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BESA Update Covid Health & Safety Guidelines

BESA COVID
19 October 2020 | Updated 29 October 2020
 

The Association’s COVID-19 Panel has produced two new guidance documents providing clear and practical information about how to reduce the risk of virus transmission on site and methods for carrying out risk assessments for workers who have to stay away from home.

“The new guides are all about prioritising workers and customer/client safety,” said BESA health & safety advisor Becky Crosland. “As we see a rise in the R number across the country, it is clear that the threat of infection from Covid-19 remains very much alive. It is therefore vital that businesses have robust procedures to safeguard against the risks employees face, on site and in domestic settings.” She also reiterated the warning that the two-metre social distancing restriction remains in place on construction sites.


Maintaining Precautions in Personal Lives


In August, the Construction Industry Coronavirus Forum – of which BESA is a key member – promoted an animation campaign to encourage social distancing outside of the workplace as well, designed to coincide with the reopening of bars and restaurants after the initial lockdown. As safety precautions continue with a new three tier system in the UK, fresh guidance with further detail is helpful for keeping key workers alert to the continued concerns and what can be done to best address them, on and off site.

“Some people seem to think the two metre restriction has been reduced to one metre – it has not. Infection risk is between and two and 10 times higher at one metre,” said Crosland. “If it is impossible to remain two metres apart, you should apply other controls like reducing the duration of time you spend together or avoiding face-to-face contact."

 

“The health, wellbeing and safety of both workers and customers must be a priority during the pandemic.”

–Becky Crosland

Health & Safety Advisor, BESA

 

A Variety of Resources for Supporting the Industry 

 

The BESA COVID-19 panel has produced a comprehensive suite of guidance documents specifically for engineering and building services contractors since the start of the crisis delivering clear, concise information that prioritises worker and customer safety. These can be accessed via the company's website.

“Being able to work safely and reduce the risk of COVID-19 during any work is vital to stop the spread of the virus,” said Crosland. “The health, wellbeing and safety of both workers and customers must be a priority during the pandemic.”

All of the panel’s documents have been thoroughly researched, taking into account current government guidance, and providing a series of steps that any employer can put into practice.

“In uncertain times, it can often feel that your personal contribution is not making a difference,” said BESA COVID-19 panel member Rosie Newcombe from Royston Group.  “However by working with BESA and our partners across our sector, individual health and safety professionals have been able to collaborate and contribute positively by interpreting the latest government guidance to produce effective guidance notes and risk assessments.”

BESA recently extended their membership scheme to include individuals that have an interest in the building services industry, where they had previously only admitted companies and corporate organisations. At a time when job insecurity is high, many professionals can benefit from the knowledge available. They will also be able to access training materials via the new BESA academy, which was recently praised by CEO of The Youth Group, Jack Parsons.

Picture: a COVID-19 social distancing sign in London.

Article written by Bailey Sparkes | Published 19 October 2020

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