Charter
Supporters of the Charter acknowledge a shared responsibility to ensure a site can operate safely and in accordance with government advice, including steps to:
- work with their workforce, subcontractors and suppliers to develop and share detailed safe working practices;
- only undertake operations it knows can be carried out safely;
- establish safe access and egress to the site;
- provide safe shared facilities;
- give all site visitors a safety induction to ensure they fully understand the measures in place on the site to protect them and others;
- ensure measures are in place to enable anyone on site to abide by social distancing guidance and take mitigating action to reduce the risk of transmission where not possible – see our recent update on this.
- have clean welfare facilities and handwashing points and sanitizers across the site;
- develop detailed policies that allow customers to visit sites and view homes safely and in accordance with all social distancing guidelines;
- communicate with neighbours so they are aware; and
- ensure compliance with the above is monitored closely, so far so, any person found to be breaking the rules will be removed from the site and may not be allowed to return.
The Charter also recommends asking all visitors to take various steps, including, registering with the site management team for a coronavirus safety briefing, staying at home if they have and/or live with someone who has coronavirus symptoms and applying government guidance for safer travel.
If you have any questions relating to the Charter, or would like to discuss how to ensure your site is COVID-19 secure, please get in touch with our dedicated Construction and Regulatory team.