Non-essential construction ‘must end’ to keep workers safe

The British Safety Council have called for clearer guidance from Government on building sites amid Coronavirus.

As the UK heads into lockdown, concerns are being raised across the country as thousands of construction workers headed out to work.

As reported by 24housing, Robert Jenrick recently took to Twitter to try and provide the construction sector with advice on how to proceed moving forward.

Images were being shared on social media of large groups of construction workers working and taking lunch together on site, despite latest government guidance.

Speaking on Twitter after Boris Johnson’s lockdown speech on Monday night, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Advice for the housing, construction & building maintenance industries:

  • If you can work from home, do so.
  • If you are working on site, you can continue to do so. But follow Public Health England guidance on social distancing.
  • Outside of work, remember to #StayHomeSaveLives“

However, construction workers have raised concerns that they are not able to practice social distancing and stay at least two metres apart from one another on site.

Chair of the British Safety Council, Lawrence Waterman said: “The construction sector needs clarity from the government – on most sites social distancing will be impossible or simply unsafe.

“All non-essential construction should end now so that construction workers can go home and stay home like everyone else.”

“Some building work will be deemed essential – for example, building work that will improve access to hospitals or road access which will help tackle the virus.

“It is also the case that half-built buildings need to be made safe and workers should prioritise work that can safely suspend construction for as long as necessary.”

He added that many thousands of construction workers are self-employed and don’t get paid if they don’t go to work.

“The government and developers need to work together to ensure that workers are protected when their building sites are shut down”, he said.

“We can’t have scenes like this morning when the country is told to stay at home, but the tubes are crammed full of people setting off to work on a building site”, Waterman added.

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