The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has updated its information on face coverings following the manadotory use of them in areas of retail open to the public and on public transport, in taxis and private hire vehicles.
The guidance covers the use of face coverings on construction sites in response to coronavirus to help provide a consistent approach across the industry. It is based on Government guidance in England and other restrictions and advice may apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Face coverings should also be worn in other crowded and enclosed indoor places where people come into contact with others they don’t normally meet. As part of their risk assessment, employers should consider whether to ask workers to wear a face covering. Workers may also choose to wear a face covering where it is not legally required and should be supported to do so.
The use of face coverings and/or PPE is not required in response to coronavirus whilst carrying out construction activities.
A refreshed suite of guidance on managing COVID-19 within construction contracts has been published by the Business Model workstream of the Construction Leadership Council.
The updated documents now include revised information on future-proofing JCT / NEC amendments for new contracts to ensure that if circumstances change parties take a collaborative approach. The suite also provides templates to allow parties to formally record how they can avoid disputes.
The pandemic continues to have a significant impact on the construction sector. Industry has collaborated to address the challenges that have arisen, but concern remains that businesses and their clients could still be bogged down by expensive and lengthy disputes on the impact of the virus on projects.
• Updates and brings all guidance and corresponding templates into one place, in an easy-to-use navigable format for reference.
• Provides additional templates to allow parties to conclude their collaboration as a formal adjustment to their contracts.
• Provides a range of templates to support those at different stages of their contracts.
Commenting, Steve Bratt, Chair of the CLC’s Business Models Workstream said:
“Over the last eighteen months, the CLC has advocated for responsible and fair behaviour in both existing and future contractual arrangements to secure the long-term health of the construction industry.
“We supported companies and their clients by publishing extensive contractual guidance for COVID-19 which has been positively received.
“As our industry continues to recover, the CLC has reviewed, updated and added to the suite of contractual guidance helping those on the front line to Build Back Better.”
The guidance documents are available here
In light of rising COVID‐19 case numbers, Health Secretary Sajid Javid gave a press conference on Wednesday and urged people to get vaccinated and take precautions against the virus, including meeting outdoors, wearing masks in crowded enclosed spaces, and taking regular lateral flow tests. Whilst acknowledging that the pandemic is not over and the virus will be with us for the long term, he confirmed that the Government would not be moving to ‘Plan B‘ at this stage but would remain vigilant.
Construction sites should continue to minimise the risk of COVID‐19 and the Site Operating Procedures remain available as a reference document. There is also the Use of Face Coverings in Construction and sites may wish to maintain workplace testing programmes. The Build UK COVID‐19 flowchart is regularly updated on the actions to take if a worker has the virus or needs to self‐isolate, and FIS Associate Member Citation has published guidance for employers on the key questions to think about when developing and implementing a vaccination policy for staff.
The CICV Forum, in which FIS is actively involved, has produced an advice document offering a practical checklist that will help employers identify and help safety-critical workers who may be suffering from the ongoing effects of Long Covid.
Long Covid is a condition that, at the time of writing in October 2021, currently affects approximately 60,000 people in the UK – and numbers will inevitably continue to rise as we move through the pandemic. It is defined as “Signs and symptoms that develop during or following an infection consistent with COVID-19 which continue for more than 12 weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis.”
Sufferers can require practical, medical, and emotional support similar to that already offered by employers for conditions such as cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome (also known as ME) and diabetes..
As some of the symptoms of Long Covid could have an impact on safety-critical roles, it is important to consider any new conditions that may have developed. Health issues or conditions that affect an individual’s performance or present a risk of sudden incapacity could have serious consequences.
The practical checklist is available to download at https://cicvforum.co.uk/downloads/
HSE is continuing to carry out spot checks and inspections on all types of businesses, in all areas, to ensure they are working safely to reduce the risk of COVID.
During the spot checks, HSE provides advice and guidance to manage risk and protect workers, customers and visitors. However, where some businesses are not managing this, we will take immediate action.
This can range from providing specific advice, issuing enforcement notices, and stopping certain work practices until they are made safe. Where businesses fail to comply, this could lead to prosecution.
HSE recently prosecuted a construction contractor following a spot inspection.
Working to manage the transmission of COVID means businesses need to conduct a risk assessment to understand the measures they may require to protect workers and others. Further information is available on working safely during the pandemic.