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23rd February 2020
Site Operating Procedures
Protecting Strong GroupWorkforce During Coronavirus (Covid-19)
Contents & Introduction
These are exceptional circumstances and the industry must comply with the latest Government advice on Coronavirus (Covid-19) at all times.
These Strong Group Site Operating Procedures (SGSOP) are based on Public Health England (PHE) guidance; other restrictions and advice may apply in Scotland, Walesand Northern Ireland.
Where workers enter people’s homes they should follow the PHE guidance on Tradespeople and working in people’s homes.
The HSE is the relevant enforcing authority for PHE guidelines. If a site is not consistently implementing the measures set out by PHE, it may be subject to enforcement action.
Construction sites operating during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic need to ensure they are protecting their workforce and minimising the risk of spread of infection. This includes considering how personnel travel to and from site.
This guidance is intended to introduce consistent measures on construction sites of all types and sizes in line with the Government’s recommendations on social distancing and ensure employers and individuals make every effort to comply.
PHE guidance for construction states “where it is not possible to follow the social distancing guidelines in full in relation to a particular activity, you should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the site to continue to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission”.
The health and safety requirements of any construction activity must not be compromised at this time. If an activity cannot be undertaken safely, it should not take place.
Emergency services are also under great pressure and may not be able to respond as quickly as usual. This should be taken into consideration in the planning of work activities, first aid, fire and emergency responses.
Organisations must have in place effective arrangements for monitoring and reviewing their compliance with Government and industry guidance. Sites should also remind the workforce at every opportunity of the Site Operating Procedures which are aimed at protecting them, their colleagues, families and the UK population.
The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy advised in a letter to the UK construction industry on 31 March 2020:
“that wherever possible, people should work at home. However, we know that for many people working in construction their job requires them to travel to their place of work, and they can continue to do so. This is consistent with the Chief Medical Officer’s advice”.
It is important to understand the following guidelines by which workers should or should not travel to work as outlined below.
Workers in the construction industry should follow the guidance on Staying at Home and away from others (social distancing). Where they cannot work from home, they must follow the same principles of social distancing while travelling to and from work and while at work.
|Self-isolation||Anyone who either has a high temperature or a new persistent cough or is within 14 days of the day when the first member of their household showed symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19) should not come to site, but must follow the guidance on self- isolation.|
|Person at increased risk||Anyone who is at increased risk of severe illness from Coronavirus (Covid-19) is strongly advised to work at home and should be particularly stringent about following social distancing measures.|
|Persons defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable||Anyone identified as extremely vulnerable will be advised by their health authority and must follow the guidance on shielding and protecting extremely vulnerable people.|
|Living with a person in one of the above groups||Anyone living with a person who is at increased risk of severe illness or an extremely vulnerable person who is shielding from Coronavirus. (Covid-19), should stringently follow the guidan social distancing and minimise contact outside the home.|
|If someone falls ill||If a worker develops a high temperature or a persistent cough while at work, they should:|
a) Ensure their manager or supervisor is informed.
b) Return home immediately.
c) Avoid touching anything.
d) Cough or sneeze into a tissue and put it in a bin, or if they do not have tissues, cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow. They must then follow the guidance on self-isolation and not return to work until their period of self-isolation has been completed.
Wherever possible workers should travel to site alone using their own transport.
If workers have no option but to share transport:
When travelling at work or between site locations, workers should travel alone. If workers have no option but to share a vehicle, then they should:
3.Site Access and Egress Points
Canteens and Rest Areas
Where possible, workers should be encouraged to bring their own food. They should also be required to stay on site once they have entered it and avoid using local shops. Where there are no practical alternatives, workplace canteens may remain open to provide food to staff with appropriate adjustments for social distancing. Canteens should provide a takeaway service providing pre-prepared and wrapped food only.
4. Work Planning to Avoid Close Working
In line with Public Health England (PHE) guidelines, where it is not possible to follow the social distancing guidelines in full in relation to a particular activity, you should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the site to continue to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission.
Sites and work need to be planned and organised to avoid crowding and minimise the risk of spread of infection by following PHE and HSE guidance and the advice within these Site Operating Procedures.
Sites should remind the workforce (e.g. at daily briefings) of the specific control measures necessary to protect them, their colleagues, families and the UK population.
Hierarchy of Controls
If you are not able to work whilst maintaining a two metre distance, you should consider whether the activity should continue and, if so, risk assess it using the hierarchy of controls below and against any sector-specific guidance.
|Eliminate||Workers who are unwell with symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19 should not travel to or attend the workplace.|
Rearrange tasks to enable them to be done by one person, or by maintaining social distancing measure metres).
Avoid skin to skin and face to face contact.
Stairs should be used in preference to lifts or hoists and consider one ways systems
Consider alternative or additional mechanical aids to reduce worker interface Site Meetings.
Only absolutely necessary meeting participants should attend.
Attendees should be at least two metres apart from each other.
Rooms should be well ventilated / windows opened to allow fresh air circulation.
Consider holding meetings in open areas where possible.
|Reduce||Where the social distancing measures (2 metres) cannot be applied:|
Minimise the frequency and time workers are within 2 metres of each other.
Minimise the number of workers involved in these tasks.
Workers should work side by side, or facing away from each other rather than face to face
Lower the worker capacity of lifts and hoists to reduce congestion and contact at all times.
Regularly clean common touchpoints, doors, buttons, handles, vehicle cabs, tools, equipment etc.
Increase ventilation in enclosed spaces.
Workers should wash their hands before and after using any equipment.
|Isolate||Keep groups of workers that have to work within 2 metres:|
Together in teams e.g. (do not change workers within teams)
As small as possible.
Away from other workers where possible.
|Control||Where face to face working is essential to carry out a task when out a task when working working within 2 metres:|
Keep this to 15 minutes or less where possible
Consider introducing an enhanced authorisation process for these activities
Provide additional supervision to monitor and manage compliance
|Sites should not use RPE for Coronavirus (Covid-19) where the two metre social distancing guidelines are me|
|Where it is not possible to maintain a two metre distance, each activity should be risk assessed using the hierarchy of controls and against any sector-specific guidance, mind that masks (RPE) are the last resort in the hierarchy.|
Re-usable PPE should be thoroughly cleaned after use and not shared between workers.
Single use PPE should be disposed of so that it cannot be reused
Where personnel are required to work in specific environments (e.g were persons are symptoms or confirmed Coronavirus (Covid-19)
Where personnel are required to work in specific environments (e.g. where persons are shielding, with symptoms, or confirmed Coronavirus (Covid-19) cases may be present e.g. healthcare or in a home environment) additional PPE should be considered specific to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) risk.
The measures necessary to minimise the risk of spread of infection rely on everyone in the industry taking responsibility for their actions and behaviours.
Please encourage an open and collaborative approach between workers and employers on site where any issues can be openly discussed and addressed.
The primary responsibility is to preserve life and first aid should be administered if required and until the emergency services attend.