Covid guidance revised... a bit

In the wake of the third national lockdown coming into force in the UK this week, site operating procedures for the construction industry have been revised.

In the wake of the third national lockdown coming into force in the UK this week, site operating procedures for the construction industry have been revised.

The changes from version 6 to the new version 7 of the site operating procedures (SOP) are almost undetectable, however.

There is updated guidance on self-isolation and shielding and the removal of the requirement to display a QR code in site canteens.

A spokesman for the Construction Leadership Council, which publishes the guidance, said that the previous requirement for QR codes was introduced for all restaurants and cafes, including workplace canteens, to track visitors. However, construction site visitors are tracked on entry and so never actually required a secondary check-in at lunchtime.

Build UK has also updated its flowchart on the actions to take if a worker has Covid-19, or needs to self-isolate, to reflect the latest Public Health England (PHE) guidance which requires employers to contact PHE if they identify five or more cases within 14 days.

Separately, the Builders Merchants Federation has also updated its branch operating guidelines. The 21-page document, Branch Operating Guidelines during Covid 19 Version Four, includes the instruction to shop managers to be courteous to employees.

“Before staff leave, thank your teams for their efforts and compliance,” it says.

Which is nice. There is no such instruction for construction site managers in the SOP, however.

Essentially, overall, the advice remains the same as before – work from home if you can work from home, wash your hands a lot (thoroughly) and keep your distance from others.

With regards to masks, Site Operating Procedures V7 says that they are not generally needed on site. They need to be worn only when working in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible and you might come into contact with people you don't normally meet. (All three conditions must apply for masks to be required.) In line with government guidance on premises providing hospitality, face coverings must be worn in canteens except when seated at a table to eat or drink.

Site Operating Procedures V7 can be downloaded here

Branch Operating Guidelines during Covid 19 V4 can be downloaded here

The Use of Face Coverings in Construction during Coronavirus (Covid-19) can be downloaded here

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