Points to consider before attending a site during the COVID-19 epidemic
Date published

26 March 2020

Price
Free
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Points to consider before attending a site during the COVID-19 epidemic

Guidance
Date published

26 March 2020

Price

Free

The UK Government has given clear instructions to work from home if possible, and many of our members will be in the position to do this.

However, there are a number of building sites which remain open and companies are looking at how best to manage the sites going forward.

Some structural engineers may be asked to visit a site to enable progression of works to continue, resolve an issue or to ensure that the site is safe to be left for a significant period in its current state.

The Institution recommends that you seriously consider if your presence on site is essential, or if you can provide adequate support remotely.

The UK Government has stated that any travel to work should be essential travel only, if you have assessed the situation and consider a site visit to be essential please take appropriate precautions.

Remember you risk not only catching the virus from site but also passing it on to anyone you meet during the day, including other sites and/or family members.

The Business Practice and Regulatory Control Committee and the Safety, Health and Wellbeing Panel have complied a series of points that all structural engineers should consider before attending site:
 
  • If you are in an at risk group be especially cautious. For those in the even higher risk group for severe illness or anyone living with them you should also be self-isolating and not visiting any site.
  • Speak to your line manager to inform them that you are in a high risk category or have dependants/family members in the high risk group and as such you should not be undertaking site visits
  • If you need to attend the site/office do not share desks. If you cannot clean your desk, keyboard and phone, do not use it. If you have to attend an office maintain the recommended 2 metre distance.
  • Follow the advice on washing your hands and not touching your face
  • Do not carry out any home visits (eg, households for survey work carry significant risk for both members and the householder)
  • Only carry out essential site visits. Think about using facetime or other media if there’s a need to see a particular item
  • Do not carry out any site visits unless you can maintain a safe distance from people, can avoid entering into enclosed spaces with poor air circulation, and have means to clean or sanitise your hands. Withdraw if you do not feel safe or if others cannot maintain a safe distance
  • Do not use public transport except on essential business and only if you have hand sanitiser. Avoid touching surfaces where you can
  • Only use pool cars or hire cars if you can clean them properly before every use: steering wheel, dashboard, mirror, handles, gear stick, handbrake etc
  • Follow the advice on not attending work/site if you have any symptoms (even if you suspect them to be just a common cold, or possibly also anything like loss of sense of taste or smell – if in doubt stay away), and self-isolate for 7 days. You should also not attend work if family members have symptoms and self-isolate for 14 days
  • Do not attend an office/site where someone who has attended in the last few days has become ill, until it has been cleaned
  • We urge members who are managers to be considerate to their staff and care for their well-being during this unprecedented time. Not everyone will cope the same
  • Make sure that you keep up to date with the latest announcements from the Government and that you are following your own company’s guidance

Should the site remain open or you have assessed and consider it essential that you visit the site the Institution recommends that you familiarise and follow the CLC guidance on site operating procedures.

You should always only enter into a situation in which you feel safe and that your health and safety has been suitably addressed. This is even more important to consider at this time.