HSE inspection indicate how industry has stepped up
BuildUK reported to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee this week, within the report was the update that the HSE which has visited 4,300 construction sites, with 10% being sent written correspondence and just 2% being served with an Improvement Notice.
As lockdown starts to ease over the coming weeks it is vital now that industry continues to monitor and manage sites effectively.
An update on lockdown easing across the UK
The Scottish Government has confirmed that the current ‘Stay at Home’ order will be updated to ‘Stay Local’ from Friday 2 April and this will be in place for at least three weeks. From Monday 5 April, additional students (including those on engineering and construction courses) will be allowed to resume face‐to‐face learning at colleges, and those at greatest risk of not completing their courses will be prioritised. From Monday 26 April, all restrictions on travel within Scotland will be lifted and non‐essential work will be permitted to resume inside other people’s homes.
In England, the ‘Stay at Home’ order will be updated to ‘Stay Local’ from Monday 29 March with outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households permitted. Wales has already moved to ‘Stay Local’ restrictions and these will be lifted from Saturday 27 March. In Northern Ireland, the ‘Stay at Home’ provision will be removed from legislation on Monday 12 April.
Vital updates on workplace testing
You will hopefully have seen the news that all businesses can now apply to and benefit from free workplace testing (so long as you apply to join the scheme before 31st March).
One area that has reared its head in recent discussions is the need to review policy for individuals who have had the illness. Anyone who has previously received a positive COVID-19 PCR test result should not be re-tested within 90 days of that test, that is unless they develop any new symptoms of COVID-19. It is important to consider how this is managed, but there is a danger of false positives.
Finally on testing, questions have arisen around whether site admission can be refused if an individual refuses to test. Here we should look to the Health and Safety at Work Act, whilst you can’t force someone to test, your consideration is whether you are acting to protect your workforce and in so doing need to refuse admission to site.