Engineering bodies step up safety guidance ahead of ‘freedom day’

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engineering safety guidance, construction

The BESA and ECA have joined forces to produce guidance for members and the wider industry, alongside a warning that the pandemic has ‘still not relaxed’

This updated advice draws on the expertise of more than 30 health and safety practitioners from the construction and related sectors combined with the latest government guidelines to help employers keep their operatives and members of the public safe.

Although the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has announced that its Site Operating Procedures (SOPs) will no longer be mandatory from July 19, BESA and the ECA are still urging caution.

The new publication ‘BESA/ECA Health and Safety Guidance Notes and Support for COVID 19’ will help employers navigate the next few months, according to the two bodies. It contains nine separate pieces of guidance designed to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in workplaces.

It covers travel arrangements, working on-site and continues to reflect the latest version of the SOPs. There is also guidance on how employers should plan activities to avoid unnecessary proximity (less than 2m) and carry out risk assessments.

Communication is a key part of this planning with employers urged to consult their workforces and remind them of their responsibilities to themselves, colleagues, and the public.

The online BESA Academy embedded a series of mandatory SOP questions into the SKILLcard application process making it a requirement for anyone wanting to work on site.

Common sense ‘should prevail’

BESA’s head of health and safety Becky Crosland, said: “Removing legal requirements does not mean it makes sense to immediately drop all the measures that have kept people safe over the past year.

“Common sense should prevail, and we expect most sites will choose to retain a number of voluntary measures including risk assessment, the wearing of face coverings and social distancing wherever possible.”

Paul Reeve, ECA’s director or CSR and public affairs, added: “Many in construction and wider services sectors are increasingly looking beyond 19 July to 16 August.

“The government announced that, from that date, double vaccination will begin to provide exemption from having to self-isolate.

“Many in the industry would like the 16 August date brought forward, even in the face of the practical difficulties. These range from how to encourage workers to achieve double vaccination, to the implications of government advice that workers should take a PCR test following a ‘Covid positive ping.”

To access the new free guidance visit here.

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