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Wed April 17 2024

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Official guide to social distancing on construction sites

24 Mar 20 The Construction Leadership Council and Build UK have produced what is set to become the construction industry’s current most important code of practice – Site Operating Procedures during the coronavirus.

Construction industry leaders are adamant that business must go on – both on site and off site – but they recognise the need to temper this by doing their best to adhere to the government’s latest lock-down.

“These are exceptional circumstances and the industry must comply with the latest government advice on coronavirus at all times,” the document says.

Among the key points are:

Site workers should two metres apart from each other at all times, as per government instructions, including in the canteen. In fact better to shut the canteen and get people to bring their own prepared lunches in.

Start times on site should be staggered to avoid congestion at the gates.

All site workers are urged to drive or cycle to work and avoid public transport, if possible.

Fingerprint scanners and other security systems that require touching should be disabled.

Reduce the number of people in attendance at site inductions and consider holding them outdoors wherever possible.

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Re-usable PPE should be thoroughly cleaned after use and not shared between workers.  Single use PPE should be disposed of so that it cannot be reused.

Stairs should be used in preference to lifts or hoists.

Beyond this, a lot of cleaning and spraying is called for, with an abundance of hand sanitisers everywhere.

Enhanced cleaning procedures should be in place across the site, particularly in communal areas and at touch points including:

  • Taps and washing facilities
  • Toilet flush and seats
  • Door handles and push plates
  • Hand rails on staircases and corridors
  • Lift and hoist controls
  • Machinery and equipment controls
  • Food preparation and eating surfaces
  • Telephone equipment
  • Key boards, photocopiers and other office equipment.

The guide says: “The health and safety requirements of any construction activity must also not be compromised at this time. If an activity cannot be undertaken safely due to a lack of suitably qualified personnel being available or social distancing being implemented, it should not take place.”

It further adds that if a site is not consistently implementing the measures set out here, it may be required to shut down.

The full document, Site Operating Procedures – Protecting Your Workforce, can be downloaded from

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