In the latest review of the UK’s lockdown measures, a three-step road map to recover has been unveiled by the Prime Minster.
As every industry is affected by Covid-19 the construction sector has been particularly hard hit, with lockdown estimated to cost the sector £237m per day. But there is hope in sight, with the phased approach to get builders back to work offering more flexible hours and the option to work later in the evening or at the weekend.
With housing developments and major infrastructure projects being given the green light, the construction industry takes those crucial first steps to recovery.
So how will working on a construction site change in the new normal? First and foremost, social distancing. Something we should all be used to by now must make it onto sites, it is key for all public health and to reduce the spread of infection.
One question still remains for the government and that is surrounding PPE. In the briefing document from Prime Minister Boris Johnson it states ““When managing the risk of Covid-19, additional PPE beyond what you usually wear is not beneficial. This is because Covid-19 is a different type of risk to the risks you normally face in a workplace, and needs to be managed through social distancing, hygiene and fixed teams or partnering, not through the use of PPE.”
Given the severity of Covid-19, especially with construction being one of the worst-hit professions in the UK according to the Office of National Statistics, heading back to work with no PPE can be cause for concern. Should your construction site risk assess and determine that PPE is needed to stop infection, it must be provided to workers for free.
There are steps to be taken for safe working on construction sites, mostly boiling down to hygiene and normal social distancing rules.
Workers should all be washing hands thoroughly and avoiding touching their face covering as to not contaminate it. All washable material should be cleaned regularly with disposable protection put in usual waste bins. And of course, practice social distancing wherever possible. It’s no secret that the effects of lockdown will change how we work but with these simple to follow steps the construction sector can get back to work safely. And as a backbone of the UK economy, this has to happen sooner rather than later.