Construction sites operating, COVID-19

Construction Site Operating Procedures

Construction sites operating during the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic need to ensure they are protecting their workforce and minimising the risk of spread of infection.
This guidance from the Construction Leadership Council is intended to introduce consistent measures on sites of all sizes in line with the Government’s recommendations on social distancing.
These are exceptional circumstances and the industry must comply with the latest Government advice on Coronavirus at all times. The health and safety requirements of any construction activity must also not be compromised at this time. If an activity cannot be undertaken safely due to a lack of suitably qualified personnel being available or social distancing being implemented, it should not take place.
We are aware that emergency services are also under great pressure and may not be in a position to respond as quickly as usual.
Sites should remind the workforce at every opportunity of the Site Operating Procedures which are aimed at protecting them, their colleagues, their families and the UK population.

If a site is not consistently implementing the measures set out below, it may be required to shut down.

Self-Isolation

Anyone who meets one of the following criteria should not come to site:

  • Has a high temperature or a new persistent cough – follow the guidance on self-isolation
  • Is a vulnerable person (by virtue of their age, underlying health condition, clinical condition or are pregnant)
  • Is living with someone in self-isolation or a vulnerable person.

Procedure if Someone Falls Ill

If a worker develops a high temperature or a persistent cough while at work, they should:

  • Return home immediately
  • Avoid touching anything
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue and put it in a bin, or if they do not have tissues, cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow.

They must then follow the guidance on self-isolation and not return to work until their period of self-isolation has been completed.

Travel to site

Wherever possible workers should travel to site alone using their own transport and sites need to consider:

  • Parking arrangements for additional cars and bicycles
  • Other means of transport to avoid public transport e.g. cycling
  • Providing hand cleaning facilities at entrances and exits. This should be soap and water wherever possible or hand sanitiser if water is not available
  • How someone taken ill would get home.

Site Access Points

  • Stop all non-essential visitors
  • Introduce staggered start and finish times to reduce congestion and contact at all times
  • Monitor site access points to enable social distancing – you may need to change the number of access points, either increase to reduce congestion or decrease to enable monitoring
  • Remove or disable entry systems that require skin contact e.g. fingerprint scanners
  • Require all workers to wash or clean their hands before entering or leaving the site
  • Allow plenty of space (two metres) between people waiting to enter site
  • Regularly clean common contact surfaces in reception, office, access control and delivery areas e.g. scanners, turnstiles, screens, telephone handsets, desks, particularly during peak flow times
  • Reduce the number of people in attendance at site inductions and consider holding them outdoors wherever
    possible
  • Drivers should remain in their vehicles if the load will allow it and must wash or clean their hands before unloading goods and materials.

Hand Washing

  • Provide additional hand washing facilities to the usual welfare facilities if a large spread out site or significant numbers of personnel on site
  • Ensure soap and fresh water is readily available and kept topped up at all times
  • Provide hand sanitiser where hand washing facilities are unavailable
  • Regularly clean the hand washing facilities and check soap and sanitiser levels
  • Provide suitable and sufficient rubbish bins for hand towels with regular removal and disposal.
  • Sites will need extra supplies of soap, hand sanitiser and paper towels and these should be securely stored.

Toilet Facilities

  • Restrict the number of people using toilet facilities at any one time e.g. use a welfare attendant
  • Wash hands before and after using the facilities
  • Enhance the cleaning regimes for toilet facilities particularly door handles, locks and the toilet flush
  • Portable toilets should be avoided wherever possible, but where in use these should be cleaned and emptied more frequently
  • Provide suitable and sufficient rubbish bins for hand towels with regular removal and disposal.

Canteens and Eating Arrangements

With cafés and restaurants having been closed across the UK, canteens cannot operate as normal. Whilst there is a requirement for construction sites to provide a means of heating food and making hot drinks, these are exceptional circumstances and where it is not possible to introduce a means of keeping equipment clean between use, kettles, microwaves etc. must be removed from use.

The workforce should also be required to stay on site once they have entered it and not use local shops.

  • Dedicated eating areas should be identified on site to reduce food waste and contamination
  • Break times should be staggered to reduce congestion and contact at all times
  • Hand cleaning facilities or hand sanitiser should be available at the entrance of any room where people eat and should be used by workers when entering and leaving the area
  • The workforce should be asked to bring pre-prepared meals and refillable drinking bottles from home
  • Workers should sit 2 metres apart from each other whilst eating and avoid all contact
  • Where catering is provided on site, it should provide pre-prepared and wrapped food only
    • Payments should be taken by contactless card wherever possible
    • Crockery, eating utensils, cups etc. should not be used
  • Drinking water should be provided with enhanced cleaning measures of the tap mechanism introduced
  • Tables should be cleaned between each use
  • All rubbish should be put straight in the bin and not left for someone else to clear up
  • All areas used for eating must be thoroughly cleaned at the end of each break and shift, including chairs, door handles, vending machines and payment devices.

Changing Facilities, Showers and Drying Rooms

  • Introduce staggered start and finish times to reduce congestion and contact at all times
  • Introduce enhanced cleaning of all facilities throughout the day and at the end of each day
  • Consider increasing the number or size of facilities available on site if possible
  • Based on the size of each facility, determine how many people can use it at any one time to maintain a distance of two metres
  • Provide suitable and sufficient rubbish bins in these areas with regular removal and disposal.

Avoiding Close Working

There will be situations where it is not possible or safe for workers to distance themselves from each other by 2 metres.

General Principles

  • Non-essential physical work that requires close contact between workers should not be carried out
  • Work requiring skin to skin contact should not be carried out
  • Plan all other work to minimise contact between workers
  • Re-usable PPE should be thoroughly cleaned after use and not shared between workers
  • Single use PPE should be disposed of so that it cannot be reused
  • Stairs should be used in preference to lifts or hoists
  • Where lifts or hoists must be used:
    • Lower their capacity to reduce congestion and contact at all times
    • Regularly clean touchpoints, doors, buttons etc.
  • Increase ventilation in enclosed spaces
  • Regularly clean the inside of vehicle cabs and between use by different operators.

Site Meetings

  • Only absolutely necessary meeting participants should attend
  • Attendees should be two metres apart from each other
  • Rooms should be well ventilated / windows opened to allow fresh air circulation
  • Consider holding meetings in open areas where possible.

Cleaning

  • Enhanced cleaning procedures should be in place across the site, particularly in communal areas and at touch points including:
    • Taps and washing facilities
    • Toilet flush and seats
    • Door handles and push plates
    • Hand rails on staircases and corridors
    • Lift and hoist controls
    • Machinery and equipment controls
    • Food preparation and eating surfaces
    • Telephone equipment
    • Key boards, photocopiers and other office equipment
  • Rubbish collection and storage points should be increased and emptied regularly throughout and at the end of each day.

Guidance taken directly from the Construction Leadership Council, published 23rd March 2020.

Safer Sphere Covid-19 Business Update

Following the government announcement of the planning for the Coronavirus pandemic on Friday 13th March. Safer Sphere confirms the following as the business policy and contingency plan amendment:

Timeline

  1. As of the 16th March we are entering the delay period. Schools, hospitals, colleges, retail and business are advised to operate as normal during this period, taking precautions where possible being vigilant.
  2. When and if the time comes and the government instigate the next stage of isolation including closing of schools, hospitals, etc, then we also as a business will fully isolate in accordance with our policy.
  3. Only when the government indicate the pandemic enters a stage of low risk shall we return to our normal business procedures and activities.

 

Preventative measures

  1. Should any member of staff or close family feel unwell, demonstrating the COVID-19 symptoms of constant cough, difficulty breathing or high temperature, they should not come to the Safer Sphere workplaces or that of any of our clients / projects. You should self-isolate in accordance with government guidance for a minimum of 7 days. Anyone showing the symptoms in our offices will be isolated in accordance with our emergency planning below.
  2. Personal hygiene is also an important preventative measure to curtail the spread of the disease. Please use the provided and appropriate hygiene facilities such hot water, soap, hand sanitiser and bins to dispose of used tissues. Workers are advised to maintain good hygiene standards around the workplace by following the latest advice from the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) website which includes the following basic protective measures:
    1. Wash your hands frequently with alcohol-based hand wash or wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
    2. Maintain social distancing- maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet distance) between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing
    3. Avoid touching eyes, mouth and nose
    4. Practice respiratory hygiene – Using the nearest waste receptacle to dispose of the tissue after use
    5. If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early. Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
    6. Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider. Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) has advised people to stay at home for 7 days if you have either a high temperature or a new, continuous cough.
  3. In the delay phase, staff should avoid business events or gatherings of large numbers of people in line with the government advice. This would include large networking, awards, conferences and other such events. This would not currently include site visits or meetings.
  4. However, should you or any of your family be considered vulnerable to COVID-19, for example the over 60’s and young children or immunosuppressed, then the company would fully support isolation in the delay phase.
  5. With immediate effect, no business travel abroad will be authorised until the Pandemic returns a low risk level to that country.
  6. If and when the isolation phase is instigated, the company operations shall cease at our premises and staff will not be permitted to visit any sites or project meetings.

 

Emergency planning

  1. Should someone in the workplace become ill with suspected COVID-19 on Safer Sphere premises, the individual will be isolated and contact be made with the local health authority. Isolation should be in separate rooms which for St. Helens and Liverpool Offices should be a meeting room. For Reading office please follow the Regus Office procedures. Following such a case the office in question would be closed for 7 days of isolation and a deep clean.
  2. Should someone become ill with suspected COVID-19 on a site or other employees premises, the staff member should follow the immediate policy of that premises / employer, if not available then aligned to our own. Safer Sphere should be notified ASAP of the incident in order that we can support you remotely with next steps.
  3. In the case of any isolations required as noted above in the delay or isolation stages the following would apply:-
    1. If you are not unwell, please continue to work from home. You and the company have access to the resources via laptops, phones, Microsoft 365 to continue working in remote isolation. It is likely our clients, partners and peers will be following similar principles so our work can largely continue. To communicate collectively we have Microsoft Teams so we can still follow meetings through.
    2. Should you be unwell other than COVID-19 then our normally sickness policy would prevail.
    3. Should you be sick or self-isolating unable to work, the government provision is that statutory sick pay is an entitlement from day 1 of COVID-19 related leave or non-working isolation.
  4. Clients and project teams should be notified if there are any isolations required in the delay phase. They should be informed by the persons immediate line manager and it be confirmed that as far as possible colleagues will support the project deliverables in the meantime.
  5. Under no circumstances should staff have any physical contact with any other members of staff under isolation. This would include prohibiting visits to pass on documents or other material, anything can be obtained electronically.
  6. If and when the isolation stage is instigated by government, all staff are to isolate working from home and all Safer Sphere premises will be closed.

Safer Sphere will continue to support our client’s projects and health and safety needs through any advised isolation period and will remain available through email, skype and mobile.

Cheetham Hill Retail Park, Principal Designer, Principal Designer Advisor, Retail Safety

Safer Sphere appointed on Cheetham Hill Retail Park scheme

Safer Sphere is delighted to have been appointed on 3 unit refurbishment and fit-out at Cheetham Hill Retail Park. The project will see the demolition of the existing mezzanine to be replaced with a larger mezzanine across the 3 units as well as a shopfront and internal fit-out works. We are supporting Pozzoni Architecture Limited on the project in the role of Principal Designer Advisor and the client in the role of CDM Client Advisor.

25 Trego Road, Hackney residential, Safer Sphere Hackney, Principal Designer Hackney

Safer Sphere appointed on 25 Trego Road scheme

Safer Sphere is delighted to have been appointed on the new 6-storey residential scheme at 25 Trego Road in Hackney. The scheme will see the development of 52 new homes and a new landscaped public open space. Safer Sphere is supporting the project in the role of Principal Designer Advisor to Ettridge Architecture Limited.

HARM Zero, Safer Sphere, Risk Register

Safer Sphere launches safety innovation ‘HARM Zero’

Safer Sphere has officially announced today that they are launching a new online software tool called ‘HARM Zero‘. The system facilitates design risk management on any construction project helping eliminate hazards, reduce and manage risks and ultimately avoiding any harm from the construction stage of a project right through to a building’s end-use.

The development of the live ‘Hazard And Risk Management’ register system as a significant enhancement on the traditional spreadsheet approach used to identify and manage risks in construction.

The system can be reviewed and updated in real-time, is Building Information Modelling (BIM) compatible and is the modern and innovative approach to managing safety in design.

Jonathan King, Director Safer Sphere said “We are delighted to officially announce the arrival of HARM Zero. This is the culmination of a number of years work, and we believe that this is a unique system with the potential to transform design risk management in the construction industry. HARM Zero will help to bring designers closer to the construction team and end-users through live risk registers offering improved communication through photos, drawings and safety-related reports. We are already using the system on some prestigious projects such as the Gateshead Quays Arena development and the new Old Trafford Cricket Ground stand and the feedback so far has been fantastic.”

Mike Forsyth, Managing Director, Safer Sphere said “A lot of time has been invested in the development of this system, and we are delighted to bring our vision to reality. To officially launch HARM Zero, we are negotiating with a select number of big names in construction who will be coming on board as partners and advocates for the system. These exclusive partners will have unlimited access to the system and will roll it out company-wide, so it is a very exciting time for us and them.”

Safer Sphere will provide a formal announcement of partners in due course.

Lancashire Cricket Group, CDM Lancashire, Emirates Old Trafford Cricket Stadium

Safer Sphere appointed on Emirate Old Trafford project

We are delighted to announce our appointment on the exciting Lancashire Cricket Ground Red Rose Stand and Hotel. The new 4,850-seat stand at Emirates Old Trafford that will make it the largest cricket ground outside of London. The hotel works will include an extension to the existing Hilton Garden Hotel, making the Emirate Old Trafford ground one of the largest cricket grounds and experiences in the country. Safer Sphere is acting in the role of Principal Designer Advisor to Chroma Consulting on the project which is part of the wider Civic Quarter master plan.

 

Safer Sphere turns 7, Safer Sphere Principal Designer, CDM Advisors

Safer Sphere reaches year 7

Safer Sphere is delighted to reach the young old age of 7 today as the business celebrates its 7th year in operation. We cannot believe how far we have come in such a short period of time including watching our team grow, opening more offices, winning numerous awards as well as working on some amazing projects.

A big thank you to our hard-working team and dedicated clients for your support.

Principal Designer, CDM 2015, Nando's safety, Nandos

Safer Sphere appointed on new Nando’s project

Safer Sphere is delighted to confirm that we have been appointed on the fit-out project for Nando’s at Walkden Retail Park. The project consists of the fit-out of the existing retail unit for the purpose of being a restaurant space. We have been appointed by Derwent Estates in the role of Principal Designer on the project which is due to complete at the end of this year.

Principal Designer Advisor, CDM Client Advisor, Bridge repair

Safer Sphere appointed on remedial bridge works

Safer Sphere is pleased to reveal our appointment on the remedial works on the WGIS Bridge. We are supporting the project in the roles of Principal Designer Advisor to Rossendale Group and CDM Client Advisor to Peel Land and Property through RIBA stages 5 and 6.

The works involve the installation of a remedial solution to the lifting mechanism to allow for tension to be kept on the ropes and also to stop the counterweights twisting with a set of rollers being installed.

 

Mansafe CDM15

Designing With a Mansafe in Mind

The Construction Industry is worth around £65 Billion (Investment Per Annum) to the UK`s GDP. This is a significant contribution but what is not always appreciated is that the cost of maintaining and repairing the resulting asset base which is approximately around £26 Billion. It is vital for clients to be provided with assets that may be safely (and economically) maintained and repaired, and effort should be expended in the early stages of a project to ensure that design deliberations extend to a consideration of the whole-life requirements of the facility.

The obligation to consider these matters is already enshrined in law, but it is often poorly reflected, and there is a lack of practical guidance. For many clients and designers, the concept of considering and planning for work that will be done on a facility, often long after its construction, represents nothing less than a cultural shift in work attitudes and thinking. The need for safe access for maintenance and repair in the main stems from the interrelated consideration of the statutory responsibilities of those involved, the ever-growing need for containment of cost, the management of risk in a comprehensive way, and corporate social responsibility, which encompasses sustainability. Those with the responsibility for managing the maintenance and repair of facilities are likely to find that the organisations who carry out this work, will in future increasingly demand adequate provision of safe access, or will price extra for suitable mitigating and controlling measures to compensate for shortfalls in provision. They have their own statutory obligations, so it is in everyone’s interest to get it right first time.

A difficult topic to consider is the implementation of a mansafe system, which comes in all sorts of varieties and makes and is usually shown on a concept drawing by an Architect or Designer, but is this correct? Is it too early in the design to show this system and is the Architect the correct person to design this system?

So what is a mansafe system?

Mansafe systems

Personal Fall Prevention Systems are commonly known in the construction industry as ‘mansafe systems’ and are used to keep the operative safe by connecting them to the system using appropriate PPE. The system comprises cable, post and fixings that are tested to take the fall of the user. These usually take the form of a fall arrest system or a fall restraint system.

Some designers don’t always look at the whole picture i.e. the work at height hierarchy (see Fig 1),

Mansafe CDM15

Figure 1

There is PPE in the explanation of the meaning of a mansafe system but looking at the hierarchy system we have instantly jumped a number of steps. There should be a reason for that and when designing any building we have to design with safety in mind and therefore we have to look at these steps before we say yes to a mansafe system. So, imagine we have looked at the design and established we are going to design a mansafe system, what do we know or understand about the system?

There is a wide range of systems out in the market, but is it a one size fits all scenario? No of course not, there are lots of things to take into consideration.

Under CDM 2015 we should only engage competent designers and people who are experienced in the task at hand, and with all design work, there is a number of standards and legal documents to adhere to, but do you know what they are? There are a number of regulations that need to be considered before we put pen to paper, these regulations are:

  • Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • Working at Height Regulations 2005
  • Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
  • Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998
  • Provision and use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
  • PPE Regulation (EU) 2016/425 1stEdition April 2018

And then when we start the design, we need to refer to the following:

  • BS8560:2012 +A1:2018– Codes of practice for the design of buildings incorporating safe work at height
  • BS7883:2005 (soon to be 2019)– Personal fall protection equipment – Anchor systems – System design, installation and inspection – Code of practice
  • BS EN795:1997 & 2012– Personal fall protection equipment — Anchor devices
  • BS8610:2017– Personal fall protection equipment – Anchor systems – Specifications
  • PD CEN/TS 16415:2013– Personal fall protection equipment — Anchor devices — Recommendations for anchor devices for use by more than one person simultaneously
  • BS EN 365:2004– Personal protective equipment against falls from height – General requirements for maintenance, periodic examination, repair, marking and packaging
  • BS8437:2005– Codes of practice for the selection, use and maintenance of fall protection systems and equipment for use in the workplace
  • BS7985:2013– Code of practice for the use of rope access methods for industrial purposes – Recommendations and guidance supplementary to BS ISO 2284
  • IRATA International code of practice for industrial ropeaccess– (Third Edition Published July 2014)

Considerations Associated With Installing a Mansafe System

There is an increasing amount of mansafe systems that are not fit for use when installed and these figures are on the rise. We must recognise that a mansafe system is not just a steel rope that attaches to the roof of a building where an operative can hook on and can walk around the building. So, what do we need to look at in regards to the design for a mansafe system?

A new British Standard is due to be released that will help clarify what is required, this new role will call for a System Designer. Regulation 9 & 10 of the CDM Regulations 2015 call for the following:

Regulation 9 and 10 set out the duties placed on designers. These include the duty to eliminate, reduce or control foreseeable health and safety risks through the design process, such as those that may arise during construction work or in maintaining and using the building once it is built.

System Designer: Person with overall responsibility for the design of the anchor system, including certification and handover documentation. This includes the initial risk assessment. The new BS Standard will be BS7883:2019

Personal fall protection equipment – Anchor systems – System design, installation and inspection – Code of practice

This document will list out more design checks and supporting documents to give full accountability for the designed system.

System design specification:  Output documentation resulting from the design process which specifies the anchor system(s) to be installed, how and where they are to be installed and any criteria necessary for their safe access and use.

System technical file documentation:Supplied to the duty holder on completion of the installation by the system designer, to be retained for future reference for the life of the personal fall protection system(s) installed

When designing the configuration of an anchor system, the system designer should avoid over-complex systems whilst maintaining the appropriate level of safety and which:

  1. Give access to all required areas without the need:
  • to disconnect and reconnect to the system;
  • for adjustable personal fall protection equipment;
  • for anti-pendulum anchor devices, if possible;
  1. requires an increased level of user training, competency and supervision (appropriate training is necessary for all users);
  2. c) uses the appropriate personal fall protection equipment to minimize the fall risk without adding complexity.

Legal Obligations

The system designer should:

  • ensure that the anchor system is designed, assembled and installed so that it is safe and without risks to health at all times when it is being used, maintained or inspected;
  • research and ensure that the testing of the products being used to assemble the anchor system is adequate for the intended application;
  • carry out or arrange for the carrying out of such testing that may be necessary to ensure compatibility between assembled parts of the anchor system;
  • carry out or arrange for the carrying out of such on-site testing that may be necessary to prove the integrity of the base material in which the anchor system is to be installed where such integrity is in doubt;
  • not attempt to design an anchor system without knowing what PFPE is to be connected;
  • take such steps as are necessary to ensure that the duty holder is provided with adequate information about the use for which the anchor system is designed and tested and about any conditions necessary to ensure that it will be safe and without risks to health, including when it is being dismantled or disposed of; and
  • take such steps as are necessary to ensure that the duty holder is provided with all such revisions of information that would otherwise give rise to a risk to health or safety.

As well as the legal obligations the system technical file should contain a variety of details, the system technical file should as a minimum contain:

1          Companies involved and relationship

2          Manufacturers & Supplier List

3          Specification / Scope

4          Access Strategy

5          Risk Assessments

  • Design
  • Installation
  • Inspection

6          Delivery Notes

7          Certificate of Conformities

8          Drawings

9          Product & Component List

10        Method Statements

11        Site Commissioning Documents

12        Quality Control Documents

13        Operating and User Instructions

14        Inspection & Maintenance Information

15        Modifications & Major Repairs

No matter what the project is the design stage is the first opportunity for early prevention and trough good design and provision of suitable access, cleaning, maintenance, and replacement strategy information the cost of future operation and maintenance of a building can be significantly reduced for years to come.

 

Have a question?

If you would like to speak to us about any of our CDM services, then our team would be happy to help.