Working in the ‘new normal’ – guidelines for site workers
Construction companies are one of the many business types hit hard by the Covid-19 outbreak. With weeks of lockdown and stringent social distancing rules in place, many sites have stopped working or are operating on extremely reduced staff – but, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The Government has announced a gradual reduction in lockdown rules, including getting construction workers back on site. So, how can you get back to work safely?
Assess the situation
Before you even think about grabbing your boots and heading to the site, think about your own circumstances. Are you and your immediate household well? Guidelines still require that anyone showing symptoms (that’s a new cough and/or a high temperature) should self-isolate for 7 days, so keep that in mind. It’s also worth speaking with your foreman or site manager – if you don’t need to be on-site for it to operate, it may still be safer for you to stay at home.
Distancing is still key
The 2-metre rule – i.e. staying 2 metres apart from other people as much as possible – is still very much in operation, so it’s important to bear that in mind during your time on-site. Avoid cramped canteens, sharing machinery cabs where at all possible, and try to work in a way which minimises any close contact with your colleagues. It may not always be possible or practical, depending on the job, but as the ‘new normal’ is here to stay for some time, it’s good practice to try and make social distancing part of your working day in the same way that wearing the right PPE would be. Work in small teams that don’t mix with one another, avoid skin-to-skin contact and try to use stairs rather than enclosed spaces such as lifts or hoists where possible.
Keep it clean
Most of us are well-versed in the need to keep surfaces sanitised to reduce infection risk by now. But it can be easy to forget when you’re amongst the hustle and bustle of a busy refurbishment, or on deadline to finish a fit-out. The main thing to remember is to wash your hands regularly (or, if that’s not possible, use hand sanitiser), but other small changes might help lower your risk of infection too. Whether it’s not sharing tools or cleaning the inside of cabs regularly (and especially between different operators), you’ll be helping keep yourself and your colleagues safe.
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