It's time for everyone in the building and construction industry to take Coronavirus seriously. Some building sites have implemented good hygiene but ALL sites must do this NOW.
Social distancing is vital on all sites, big and small. Everyone - business owners, managers, site managers, all managers, subcontractors and workers, it is everyone's responsibility to work together to make social distancing happen.
Social distancing will mean slower work but slower work is BETTER THAN NO WORK. Everyone in the industry owes it to each other to do what it takes to make social distancing work on building sites.
Practice social distancing
- Plan ways to enable physical distancing of 1.5m to reduce in-person contact of workers. On a construction site this can be done by:
- careful scheduling of work to provide distance between workgroups and individuals, e.g. schedule for some internal trades and external trades to work at the same time rather several internal trades only.
- minimising the numbers of workers in workgroups or teams e.g. only send the necessary numbers of workers to complete a task.
- When setting up fixed workspaces on site, ensure they are away from other people, high traffic areas and amenities.
- Staggering of lunch breaks, start times and finish times to minimise any larger gatherings of workers
- If a large part of the project needs to be undertaken requiring larger numbers of workers i.e. formwork, schedule for only that task to be undertaken on that day or within a specific time frame.
- Where none of this is possible encourage good hygiene practices as outlined above.
- Do not hold or allow employees to attend non-essential indoor gatherings of 100 or more people such as, large inductions, toolbox talks, conferences, training or celebrations.
- Cancel non-essential activities such as domestic business travel and large face-to-face meetings.
- Encourage flexible working arrangements including working from home and working in smaller teams.
- Where possible schedule teams of workers to work separately, at different times or on separate parts of the project.
- Limit any unnecessary visitors to the site, e.g sales staff, office staff, family members or clients.
Using Personal hoists and lifts
- Limit numbers in hoist to allow for social distancing – taking into account the hoist operator
- Persons should face away from each other whilst riding in the hoist
- Travel directly to necessary floors – make more trips and reduce numbers of persons in hoist/ lift at any one time
- Promote use of stairs for those tasks which don’t require carrying of large equipment/ material – monitor overuse
- Schedule times for the use of the hoist i.e. for specific tasks, trades or for cleaning times.
- Avoid large congregations of workers waiting for the hoist at entry points – promoting the principals of social distancing, stagger start times and mealtimes will assist with this
- Rotate hoist operators at regular intervals
- Regularly clean the hoist, including handrails and operators controls
- Provide hand sanitiser in hoists.
Communicate and keep up to date
- Keep staff informed of the actions you are taking.
- Communicate continually with your clients and other stakeholders to ensure they are also informed of any new policies and procedures you have put in place
- Promote preventive actions amongst your staff - lead by example.
- Actively encourage sick employees to stay home.
- Plan for increased levels of staff absences.
- Display educational materials
- Plan for what to do if staff arrive sick at work and communicate this to the workers - e.g. who do they need to contact, identify an isolation room or separated area.
- keep up to date with advice on controls to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including any restrictions on normal business activities, and respond accordingly
Keeping you and your workers safe and healthy
- Provide and promote sanitisers for use on entering workplaces, after eating, after using the bathroom, after sharing equipment and regularly throughout the day.
- Limit the sharing of tools and equipment. Where it is necessary to share equipment, provide gloves and/or sanitising products.
- Increase routine environmental cleaning of the workplace – amenities, high traffic areas, shared vehicles, machines or plant.
- Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces regularly, such as machines, plant control panels, stair rails, toilets and bathrooms, meal areas, office desks.
- Provide access to toilet paper, tissues and cleaning supplies.
- Where possible provide good ventilation, open windows, enhance airflow, adjust air conditioning.
- If change rooms are provided do not share items like towels and soap bars and wash your hands after changing.
- If providing food to workers, consider hygiene practices among food handlers and preparations.