Despite the widespread disruption to the construction sector caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, by implementing official guidance, collaborating with our clients and suppliers and applying common sense, we have been able to continue to operate.
At the outset of the lockdown in March 2020 our Health & Safety Team undertook an extensive desk study to identify and evaluate official guidance from a variety of sources such as the Construction Leadership Council, Homes & Communities Agency, Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and via our membership of sector-specific trade bodies such as the Asbestos Removal Contractors Association (ARCA) and the National Federation of Demolition Contractors (NFDC).
We combined this with a series of company-wide risk assessments of all aspects of our work from office environments to field and site locations across all disciplines. This investigative process enabled us to devise new procedures that allow us to continue work while protecting the safety of our staff, clients, suppliers, residents and the public, which included the following measures:
- Updated procedure should staff members feel unwell
- Applying fixed-team partnering where possible
- Social distancing
- Minimising use of public transport
- Use of PPE (face coverings, gloves, coveralls)
- Infection control (regular surface cleaning, use of disinfectant handwash/sanitisers)
- Staggered start times (where possible)
- Restricted site entry to essential personnel
These suite of measures to reduce the likelihood of cross-infection were and continue to be communicated to our workforce via email bulletins, site induction training, RAMS, toolbox talks, site posters and a series of booklets and leaflets circulated to all staff.
We also collaborated with clients and other contractors to identify measures that would enable us to continue to operate safely on active sites. For example, work was halted for four weeks in March 2020 on our demolition at the Euston site for HS2, while risk assessments were carried out and new safe working methods developed and implemented in conjunction with the Principal Contractor Costain Skanska JV. By restructuring the sequence of works and employing social distancing on-site, by staggering shifts and creating more site parking to reduce the use of public transport, we were able to re-start works safely in April 2020.
Our Health & Safety team continue to monitor the latest guidance from official and trade sources to refine our process and procedures and keep Clifford Devlin operating safely throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.