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Health and Safety Guidelines for the Construction Industry in 2021

Posted by Cathy Houghton at

The past year has been challenging for anyone working in the construction industry, with many projects stopping and starting due to lockdown restrictions. While you are probably well aware of the everyday health and safety guidelines you must follow, regular communications and regulations don’t consider the impact of a pandemic on the industry. Today we’re going to share with you the key health and safety guidelines on construction industry sites that you will need to follow when returning to work in 2021. 

Health and Safety Guidelines for the Construction Industry in 2021

Social Distancing 

In situations where you cannot limit the number of staff in your workplace, you’ll need to ensure they are adhering to social distancing guidelines at all times. The guidance was updated to 1 metre or more for construction sites in England, however, if you are elsewhere in the UK, ensure you check your current local guidance. Of course, where possible, try to stick to a distance of 2 metres or more between employees. When considering social distancing measures, think about how your team will safely travel around their workplace. If your workplace requires team members to travel between buildings or sites, ensure they can maintain social distancing during this time. Also, consider how social distancing may increase the potential for accidents and incidents in your workplace, which should be noted as part of your risk assessment. 

Staff on Construction Sites 

While not always possible in the construction industry, current coronavirus restrictions on construction workplace settings suggest minimising your staffing where possible. Consider who needs to be on your site each day, and who could continue working from home. Anyone who is not involved in manual labour could still work from home, and just visit the site as needed. Whether your staff are working from home or on-site, ensure their physical and mental well-being is always looked after. This is an incredibly trying time for everyone, and you want to ensure you have clear regulations set out for your team in case they are feeling unwell. Ensure your team know not to come to work if they have any symptoms of COVID-19 and that they get tested immediately. 

Visitors to Construction Sites 

Visitors should be kept to a minimum on construction sites currently, to avoid risking the spread of COVID-19. However, if you have any essential site visitors or contractors, ensure their numbers are limited each day. They should be made aware of your social distancing protocols on-site, and be briefed upon their arrival. Ensure you have adequate hand washing facilities available to minimise the risk of illness within your team. 

PPE 

On top of your regular Portwest overalls and gloves, you will now need to start providing face masks for your team to wear each day. If you are already wearing respiratory masks, you may need to provide a separate set of masks for use outside hazardous environments. These masks need to cover your nose and mouth and are ideal for walking between work sites and using in rest areas. Of course, all other PPE regulations should still be taken into account, and you should still be providing your team with Portwest workwear and PPE equipment as before. 

Daily Cleaning Procedures 

Cleaning and sanitising have now become part of our daily life, and as coronavirus can remain on surfaces for days at a time, it’s essential to wipe down high touch areas daily. If you are working on a site where hundreds of people are passing through, this should even be increased to an hourly cleaning schedule. Ensure you use effective cleaning solutions designed to kill germs, and that your cleaning procedures are included as part of your risk assessment. 

Scheduling 

When your team return to work, it is unlikely that your previous shift patterns will be suitable for use with the current social distancing measures. Of course, with limited hours of daylight each day, you may have to get creative with your schedules, to avoid overcrowding on your site. Over the upcoming months, it’s likely that at some point, one or more of your team members will need to isolate or will test positive for coronavirus. Keep this in mind when you are creating schedules and shift rotations, as it will help you follow construction site safety rules and regulations properly. 

While many construction sites have already returned to work successfully, it’s crucial to keep in mind the suggestions listed above for the upcoming year. Keep your team up to date on current coronavirus restrictions on construction workplace sites, to ensure they are aware of the procedures that you have put in place. This will help minimise the spread of illness within your workplace, which could potentially cause severe disruptions to your projects. 

Reference video: Enterprise Recruitment


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