Construction site operating guidance revised in wake Omicron variant
With the arrival of the highly infectious Omicron variant and the resulting rapid increase in infections, all construction businesses are being asked to strengthen compliance with protective measures.
In support of this, the Scottish Government has updated its Safer Businesses and Workplaces Guidance and has backed this up by amendments to legislation that require all businesses to take those measures that are reasonably practicable.
Examples of measures included in the Scottish Government guidance that should be considered include those which limit close face to face interaction and maintain hygiene such as:
- Supporting working from home where practicable
- Putting in barriers, screens, and signage
- Increased cleaning
- Maximising good ventilation
- Encouraging staff to take LFD covid tests twice weekly and before mixing with people from other households
It is also now the law in Scotland, subject to existing exemptions, that face coverings must be worn in all indoor communal areas in a workplace, where there are no measures in place to keep persons separated by either a partition or a distance of at least two metres.
In view of the emergence of the Omicron variant and publication of the new guidance and regulations, Construction Scotland has reviewed its Site Operating Guidance and has made several changes which are intended to assist companies in complying with the new regulations.
Ron Fraser, the chair of Construction Scotland, said: “Many in the industry will be taking a well-deserved break over the Xmas period. With the forecast rapid increase in Omicron infections, Construction Scotland would encourage all businesses, on return, to check all site arrangements for adequacy, including physical distancing, hygiene, face-covering, and ventilation measures. Check that the measures in place are still appropriate for the site population and the nature of the site environment.
“Can they be enhanced or improved in consequence of the variant? All such control measures should be re-briefed to staff and operatives, along with suppliers and other stakeholders whose attendance at site is essential. Return to work briefings should also include a reminder of the need to take LFD tests, of the current requirements for self-isolation and of the need not to return to site if experiencing any of the symptoms of Covid.
“Whilst the full impact of the Omicron variant is yet to be understood, doing everything we can right now to reduce the potential for spread of infection will place the industry in a strong place as we enter 2022.”