The Construction Employers Federation (CEF) has announced that it has issued Return to Site Health & Safety Guidance for construction during the Covid-19 crisis.
The organisation said it has expended considerable effort in recent weeks on developing robust and clear guidance for healthy and safe working during the crisis, and that a Covid-19 Health and Safety Group was formed for the purpose, comprising of CEF members, senior health and safety professionals and representation from HSENI.
The Group has provided clear direction to the available best practice from Build UK/CLC guidance, which is endorsed by HSENI, and in addition has also compiled a selection of free resources to assist construction to operate healthily and safely in this new environment.
The online resources are freely available to all construction contractors, professionals and clients and be found on the CEF website here: https://www.cefni.co.uk/news/covid-19-safety-guidance.
CEF has urged all those engaged in the industry to take the time to fully understand and utilise the resources when preparing their own revised working practices before commencing a phased soft mobilisation back to sites.
Despite the new industry guidance now available for healthy and safe working, CEF has said that their message remains unchanged – if you cannot work safely following the guidance then do not work.
They also advised members to work safely within the evolving guidance and to liaise closely with staff and clients to ensure their understanding of the new procedures before returning to site. The advice was that clients must understand that adapting and complying with the new good practice has implications for productivity and cost, and that contractors should engage with clients to flag the expected costs and extended programmes inherent in adhering to the health and safety working guidelines relevant to each project. CEF has called on clients to be flexible and collaborative in agreeing revised programmes and budgets that incorporate the new ways of working.
With construction in NI playing a vital role to date in the fight against the spread of the virus and the support of essential services, CEF said it believes the industry shall continue to act responsibly with safety foremost in every decision and that it is seeking the full cooperation of contractors, supply chain, and clients across both the public and commercial sectors to deliver safe and quality work.
For more information on the published guidelines or on the Construction Employers Federation, please visit www.cefni.co.uk