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CEF Issues Return to Site Health & Safety Guidance

Covid-19 has changed the world we live and work in. Construction will not be able to operate in the same way as prior to the pandemic and both contractors and clients will need to adapt to the new working environment.

Considerable effort has been expended in recent weeks in developing robust and clear guidance for healthy and safe working in construction. The CEF formed a Covid-19 Health and Safety Group comprising CEF members, senior health and safety professionals and representation from HSENI. The Group has provided clear direction to the available best practice from Build UK/CLC guidance, which is endorsed by HSENI, and in addition has also compiled a selection of free resources to assist construction to operate healthily and safely in this new environment.
The on-line resources are freely available to all construction contractors, professionals and clients from the CEF website CEF urge all those engaged in the industry to take the time to fully understand and utilise these resources when preparing their own revised working practices before commencing a phased soft mobilisation back to sites.

Whilst there is now industry specific guidance for healthy and safe working available, the message is unchanged, if you cannot work safely following the guidance, do not work.

Where you can work safely within the evolving guidance, you should liaise closely with your staff and clients to ensure their understanding of the new procedures before returning to site. Clients must understand that adapting and complying with the new good practice has implications for productivity and cost. Contractors should engage with clients to flag the expected costs and extended programmes inherent in adhering to the health and safety working guidelines relevant to each project. The CEF calls on clients to be flexible and collaborative in agreeing revised programmes and budgets that incorporate the new ways of working.

Construction in NI has played a full role to date in the dual fight against the spread of the virus and the support of essential services. The industry shall continue to act responsibly with safety foremost in every decision and would seek the full cooperation of contractors, supply chain, clients, both public sector and commercial to deliver safe and quality work for which NI construction is known.