This page provides news and resources relating to working on site during the Covid-19 pandemic. It will be updated as required to ensure information is current and easy to access.
The NASC has updated its Scaffolding Operations During the Covid-19 Pandemic Toolbox Talk. Version 3 can be downloaded here.
The updated toolbox talk mirrors revisions made to the Scaffolding Operations During the Covid-19 Pandemic guidance (available here). These revisions concern mainly the ‘relaxed’ social distancing rules which now allows 2m or 1m with risk mitigation measures where 2m is not viable and a few other (relatively minor) additional requirements contained within the CLC document ‘Site Operating Procedures – Protecting Your Workforce During Coronavirus (Covid-19) – Version 5’ and the latest Government guidance ‘Working safely during COVID-19 in construction and other outdoor work – Version 4’.
The Government has issued new guidance specifically about working in construction and in peoples homes.
These documents set out guidance on how to work safely and give practical considerations of how suitable measures can be applied in the workplace. They ‘mirror’ the current editions of the CLC’s SOP and the NASC guidance, but contain more detail on the precautions to be taken, especially regarding the requirements for risk assessment, protecting people who are at higher risk, practical solutions for social distancing, PPE and work related travel.
Whilst this document provides non statutory guidance, it is likely that the HSE will take appropriate actions, which could include enforcement notices, to improve the control of workplace risks, where implemented controls are felt to be lacking.
Whilst it is appreciated that a number of requirements contained within these documents are essentially the responsibility of the Client or the Principal Contractor, if you have recently returned to work or are intending to do so in the near future, it important that you read these documents and ensure that any requirements, applicable to yourselves, are appropriately implemented.
1: The NASC has published Issue 2 of the Scaffolding Operations During the Covid-19 Pandemic Toolbox Talk. Download it free here.
2: As part of the Government’s five-pillar strategy for Coronavirus testing, scaffolding contractors – under the umbrella of ‘construction workers’ – who have Coronavirus-like symptoms can apply to be tested to see if they currently have the infection. Employers can also refer their employees for testing.
You can select a regional test site drive-through appointment or home test kit. Home test kit availability will initially be limited but more will become available. More here.
The NASC has today published detailed Covid-19 guidance to assist the scaffolding industry in operating in compliance with current safety guidelines. Click on the image below to download or by clicking here.
The document, titled Guidance for Scaffolding Operations During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic, provides a broad range of advice scaffolding contractors might wish to adopt to help safeguard the health and welfare of their workforce.
New / revised risk assessments may involve enhanced site cleaning measures, changes to site organisation, new working arrangements and regular staff briefings.
It is available for free download here.
Robin James, NASC Managing Director, said: “Scaffolding contractors – as part of the construction industry – have faced a significant challenge in recent weeks; continuing to operate where possible, as per the UK Government’s instruction, but also adhere to the Construction Leadership Council’s Site Operating Procedures (SOP) document.
“This latest NASC guidance is intended to help scaffolding contractors overcome this challenge. I’d like to thank NASC Council members and NASC staff for their hard work in producing this fluid guidance – taking it from an initial concept to publication in less than a fortnight.
“We expect this document will need to be revised in line with any alterations made to the SOP document, Government advice or Public Health England guidance. As such, scaffolding contractors are advised to regularly check the NASC website or social media channels for any updates.”
Site Operating Procedures have been developed by Build UK and issued by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC). The CLC has confirmed that sites which cannot implement the Site Operating Procedures should not remain open. Version 3 of the Procedures have been published today (15/04).
Public Health England (PHE) guidance issued 7 April 2020
Social distancing in the workplace during coronavirus (COVID-19):
Tradespeople and working in people’s homes
Current Government advice is that construction can stay open, whether the work seems to be essential or not, but only if:
Conflicting advice seems to have been issued in Scotland, where some sites have understood that they must close. Construction workers, particularly in the access and scaffolding industry, have questioned whether it is possible to work and also apply social distancing.
The Secretary of State for Business was questioned on the issue of individuals going to work and not feeling safe to do so. He was very clear that, where work cannot be undertaken from home, people should go to work and employers must follow Government guidance and Site Operating Procedures (see below).
Arrangements are being made to help people to social distance while travelling to work, these include varying work times to reduce rush hour pressure on public transport.
The NASC issued a statement on 24 March 2020 calling on Main Contractors to recognise that in some situations work would not be able to continue. The document can be found here.
The NASC also issued a Risk Assessment Template Email for scaffolding contractors to send to clients to request site specific risk assessment information. The document can be found here.
Where the result of a risk assessment is that the employer decides to withdraw their workers from site, arrangements must be made to address the contractual issues which may arise from that decision. General Guidance on Contractual Issues has been issued by Build UK in conjunction with Wedlake Bell and can be found here.
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