The guidance from Public Health England (PHE) on social distancing in the workplace during coronavirus (COVID-19), which includes sections on construction and the use of private vehicles and carpooling for travelling to work, has been incorporated into what is now industry-recognised guidance, supported by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma.
In response to feedback, Version 3 now includes:
confirmation that the HSE is the enforcing authority for PHE guidelines
the need for sites to monitor the implementation of the procedures
further details on who should not travel to work
guidance for those who have no option but to share transport to work
information on the hierarchy of controls which should be implemented to reduce the risk of transmission where social distancing of 2 metres cannot be achieved
information on first aid and emergency service response.
The latest PHE guidance for construction states that "where face-to-face contact is essential, this should be kept to 15 minutes or less wherever possible". BuildUK have requested further clarification from PHE on this point and is also seeking further guidance on the use of (Respiratory Protective Equipment) RPE on construction sites as a means of reducing the transmission of Coronavirus (Covid-19).
The new version of the Site Operating Procedures must now be implemented in the workplace. and businesses should continue to follow the most up-to-date Government guidanceand information from BuildUK.
The safety of CABE members, and all professionals, working on construction sites at this time is paramount, so please take the time to read the updated Site Operating Procedures in order keep yourself and your colleagues safe in these difficult working environments.
Dr Gavin Dunn
BSc MSc PhD FCABE
Chartered Building Engineer