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COVID-19 has caused businesses who work on-site to alter the way they carry out their tasks. This has been an inconvenience, but one that has been faced by virtually every business across the country.
“With the rapidly changing situation surrounding COVID-19, it has been our priority to provide a continuity of service to our clients,” says Jim Treacy of civil engineering specialists Maltaward “we are encouraging more telephone or virtual meetings, as well as taking additional measures to maintain the cleanliness and hygiene of high-traffic areas”.
They aren’t the only ones. Almost all SMEs that have to carry out work on-site have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In many cases, this has meant rethinking the necessities of site work. Here we take a look at what SMEs are doing to ensure that they can work safely through the pandemic and beyond.
It is important to note first that every site is different, and so is every business. So, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution - and this is where it is important for companies to utilise thorough risk assessments. It is only through a risk assessment that a business can establish what kind of precautions are necessary and how they should be applied to staff.
Before any business begins site work they should carry out a risk assessment to understand how COVID-19 could affect this specific working environment. It is up to businesses to ensure that social distancing measures can be followed without endangering the health and safety of staff.
Personal protection equipment (PPE) has always been a major part of carrying out work - whether at construction sites or any kind of work that might require staff to be in a potentially hazardous environment. So, it no surprise that businesses have been fast in altering and improving the COVID-19 specific PPE for their teams.
It may be as simple as providing gloves and face masks to those workers who need to be in relatively close proximity to others. Alternatively, more drastic PPE may be necessary.
One important question that needs to be answered is: who really needs to be there? A part of working safely might actually mean not working on-site at all if this is a possibility in the specific circumstances.
It may be the case that some members of staff are able to do their work without having to physically be at the site. Once again, you should rely on a high-quality risk assessment to help you understand who genuinely needs to be on-site for the work you are carrying out, and who could do their work remotely.
The government has set out specific guidelines regarding working safely through the pandemic and beyond. It is up to SMEs to follow these guidelines, and of course, keep up to date with any changes and alterations that have been made.
As long as a company is able to show that they were working in compliance with government regulations, there is nothing more than they can do to keep their workers safe.
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