Covid-19

Re-Opening Sites after a Covid-19 Shutdown

May 27th 2020

Construction Sites Re-Opening

Many construction sites began re-opening at the beginning of May, after long and detailed discussions with Public Health England about maintaining a safe working environment. Whilst there will be a lot of focus on ensuring sites are ‘Covid-19’ secure upon re-opening, there are also a range of other considerations to be made when re-opening construction sites post-lockdown, and with other businesses.


Many of the steps involved in restarting work at these sites will include things such as ensuring social distancing measures can be maintained, increasing hygiene levels and staggering start times. The government has provided full guidance on implementing new safety standards on construction sites.


Social Distancing


Before employees can return to work, specific considerations need to be made regarding social distancing in the workplace. The objective is to keep a social distance of 2 metres at all times wherever possible. Where this is not possible, risks should be mitigated and if possible, the activity should not be completed.


Social distancing should be maintained at all times; throughout travelling to work, entering and exiting work as well as throughout the working day and during break times. Social distancing can be ensured by staggering working hours, keeping workstations 2m apart, moving chairs and tables in the canteen, working outdoors and placing markings on the floor. Where a suitable social distance cannot be maintained, working side-by-side or back-to-back is better than front facing, screens can help to separate people and handwashing should be completed frequently.


Hygiene Considerations


Upon returning to work, hygiene should be of paramount importance. A deep clean should be performed where necessary before businesses are reopened. Upon return, there should be additional hand-washing facilities and sanitising stations; particularly at places such as entrances and exits. Where social distancing is difficult to maintain, screens should be considered to avoid contamination.


Risk Assessment


Performing a risk assessment upon re-opening is essential; both in terms of Covid-19 and in general. Perform your risk assessment as usual but make sure to make additional considerations relating to Covid-19 including hygiene issues and social distancing requirements. Make sure to follow the governments ‘Covid-19 secure’ guidelines and maintain them throughout work.


Employee Wellbeing


One thing which has become apparent even more so throughout the coronavirus pandemic, particularly surrounding lockdown, is mental wellbeing. Many people have struggled with the isolation which has accompanied the lockdown situation, whilst others have struggled financially, and some may have anxiety about returning to work. Make sure to check in with employees regarding their mental wellbeing and ensure that they are happy to return to work; any health issues or concerns should also be discussed prior to their return and those who are vulnerable should remain at home if possible.


Check You’re Compliant


As always with opening a site and continuing work, you need to ensure you are compliant with relevant laws and legislation. This now includes complying with the governments ‘Covid-19 secure’ guidance. In addition, you will need to ensure you are compliant with fire safety regulations, electrical legislation and your water system procedures are followed before reopening to remain complaint.

About the Author

Lauren King

Lauren works in our Ecommerce Team, with over 6 years of experience at HSS. She brings product knowledge and is able to give her advice on the right tool for the job no matter how big or small.

You may also like

Managing a construction site during and after Covid

by hss-hire-uk

With millions of people working from home, Covid-19 has taken a toll on the future. Even with lockdown restrictions easing, coronavirus will continue to have an impact on the way we live and work. The construction industry has taken a hit during the pandemic. Sites could remain open during the crisis, however, the effects of social distancing, infection rate, a shortage of supplies and increased costs still affected the trade. Now more than ever, it is crucial that businesses and their employees take the necessary measures to keep everyone safe.

July Covid-19 Update: Lockdown Easing and PPE

by hss-hire-uk

Each month brings with it more and more easing of lockdown restrictions, and July is no different. In fact, this month we are seeing the biggest easing of restrictions yet, with these changes likely to have a direct impact on our industry, hopefully providing a well needed boost for the economy.

Looking Back at Lockdown: What Have Been the Effects on Construction?

by hss-hire-uk

As the UK looks to move into the next phase of re-opening the economy after lockdown, we want to take a look at how the changes over the last month, as well as the one’s which are coming next month, have affected the construction industry. Construction workers in England were allowed to start returning to work at the start of May, however since then there have been numerous changes across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland which either directly or indirectly impact the industry.

SUBSCRIBE TO HSS HIRE BLOG

Make sure you never miss out on our latest trade offers and news from HSS Hire Group. Sign up today.