COVID-19 breaches on construction sites are down by 41%

The Building Safety Group (BSG) has reported a 41% decrease in the number of COVID-19 breaches occurring on construction sites over a three-month period.

The report is based on 4,400 independent site inspections carried out between 1 June and 31 August, 2020.

The drop in breaches has been attributed to more companies successfully adapting to new working practices on construction sites, in light of the pandemic. Over time it is expected that this trend will continue as the industry becomes more accustomed to operating under the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus.

The most common types of COVID-19 ‘non-compliances’ reported by BSG safety advisers over the last three months have included:

• Management and operatives not following social distancing guidelines
• Inadequate welfare facilities on-site with insufficient cleaning regimes
• Too many people in the canteen area with insufficient segregation
• Not enough hand sanitizing stations on-site
• PPE not available when required
• Outdated Site Operating Procedures found on-site.

The Site Operating Procedures (SOPs) are produced by Build UK and published for the whole industry by the Construction Leadership Council. The SOPs were first published on 23 March as the UK went into lockdown in a bid to help construction sites stay open safely. Like so much official advice, the SOPs were subject to regular revisions. Version 5 was published on 1 July.

Stephen Bell, managing director of BSG, said: “We are pleased to see that COVID-19 breaches have fallen since we began risk assessing companies’ prevention measures to counter the coronavirus. Although we expect this downward shift to continue, now is not the time to become complacent, so it is vital that our industry remains vigilant and continues to follow government Site Operating Procedure guidelines.”

Stephen added: “BSG’s position will be to continue to advise construction companies on how best to avoid COVID-19 transmission, as well as mitigate against all other hazards which can occur on-site.”

For advice on how to safeguard against COVID-19, contact BSG’s technical support manager, Andy Harper on 0300 304 9070.