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Coronavirus: Health & Safety Archive
Updated 17th April 2020
18th May 2020
Construction sector – laying the foundations for a safe return to work
With the announcement that two of the UKs major housebuilders will be reopening sites in the coming weeks, many other organisations are now beginning to explore the ways in which they can adapt to overcome the operational challenges they face as a result of the Covid-19 situation and return to work.
Organisations wishing to reopen their businesses will no doubt need to consider the long-term practical implications of the risks posed by Covid-19 in ensuring that they meet their duties under Health and Safety law. In many cases new and in-depth operating procedures will need to be developed in compliance with strict social distancing requirements to ensure workers are kept safe.
With careful risk assessment, planning and management businesses will be able to successfully navigate through this crisis, allowing them to return to work, and even thrive in these challenging times.
You can find industry specific advice issued by the government in relation to protecting your workforce and customers from coronavirus risks while still continuing to trade here.
Additional specific construction industry guidance issued by the Construction Leadership Council can also be found here.
Need more help? Contact your Health & Safety Consultant who is on hand to provide you with tailored health and safety advice to help get you back up and running.
Training Certification Extension Arrangements
Further to the HSE guidance on arrangements for extension of First Aid qualification validity in some circumstances during the coronavirus outbreak, a number of professional skills certification bodies have published their arrangements for extension of expired certificates where access to re-training is currently not possible.
PASMA, the prefabricated access suppliers and manufacturers association, have announced that a 90 day extension of expired PASMA cards can be arranged by scheduling attendance at a future training course and completing the online theory section of the course in advance. If your employees have expired or expiring PASMA qualifications visit https://pasma.co.uk/news-detail/?id=58 for information on how to ensure continued validity of their certification.
IPAF, the International Powered Access Federation, will not endorse the use and operation of Mobile Elevating Work Platforms by any individual who has not passed a practical assessment, however in the current situation they accept that some individuals may not be able to arrange renewal of expiring qualifications. IPAF have announced arrangements for extension of the grace period for PAL card renewals to 90 days, and provided interim online training options to support this.
For businesses continuing operations throughout this period, in whatever capacity, the legal obligations around maintenance and inspection of plant and equipment remain in place. The HSE have produced guidance for businesses who are facing challenges with meeting their legal obligations to carry out statutory Thorough Examination and Test of plant and equipment. Making specific reference to the requirements of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) and the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations (PSSR), the HSE have reminded duty holders that they must ensure plant and equipment remains safe to use.
Many businesses continue to operate throughout these challenging times, in new and innovative ways. They are providing essential services and products and are doing so while observing strict government instructions and public health guidance.
While commitment to continued operations and the innovation being seen is to be admired, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) released a joint statement with the TUC & CBI clarifying its position and reaffirming that the health and safety of workers remains paramount. The regulator has stated that businesses that can safely remain open should do so – but that they must comply with Public Health England Guidance or risk action being taken against them.
RIDDOR and COVID-19
The HSE has also provided guidance regarding application of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) to cases of COVID-19. Guidelines on the limited and specific situations in which a RIDDOR report may be required are outlined.
As always, our H&S Consultants are available to support you in managing your health and safety issues at this difficult time.
The HSE have reiterated their stance on access to welfare facilities for drivers at premises they visit as part of their work. They have stressed that despite temporary and limited relaxation of enforcement of drivers hours rules in England, Scotland and Wales – driver safety must not be compromised and they should not be expected to drive while tired:
Guidance for occupational health providers, appointed doctors and employers on continued health and medical surveillance has been issued. Advice is provided for situations in which workers are subject to Health Surveillance as required by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH), Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) and Control of Noise at Work Regulations, amongst other regulations. It includes conditions in which hearing tests/audiometry can be deferred for a period of three months:
Some additional information you may find of help at this time includes:
And our Health & Safety Consultants recently shared guidance on homeworking