Michael Donoghue, is Commercial Director at Warrington-based Emerald Bay Construction and talks about ensuring construction site safety during Covid 19

At Emerald Bay Construction, Health and Safety is our top priority on every project we undertake.

From start to finish the safety of our staff, contractors and customers is paramount. We have an impeccable record. And since the Coronavirus outbreak even more stringent safety and protective measures are now in place.

Indeed, we took the decision to completely suspend work on many of our sites during lockdown rather than take any unnecessary risks.

It is Government advice that construction workers in England should travel to work if their construction site is open and they cannot work from home.

On site, social distancing has to be strictly adhered to but where not practicable, employers need to implement the thorough and stringent measures set out in the fourth Covid-19 construction Site Operating Procedure (SOP) published in May.

Measures include:

  •  Introducing one-way flow-through areas and floor markings to maintain social distancing (where possible). Minimising the number of unnecessary visits to the worksite. Where site visits are required, making sure customers, visitors and contractors understand how to maintain safety.
  •  Maintaining social distancing and avoiding surface transmission when goods enter and leave the site.
  •  Sharing the results of risk assessments with the workforce.
  •  Ensuring workers who have symptoms or who live with others who have symptoms stay at home and are tested under the Government’s test and trace service.
  •  Keep face-to-face contact to 15 minutes or less. It also states that currently workplaces should not encourage the precautionary use of extra PPE to protect against COVID-19 unless a risk assessment shows it is required.
  •  Both employers and contractors (in their dealings with their sub-contractors) should also be looking at what alternative site arrangements can be put into place. Possible steps include varying shift patterns (to minimise the numbers of workers on site and also, particularly in London and metropolitan areas, to enable workers to commute off-peak), changing works programmes with a view to preventing trades working too close to each other and altering the location of rest areas.
  •  The Construction Leadership Council has provided a template letter which contractors can amend and issue to their workers to show that their travel to site is essential. All changes to site practices should be documented and effected in accordance with the contractual arrangements between the parties.

Our work on site is very different post Covid. But we have every measure that we can in place to keep our workforce, visitors and clients safe and still ensure our dependable standards of project delivery at all our sites across the region.