CICV Forum urges sector to focus on hygiene as restrictions ease

The Construction Industry Coronavirus (CICV) Forum has issued more guidance urging the sector to focus on health and safety to protect colleagues, customers and families as the country opens back up this week.

Furthermore, with Scotland set to follow England with its own so-called ‘Freedom Day’ on 9 August, the Forum has stressed that companies should continue to adhere to standard operating procedures (SOP) to ensure maximum focus on health and safety.

Rebecca Crosland, chair of the Forum’s Health and Safety group, and head of health & safety at the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), said: “The past 15 months have been an extremely difficult period for everyone, and we have only come this far by pulling together and following the rules.

“This spirit of collaboration and cooperation must now continue over the coming weeks as we prepare for restrictions to be eased further, both in our professional and personal lives.

“Make no mistake, COVID-19 is still a very real threat, and we are not out of the woods yet. Vaccinations can only help so much, and it is vital that the sector continues to be careful when it comes to health and safety.

“We will still have 1m social distancing and businesses should continue to follow the SOP and domestic guidance issued by CICV Forum until at least 9 August, when we will be among those meeting with Scottish Government to discuss what action will be taken next.”

To help further, the CICV has produced a secure site risk assessment template that can be downloaded to help contractors plan COVID-safe working practices.

It has also produced a close working checklist to help construction professionals plan for projects that involve close contact in enclosed conditions.

Rebecca added: “These two new pieces of guidance will help operatives carry out COVID-19 risk assessments for a range of projects, including where close working is required, and help them consider the safest way for those tasks to continue.

“They also make it clear that, during such activities, appropriate mitigation methods should be put into place including lateral flow testing, increased hand washing and environmental cleaning, face covering, adequate ventilation and keeping any close activity as brief as possible.”

The guidance follows a range of other information which is still available on the Forum site, including advice on working from home, preparing for HSE spot checks and an overview of the current professional indemnity insurance market.