These guidelines are meant to guide the construction sector.
This guidance serves as a minimum standard that should be adhered to by the relevant parties. At all times individuals are to adhere to the current Covid-19 Regulations and the National Policy on the Use of Antigen-Detecting Rapid Diagnostic Tests (“Lateral Flow Tests”).
This guidance covers recommended measures for protection during the COVID-19 Pandemic:
- What are the issues?
- Managing COVID-19 transmission risk to construction workers
- Hygiene: Hand washing, cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing
- On-site meetings and working off site
- Managing construction workers on site
- Managing customers and visitors on the construction site
- In-bound and out-bound goods
- Communication and training
- Personal Professional Equipment (PPE) and facial masks
You can also download the full guidance here:
What are the issues?
Construction may take many different forms ranging from very small home projects (e.g. repair and renovation) to larger projects such as construction of houses and small buildings
to mega-scale projects such as building of multi-storey complexes or road works and associated road-infrastructure development (e.g. bridges, overpasses etc.). The first issue is job site population density. Projects of different scales mean that there is a large variation in the numbers of construction workers gathered in workspaces. The second issue is Jobsite commute.
To get to the job site, workers sometimes commute in groups through a pick-up service, thereby creating a potential for virus spread within the vehicle(s). The third issue is that of support sectors. Construction (especially medium to large-scale) relies heavily on other sectors in manufacturing and retail to supply the necessary products and services required. This means that job sites are often visited by supply deliveries that potentially expose workers to the COVID-19 virus.
All the recommendations in this document are based on reducing potential infection with the COVID-19 virus through contact with airborne virus particles or contact with virus-contaminated exposed surfaces.
Managing COVID-19 transmission risk to construction workersEmployers must manage COVID-19 transmission risk to construction workers that share the
workspace in order to protect everyone's health and safety. The following includes guidelines that can be used to:
- Decide if any activities need to continue for the business to operate where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed
- Limit the number of passengers in the business vehicles (include leaving seats empty)
- Retrofit transport equipment with necessary screens to reduce contact of drivers and passengers and mandate wearing of masks within the vehicles.
- Practice social distance within the vehicles (reduce the vehicle carrying capacity)
- Where possible - Limit the use of air-conditioning in favour of natural fresh air
- Keep the time where people are in close proximity as short as possible
- Use screens or barriers to separate people from each other
- Use back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible
- Use fixed teams/groups or partnering to reduce the number of persons each worker has contact with
- Assess if activity can be safely done if workers must work face-to-face for a sustained period with more than a small group of fixed partners
- Encourage physical distancing (6 feet or 2 meters) in all parts of the workplace including entrances and exits, break rooms, canteens and similar settings
- Stagger break times to avoid congestion
- Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick
- Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns
Hygiene: Hand washing, cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing
Important components in reducing the transmission of COVID-19 at the construction site include maintaining good personal hygiene, and regular cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing the facilities.
The following guidelines can be used:
- Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes
- Allow regular breaks for workers to wash hands and regularly clean hands
- Use signage to promote personal hygiene and awareness of good handwashing techniques. If workers do not have immediate access to soap and water for handwashing, provide alcohol-based hand rubs (60% - 80% alcohol (ethanol or isopropanol))
- Provide hand cleaning facilities at key places such as entrances and exits points
- Clean and disinfect portable job site toilets regularly
- Fill hand sanitiser dispensers regularly
- Disinfect frequently touched items (i.e., door pulls and toilet seats)
On-site meetings and working off-site
The following guidelines can help to reduce the possibility of transmission of COVID-19 through face-to-face meetings and maintain social distancing during meetings:
- Personnel who can work remotely e.g. Engineers, architects and designers should be encouraged to limit their presence at the job site and use appropriate remote working tools as much as possible.
- Use floor signage to help people maintain social distancing in regular on-site meeting places
- Reconfigure seating and tables to maintain spacing and reduce face-to-face interactions
- Monitor the well-being of workers who are working from home and help them to stay connected to those operating on site
- Provide equipment for workers to work from home safely
Managing construction workers on site
The nature of construction work makes it difficult for many workers to work remotely or from
home. The employer can consider the following guidance:
- Consider who is needed on-site and plan for the minimum number of workers needed to be on-site to operate safely and effectively (workers deemed necessary to carry out physical work, supervise work, or conduct work to operate safely)
- Stagger arrival and departure times at work to reduce crowding into and out of the workplace
- Do temperature checks for all persons entering the job site. Anybody with a temperature of 38◦C should not be allowed to enter the site.
- Provide additional parking or facilities to help people walk, or cycle to work where possible
- Limit passengers in corporate vehicles
- Reduce congestion, for example, by having more entry points to the workplace
- Provide handwashing facilities, or hand sanitiser at entry and exit points
- Reduce movement by discouraging non-essential trips within buildings and sites
- Reduce job rotation and equipment rotation, maintaining single tasks for the day
- Use signage (ground markings to control the flow of people moving on site
- Reduce occupancy of vehicles used for on-site travel and follow social distancing measures within the vehicles
- Separate sites into working zones to keep different groups of workers physically separated as necessary
- Provide and instruct workers to clean tools or equipment (e.g. alcohol-based wipes) before and after use if these must be shared
- Consult manufacturer recommendations for proper cleaning techniques and restrictions when cleaning tools and equipment
Managing customers and visitors on the construction site
In order to minimise the number of people on-site, employers should consider the following:
- Encourage visits using remote connections or an appointment system
- Limit the number of visitors at the construction site at any particular time
- Carefully plan the schedules for essential services and contractor visits to reduce interaction and overlap between people
- Explain physical distancing and hygiene to visitors on or before arrival at the site
- Encourage visitors to use handwashing facilities/hand sanitiser as they enter the site
- Provide signage at entrances to the worksite to remind the public and workers to maintain physical distancing
In-bound and out-bound goods
Avoiding surface transmission when goods enter and leave the construction site is important, thus employers should consider the following guideline for in-bound and outbound goods:
- Revise pick-up and drop-off collection points, procedures, signage and markings
- Minimize unnecessary contact at the security, yard, and warehouse
- Consider methods to reduce the frequency of deliveries (order larger quantities)
- Have single workers load or unload vehicles where possible and safe
- Encourage drivers to stay in their vehicles when possible
Communication and training
Employers must ensure that workers have up-to-date information on COVID-19 measures and procedures. The following include guidelines on communicating with workers and training:
- Provide clear, consistent and regular communication to improve understanding and consistency of ways of working
- Use existing communication routes to provide up-to-date information to workers on new work procedures
- Use simple, clear messaging to explain guidelines (images, clear language
- Using visual communication (whiteboards/noticeboards, signage) to explain safe working practices around the work site
- Communicate approaches and operational procedures to suppliers, customers, etc.
Personal Professional Equipment (PPE) and facial masks
Personal protective equipment used at a construction site may include safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses. Additionally, it may include respiratory protective equipment, such as face masks. Personal protective equipment is important to protect workers from health and safety risks including COVID-19. The following guide can be used:
- Continue to use normal control measures, including PPE needed to protect workers from other job hazards associated with construction activities
- Train workers on how to properly put on, use/wear, and take off protective clothing and equipment
- Ensure that workers wear appropriate masks or face coverings over their nose and mouth while at the construction site
Scale dependency: The guidelines for small scale projects can be adjusted accordingly. The same principles will generally apply. These include a risk assessment, sanitation and hygiene, social distancing and wearing of face masks.