New guidance issued for working on site

Construction workers should only be wearing respiratory protective equipment if there is no other way they can stay 2m apart from each other, the Construction Leadership Council has said.

The CLC has updated its site operating guidance for a second time, issuing its Site Operating Procedures 3.

construction site

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The CLC originally updated the recommended procedures two weeks ago, stating that no work on site should continue if operatives were unable to distance themselves by more than 2m.

But the second version of its guidance was withdrawn within 24 hours following a backlash from the industry.

The latest update says that workers can be within 2m of each other if it’s unavoidable but has introduced a suite of guidelines that says masks should be a last resort.

It said: "Sites should not use RPE (respiratory protective equipment) for coronavirus (covid-19) where the 2m social distancing guidelines are met.

"Where it is not possible to maintain a 2m distance, each activity should be risk assessed using the hierarchy of controls and against any sector-specific guidance, mindful that masks are the last resort in the hierarchy."

It said reusable PPE should be thoroughly cleaned after use and not shared between workers and that single-use PPE should be disposed of so that it cannot be reused.

It said before using PPE firms should eliminate risks, reduce the amount of exposure, isolate groups of workers and control the amount of contact.

The guidance also provided further details on who should not travel to work and guidance for those who have no option but to share transport to work.

It said: "If workers have no option but to share transport, journeys should be shared with the same individuals and with the minimum number of people at any one time.

"The vehicle should be cleaned regularly using gloves and standard cleaning products, with particular emphasis on handles and other areas where passengers may touch surfaces."

It also said good ventilation, by keeping the windows open, and facing away from each other may help to reduce the risk of transmission.

Other updates included confirmation that the HSE is the enforcing authority for Public Health England guidelines and the need for sites to monitor the implementation of the procedures.