The Construction Leadership Council has released the third version of its Site Operating Procedures guidance to protect construction workers during COVID-19
This Site Operating Procedures guidance is intended to introduce “consistent measures on construction sites of all types” and sizes in line with the government’s recommendations on social distancing.
The third version outlines ‘special circumstances’ where closer than 2 metres working may be essential to deliver a project.
The new guidance recommends that where close working cannot be avoided it should be limited to less than 15 minutes and workers should be side by side rather than face to face.
Guidance states: “Construction sites operating during the COVID-19 pandemic need to ensure they are protecting their workforce and minimising the risk of spread of infection. This includes considering how personnel travel to and from site.
“The health and safety requirements of any construction activity must not be compromised at this time. If an activity cannot be undertaken safely, it should not take place.
“Emergency services are also under great pressure and may not be able to respond as quickly as usual. This should be taken into consideration in the planning of work activities, first aid, fire and emergency responses.
“Organisations must have in place effective arrangements for monitoring and reviewing their compliance with Government and industry guidance. Sites should also remind the workforce at every opportunity of the Site Operating Procedures which are aimed at protecting them, their colleagues, families and the UK population.”
Travel to Work
The Site Operating Procedures outlines that workers should “travel to site alone using their own transport”. If workers have no option but to share transport:
- Journeys should be shared with the same individuals and with the minimum number of people at any one time
- Good ventilation (i.e. keeping the windows open) and facing away from each other may help to reduce the risk of transmission
- The vehicle should be cleaned regularly using gloves and standard cleaning products, with particular emphasis on handles and other areas where passengers may touch surfaces
Sites should consider:
- Parking arrangements for additional vehicles and bicycles
- Other means of transport to avoid public transport e.g. cycling
- Providing hand cleaning facilities at entrances and exits. This should be soap and water wherever possible or hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available
- How someone taken ill would get home
- Where public transport is the only option for workers, you should consider:
- Changing and staggering site hours to reduce congestion on public transport
- Avoid using public transport during peak times (05:45‐7:30 and 16:00‐17:30).
Driving at Work
When travelling at work or between site locations, workers should travel alone, the Site Operating Procedures advises. However, if workers have no option but to share a vehicle, then they should:
- Share with the same individuals and with the minimum number of people at any one time
- Wherever possible maintain a distance of two metres and avoid touching their faces
- Regularly clean the vehicle using gloves and standard cleaning products, with particular emphasis on handles and other surfaces which may be touched during the journey.
Site access and egress points
- Stop all non-essential visitors
- Consider introducing staggered start and finish times to reduce congestion and contact at all times
- Plan site access and egress points to enable social distancing – you may need to change the number of access points, either increase to reduce congestion or decrease to enable monitoring, including in the case of emergencies
- Allow plenty of space between people waiting to enter site
- Use signage:
- such as floor markings, to ensure 2 metre distance is maintained between people when queuing
- reminding workers not to attend if they have symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19) and to follow guidelines
- Remove or disable entry systems that require skin contact (e.g. fingerprint scanners) unless they are cleaned between each individual use
- Require all workers to wash their hands for 20 seconds using soap and water when entering and leaving the site
- Regularly clean common contact surfaces in reception, office, access control and delivery areas e.g. scanners, turnstiles, screens, telephone handsets and desks, particularly during peak flow times
- Reduce the number of people in attendance at site inductions and consider holding them outdoors wherever possible
- Where loading and offloading arrangements on site will allow it, drivers should remain in their vehicles. Where drivers are required to exit their vehicle, they should wash or sanitise their hands before handling any materials
- Consider arrangements for monitoring compliance.
The third edition of the Site Operating Procedure also offers guidance on handwashing, toilet facilities, canteens, changing facilities, planning to avoid close working, first aid and emergency response and cleaning.
You can access the full guidance here.