December marks one year since the first reported case of Coronavirus to the World Health Organisation. These past 12 months have posed challenges few would have anticipated, and completely changed the way people work.
While operating in commercial and domestic premises during the pandemic, we’ve adopted a raft of health and safety precautions. This includes extensive training for all colleagues, extra PPE, socially distanced working practices and Coronavirus Risk Assessment Reports.
While England came out of its second lockdown on December 2nd, the construction industry will continue to operate to these new standards, and we’re taking every precaution to ensure we help to keep our colleagues and customers safe. Here’s how we do it.
Equipping our team with the right kit
Construction workers are no strangers to appropriate health and safety uniform, but the usual kit of safety boots, hard hats, high vis tops and gloves is now adapted to include Coronavirus specific Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Wearing face coverings, when additional Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) is not required, as well as disposable gloves is important at all times when colleagues are onsite, especially when Social Distancing maybe harder to adhere to due to space constraints. All of our employees also receive a face-fit testing by colleagues trained to carry out face-fit tests for general work. This means RPE equipment used is properly fitted to them and ensures the best possible protection.
Site risk assessment
The first step before commencing any work is a risk assessment of the site. Along with the usual health and safety practices, contractors also need to factor in the risks of cross contamination through shared touchpoints as well as the lack of space for appropriate social distancing measures to be adhered to.
At Peter Cox we regularly check our risk assessment plan against the government’s Construction Leadership Council Site Operating Procedures, which helps to make sure all activity adheres to the national standard. It means assessing factors such as personal hygiene, social distancing and the presence of vulnerable persons. Site access times, use of washroom facilities and employee break times will be different on each project, to ensure optimal safety precautions can be effectively maintained.
Cleaning up afterwards
We work with Rentokil Specialist Hygiene to support our customers and ensure the most advanced disinfection procedures are in place. This means technicians and surveyors can advise on specialist disinfection services required in different communal areas, meeting rooms and vehicles. All workers have the appropriate PPE, RPE and specialist disinfection equipment to effectively treat a site that has had a confirmed or suspected case of Coronavirus, or to undertake an all-purpose disinfection service prior to employees returning back to a site.
Although the news has been buzzing with encouraging updates on vaccine developments, it remains incredibly important to remain diligent with health and safety precautions when completing work. As the country has now exited the latest lockdown and entered the new tiered system that sees many regions still with strict restrictions in place, it is important that we all do whatever we can to help keep the rate of infection as low as possible. At Peter Cox, we’re continuing to maintain the hygiene standards as outlined by the government to best protect our team and the communities in which we work.
By Catherine Hill, National Commercial Manager at Peter Cox
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