The First Minister has announced today that the construction sector will be now be allowed to move to Phase 2 in its restart plan from today provided that businesses follow guidance on the safety and welfare of the workforce and the public. This will include work carried out in domestic properties. This announcement is in line with the industry-agreed six-step phased model for the return of the construction sector:
- Phase 0: Planning
- Phase 1: Covid-19 Pre-start Site prep
- Phase 2: ‘Soft start’ to site works (only where physical distancing can be maintained)
This phase begins when the site preparations are complete and when it is safe to do so in line with public health advice. It will consist of a progressive return of a proportion of the original workforce to ensure that extended inductions, including site tours to explain the new arrangements for hygiene and physical distancing, are able to be carried out.
The health and safety of the workforce is of paramount interest to the sector and there will be a phased return of a proportion of the workforce, brought back in “batches” to allow a high supervisor to worker ratio. This will allow extended inductions and site tours to familiarise the workforce with the new arrangements and allow time for those to become “the new normal.”
As explained above, the number of workers able to return will depend upon the space available on site (both external areas and floorplates, if a building) and the welfare facilities that have been provided. Contractors will have to adjust their site facilities and work planning to ensure that physical distancing requirements are able to be met at each stage. During this phase, due to the shortage of medical style PPE supply, only work that can be carried out within physical distancing parameters or using protective barriers, will be carried out. Risk assessment approaches will still be used to control the hazard of Covid-19 but if this shows that close working is still required and that protective barriers would be ineffective, that work will not be carried out until supplies of medical style PPE are restored to normal. This means that some tasks will not be able to be carried out, although the industry will make strenuous efforts to develop innovative ways of completing critical tasks, working within the new parameters.
- Phase 3: Steady state operation (only where physical distancing can be maintained)
- Phase 4: Steady state operation (where physical distancing can be maintained and/or with PPE use)
- Phase 5: Increasing density/productivity with experience
The latest announcement, moving to Phase 2 of the plan provides an opportunity for businesses to return to site work on a “soft-start” basis. It also allows businesses to undertake all forms of work in domestic properties.
Full details of the phased plan are available here.
Further details to support H&S are provided in the FIS H&S Toolkit Here. This includes specific site operating procedures for Scotland and excellent additional advice developed through the CICV Forum and the FIS COVID 19 H&S Task Group. FIS has also developed a Restart Risk Management Checklist for members here which has also been updated today in line with new advice available on what to do if a worker exhibits symptoms of COVID-19.