How to keep staff as safe as possible on construction sites during COVID-19

The closure of pubs and restaurants has left many people with the belief that only key workers are still travelling to and from their jobs.

But while some office jobs can be done from home, the government guidance has not banned most workplaces from continuing to operate if staff must be there in person.

One sector where this is the case for the vast majority of employees is construction, but with large numbers of builders and tradespeople on some sites, many working in the industry have raised concerns about safety.

Site operators now face the challenge of continuing large construction projects at pace and on schedule, while keeping staff as safe as possible in all areas of the site.

Here are some measures you can take to adhere to the government’s guidance on social distancing, which should be applied in workplaces as far as possible.

Cleanliness and hygiene

Hygiene is the first step towards protecting against COVID-19 in all settings. Encourage staff to wash their hands frequently, lathering well with soap for over 20 seconds each time.

Coughing and sneezing should be kept to a minimum, but when it is unavoidable, it is important to cover the nose and mouth – face masks may be appropriate on some sites if they are available.

Surfaces should also be kept clean if possible, and you should try to avoid having all employees touch the same surface, for example on keypad entry systems.

Social distancing

In addition to destroying the virus using soap and sanitisers, distance provides an invisible barrier to prevent the spread of infection.

A minimum spacing of two metres should be maintained between workers wherever possible, not only to protect health, but also to prevent sickness absences and lost productivity.

Most of our bog mats come in a standard width of one metre and a length of 3-5 metres, so can provide a useful visual reference for maintaining distance around your construction site.

Finally, sector-specific guidance on social distancing for construction sites can be accessed via the UK government’s GOV.UK website, with advice such as limiting the number of employees who can share a lift or, ideally, using stairs instead.

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