With workplaces throughout the UK closing offices and operating remotely to prevent further spread of COVID-19, many construction sites are remaining open – despite growing concern from workers and members of the public.
The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) says that during this time of national crisis, in order to best protect the safety, health and wellbeing of workers and the wider public, only essential construction work designed to help save lives should continue at this time.
Richard Jones, IOSH Head of Policy and Public Engagement, said: “Saving lives must come first. At this time of national crisis, IOSH supports employers deciding that only essential construction work should continue and strictly in line with COVID-19 guidance.
“Such decisions recognise the challenges in construction of maintaining social distance and good hygiene and the need to minimise public transport use and the risk of spreading infection.
“Essential construction to support the fight against COVID-19, such as hospital construction, vital infrastructure and safety maintenance, can be prioritised – while non-essential building work is safely postponed.
“Given the large number of self-employed construction workers, we believe Government employment protection and financial support for the self-employed can help encourage greater compliance with vital social distancing to save lives.”
IOSH has created and is regularly updating its easy-to-use coronavirus guidance, providing useful information on preventative measures, emergency planning and ways of managing the safety, health and wellbeing of workers.
This guidance is available here: www.iosh.com/coronavirus