New guidance from the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) recommends that employers should make face coverings available to those working in close proximity with others.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the use of face coverings has become mandatory in more public places, and construction employers have asked the CLC for guidance to help provide a consistent approach across the industry.
The current position is: “The use of face coverings or personal protective equipment (PPE) is not required in response to coronavirus in offices, or while carrying out construction activities.”
The government guidance on ‘Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) – construction and other outdoor work’ states: “Workplaces should not encourage the precautionary use of extra PPE to protect against COVID-19 outside clinical settings or when responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.”
However, the CLC’s new position is: “Where construction workers are not required to wear PPE for their specific task and their workplace meets all of the criteria below, their employer should make available, as a minimum, face coverings:
- In an enclosed space
- Where social distancing isn’t always possible
- Where they come into contact with others they do not normally meet.”
As explained by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance, face coverings are made from fabric or cloth, and cover the mouth and nose to protect others, not the user, from infection. They are not considered to be PPE as they do not protect the wearer from work-related hazards and are not made to a recognised standard.
You can download the latest guidance from the Construction Leadership Council here.