Site Operating Procedures Version 7 Released

The way you manage Covid-19 risk on a construction site has changed with the release of the Site Operating Procedures version 7.

Post Update: Covid advice for the construction sector is accessible from Build UK, the Construction Leadership Council and several other industry bodies.  Please read our post regarding this as it is now more up to date that this post.

The Construction Leadership Council updated their Site Operating Procedures to Version 7 on the 7th of January 2021.

The changes are:

  • The specific requirement for face coverings in specified areas of a site
  • A statement regarding local authority restrictions
  • Confirmation that workplaces should be Covid secure for workers who cannot work from home

Face Coverings on a Construction Site

The definition of a face covering is stated as: “Face Coverings are made from fabric or cloth and cover the mouth and nose to protect others, not the user, from infection. They are not PPE as they do not protect people from work-related hazards and are not made to a recognised standard”

This definition is taken from The Use of Face Coverings in Construction during Coronavirus (COVID-19) issued by the Construction Leadership Council on the 29th of September 2020.  The full document can be viewed here.

The document continues to outline that operatives must wear a face covering:

  • In an enclosed space
  • Where social distancing isn’t always possible
  • When coming into contact with others that they do not normally meet

Stay up to date with Site Operating Procedures version 7

What you Need to Do to comply with the Site Operating Procedures version 7:

  • Update your induction file to include the new face covering requirements
  • Brief operatives regularly on the actions they must take to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19
  • Place signage on the door of areas where face coverings must be worn
  • Check regularly that operatives are compliant with the requirements and take action when they are not

And don’t forget…

Planning works and breaks so operatives are not mixing is more effective than everyone wearing face coverings.  Elimination is better than Mitigation.

Local Authority Restrictions

The requirement for social distancing in general is reinforced in Version 7 of the Site Operating Procedures for Construction Work.

“Workers should maintain a distance of two metres, or one metre with risk mitigation where two metres is not viable”

The fact that construction work can continue is reinforced but this statement is backed up with the requirement to comply with Local Authority Restrictions.  At the time of writing this post, each nation has it’s own country wide specific requirements.  I presume that this statement has been made to cover the event of regional restrictions being re-introduced.

What you Need to Do

Ensure all operatives are maintaining a two-metre distance at all times.

If two-metres is not possible, the task must be risk assessed and face coverings must be worn with a distance greater than one-metre being maintained.

And don’t forget…

Social distancing applies EVERYWHERE – Plots, Canteen, Walking up the Site, Offloading Deliveries

Working from Home

Construction workers are classed as essential workers and employers must consider whether working at home is possible.  A great example of this is office staff.  Do they need to be in the office to fulfil their duties?  If they do, do they need to be in the office every day?  Would one day in the office suffice?  This would reduce potential exposure to the virus quite considerably and would also prevent multiple staff having to self-isolate in the event of a positive case being identified in the workplace.

For the workers who cannot work from home, the Construction Leadership Council have re-iterated that the workplace must be COVID-SECURE.  The CITB have produced a Covid-Secure questionnaire which should be undertaken weekly to make sure standards are not slipping.  You can download the questionnaire here.

What you Need to Do

Make sure you meet the COVID-SECURE Requirements by completing the CITB Covid-Secure Questionnaire weekly and taking action to keep standards Covid-Secure.

And don’t forget…

  • Update your COVID-19 Risk Assessment to meet Version 7 of the Construction Leadership Council Site Operating Procedures.
  • Obtain updated COVID-19 Risk Assessments from your subcontractors.

If you need help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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