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Construction and other outdoor workers – maintaining social distancing

Updated: 2 days ago

As the lockdown restrictions on businesses are slowly eased, the Government has published guidance to assist construction and other outdoor workers returning to work.


This guidance applies to many workers in different industries:

  • Construction

  • Energy and utilities

  • Farming and agriculture

  • Forestry

  • Waste management and other infrastructure

  • Railway services

  • Street and highway services


Businesses should familiarise themselves with the contents of the guidance as it will assist them to reopen work spaces in a way that is safe for both employees and members of the public and help to avoid a rise in infections.


Social distancing


Social distancing should be applied wherever possible, but where it cannot be applied, for whatever reasons, employers should consider the following mitigating actions to reduce the risk of transmission:

  • Increasing frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning.

  • Keep activity time as short as possible.

  • Use screens or barriers to separate workers from each other.

  • Use back-to-back or side-to-side working wherever possible.

  • Reduce contact with others by fixed teams or partnering.


Arrivals and departures


When entering and departing the work space, employers should try to put these measures in place:

  • Stagger arrival and departure times to reduce congestion.

  • Provide additional parking facilities such as car parks or bike racks to help people to run, walk, cycle, or drive to work where possible to avoid public transport.

  • Limit passengers in corporate vehicles by leaving intervening seats empty.

  • Reduce congestion by having more entry points.

  • Use a one-way flow system at entry and exit points.

  • Provide hand washing facilities at entry and exit points.

  • Provide alternatives to touch-based entry systems.

  • Bring in alternatives processes such as showing a pass to a security guard at a distance rather than them physically touching it.


Moving around buildings and work sites


Social distancing should be maintained wherever possible and employers should try to implement these steps to facilitate this:

  • Reduce movement and discourage non-essential trips across building sites.

  • Reduce job and equipment rotation.

  • Implement one-way systems to move around the workplace.

  • Use signs to mark out two-metre distancing to control the flow of people throughout the site.

  • Reduce vehicle occupancy for moving around site.

  • Separate sites into working zones to keep different groups of workers separate.

  • Planning site access and ‘area of safety’ points to allow social distancing.

  • Reduce the number of people at site inductions and hold them outdoors wherever possible.

  • Regulate the use of high-traffic areas e.g. corridors and lifts.


Ensuring safety for employees who work statically


Workstations should allow workers to comply with social distancing measures wherever possible. The stations should be assigned to individuals, and where they have to be shared then it should be between the smallest number of people possible.


If workers cannot be kept two metres apart then it should be considered whether or not it is essential to carry out the tasks to allow the business to continue running, and if so, mitigating actions should be taken. These include:

  • Change layouts so people can work further away from each other.

  • Where the layout cannot be changed, arrange people so they can work side-by-side or facing away from each other.

  • Where workstations cannot be moved further apart, use screens to separate people.

  • Use a pairing system if two people have to work in proximity, such as for lifting or maintenance activities that cannot be redesigned.


Meetings


To reduce the risk of transmission, employers should consider implementing these steps:

  • Reduce meeting attendees to those absolutely necessary.

  • Avoid sharing pens and other items during the meeting.

  • Provide hand sanitiser in meeting rooms.

  • Hold meetings outdoor or in well-ventilated rooms wherever possible.

  • Use remote working tools to avoid face-to-face meetings.

  • In regular meeting areas, use signs to show social distancing rules.


Common areas


To maintain social distancing in common areas, employers should try to use these measures:

  • Staggering break times to reduce pressure on break rooms or places to eat.

  • Use safe outdoor areas for breaks.

  • Create additional space by using other parts of the workplace which are free due to remote working.

  • Reconfigure seating arrangements and layout to reduce face-to-face interactions.


Accidents and safety


In emergencies, such as fire, accident, or break-in, people do not have to stay two metres apart if it would be unsafe. People who are involved with assisting others should pay particular attention to sanitation measures immediately afterwards.

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Looking for more advice or guidance on this matter, or any other business-related issue?

rradarstation gives you 24/7 access to guidance, videos and on demand webinars answering frequent questions and downloadable templates to use in the day-to-day running of your business, each written and verified by our legal professionals. You will find the answers you are looking for at rradarstation.