As an employee or contractor, you will need to make sure you understand any extra safety procedures that have been put in place to minimise COVID-19 risks. You should be able to access and read the findings of the COVID-19 risk assessment carried out by your employer, and you should attend any safety induction or training before returning to work.
Understanding the COVID-19 safety procedures in place will help you keep yourself and others safe at work.
If you are an employer, it’s your responsibility to clearly communicate safety procedures and any changes to working arrangements to your employees. We will provide safety training materials for workers before they come into the work place.
Ensuring Correct Use of PPE us used.
Lots of construction activities will require the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep workers safe. The use of a helmet, gloves, high-visibility clothing, eye protection and face masks maybe used for certain tasks. And while working during the coronavirus outbreak, we will continue to wear or use any protective equipment where necessary.
But PPE shouldn’t be used as a COVID-19 control measure, meaning you shouldn’t use additional PPE to what you would usually wear. This is because transmission risks should primarily be managed with control measures such as social distancing and hygiene practices. PPE should be a last resort. It should only be used for protection from the virus when transmission risks can’t be effectively managed.
Minimise Unnecessary Visits to Worksites
Construction sites may need to provide access to members of the public, site visitors and contractors. However, an effective way to reduce coronavirus transmission risks is to limit the number of people on-site at any one time. With fewer people, social distancing can be enforced, making it easier to manage risks.
So if you can, it’s a good idea to restrict access or limit the number of visitors able to enter the worksite. Staggering visits (including visits from contractors) can help to keep the number of people on-site to a minimum.
Any visitors who do enter the worksite should be made aware of the COVID-19 safety precautions that are in place.
Make Sure Your Workplace Is as Clean as Possible
Coronavirus can live on surfaces for some time, so it’s incredibly important to make sure your workplace and any equipment you use is as clean as possible. Before starting work and after completing tasks, surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected. Surfaces that are regularly touched by different workers should be frequently cleaned — for example: buckets, control panels, tools and site equipment need to be wiped down after use.
Hygiene practices such as handwashing should also be carried out much more frequently than usual, and hand sanitiser dispensers should be filled and tactically placed around the workplace. Signs and posters should be used to remind workers and site visitors to stay vigilant about hand hygiene and encourage proper handwashing techniques.
Another area of hygiene in the workplace that you will need to consider is waste disposal. Closed bins should be used and waste should be hygienically disposed of.
Safely Manage the Delivery of Inbound and Outbound Goods
Goods and materials will regularly need to enter and leave construction sites, but the process of moving inbound and outbound goods is an interaction that needs to be considered and managed. Where possible, the frequency of deliveries should be reduced and non-contact deliveries should become the standard form of delivery during the coronavirus outbreak. Drivers should be encouraged to stay in their vehicles, and the number of people involved in loading and unloading should be limited.
Take Extra Precautions When Working in People’s Homes
Working on construction projects in people’s homes is a little different from working outdoors on large construction sites. You may be working in confined spaces and interacting with different householders.
You should consider limiting the size of your team working in confined spaces so that you can safely distance yourself from other workers. You should also ask householders to leave all doors open, to minimise the need for contact with door handles and to ensure ventilation throughout the area you will be working in. And as in any workplace, cleaning surfaces and equipment is hugely important, especially when working in someone else’s home, as you don’t know when surfaces were last cleaned, and whether they were cleaned effectively.
The government has produced a guide for working safely in other people’s homes that you can follow to ensure your safety.