The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) is calling on construction firms to ensure that their working arrangements are Covid-secure so that they don’t leave workers vulnerable as the new more contagious variant of the virus increases infections across the country. Failure to work safely could leave the industry open to further lockdown restrictions says the CLC.
In a letter to the industry this week, CLC co-chair Andy Mitchell issued the warning at the same time as the government is coming under increasing pressure to bring in stricter, more restrictive lockdown rules as coronavirus cases rocket in many areas of the country.
While reiterating government guidance that companies and tradespeople in the construction sector and its supply chain, including builders’ merchants, suppliers and product manufacturers, should continue to operate during this national lockdown, Mitchell highlighted the crucial importance of sticking to the CLC’s regularly updated range of guidance on the measures needed to keep the industry safe.
“Over the course of the last year, the construction industry has proven that it can introduce and maintain safe working environments on sites, when working in homes, in builders’ merchants and in product manufacturing facilities,” he said. “However, the rapid spread of a more contagious variant of Covid-19 means it is imperative that we all maintain the highest possible standards of control over how we operate, including compliance with the relevant procedures. I urge you all to review your current arrangements to make sure that this is so,” said Mitchell.
Highlighting the Cabinet Office guidance that people can only leave home for work purposes where it is essential, and you cannot do your job from home, Mitchell said: “This is not about convenience or efficiency but about necessity and again I urge you to critically challenge what works can genuinely not be done at home. For workers that do have to leave home for work purposes, it is essential that these workers carefully manage their journeys to work, in order to minimise impacts on public transport networks. It is also vital that those people in the industry who are in the clinically extremely vulnerable category are supported to work from home and should not in any circumstances travel to work.”
Mitchell said that the industry had demonstrated that it can control operations so that the work can be done safely in compliance with the site operating procedures and in accordance with government direction. “For the sake of our workforce, the general public around us and the national economy, we have a huge responsibility to continue to get this right,” he said.