Coronavirus update for construction

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Build UK’s update the industry amid the covid-19 outbreak 

Build UK continues to work on behalf of its members and the wider industry in response to coronavirus and we are currently focussed on the following:

  • Opening up the supply chain by demonstrating the demand for materials
  • Liaising with the Local Government Association to facilitate the extension of permitted working hours for construction sites across the country
  • Assessing the availability of hotel accommodation for construction workers living away from home
  • Seeking further guidance from Public Health England (PHE) on:
    • the use of PPE and RPE to prevent the transmission of coronavirus on construction sites
    • the interpretation of 15 minutes’ face to face contact as set out in the government’s guidance on Social Distancing in the Workplace for the construction sector.

Build UK also continues to be involved in the Construction Leadership Council task force, which is working on the following:

  • A review of government-backed loans and their suitability for construction businesses
  • Alternatives to invoking contractual clauses which are likely to be detrimental to the supply chain
  • An industry recovery plan • Releasing workers from furlough following the lockdown
  • Advice on re-opening offices following extended periods of closure.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has confirmed that plant and equipment inspections should continue during the coronavirus pandemic, while recognising that there is reduced capacity for them to be undertaken due to a lack of available personnel and restricted access to site. If you are continuing to use equipment outside of its inspection period, you still have a duty of care and must document actions taken to make the equipment safe to use.

The HSE has also confirmed temporary changes for first aid cover in the workplace during coronavirus:

  • Anyone with a first aid certificate that expires on or after 16 March 2020 and is unable to access re-qualification training may qualify for a three-month extension. This applies to First Aid at Work, Emergency First Aid at Work, Offshore Medic and Offshore First Aid.
  • If first aid training is interrupted and the qualification cannot be completed within the usual timeframe, training can re-start at a later date as long as a full recap of training already delivered is undertaken and candidates show the knowledge and competencies required.

Employers are reminded to keep records of sickness absence due to coronavirus or self-isolation in anticipation of being able to reclaim statutory sick pay (SSP) under the coronavirus statutory sick pay rebate scheme once the online system is available.

The scheme will be available to employers with fewer than 250 employees, as of 28 February 2020, to recover the costs of paying SSP to employees for up to two weeks from 13 March 2020.

Businesses should continue to follow the most up-to-date government guidance and for the latest updates please follow Build UK on Twitter and LinkedIn. If you have any construction-specific queries or feedback on what is happening within the industry, please contact Build UK.

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