Unite has launched a comprehensive construction guide to help ensure the safety of construction workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The guide titled Construction Sector: COVID-19 Guide is specifically aimed at Unite’s construction representatives but can be utilised by all workers.
The document is especially relevant as there have been rising cases of COVID-19 on construction sites, thought to be a result of the worsening weather and a subsequent lack of social distancing.
Existing safety measures questioned
The industry’s existing safety measures have also been questioned following the belated realisation by ‘experts’ that a great deal of construction work is not conducted outdoors, dramatically increasing transmission risks if mask-wearing and social distancing are not observed.
Unite’s guide is far more comprehensive and stringent than the industry’s Site Operating Procedures, which have been heavily criticised for failing to make the wearing of masks compulsory when social distancing cannot be maintained and which allows workers to work face to face for 15 minutes at any one time.
As well as issues such as social distancing on sites, the importance of ventilation and advice on face coverings, Unite’s guide also covers advice on travelling to and from site and guidance on how the COVID-19 pandemic can have an impact on workers’ mental health.
Unite national officer, Jerry Swain, said: “The new construction COVID guide is an invaluable tool to protect workers on sites.
“The guide provides easy to follow and vital information that workers need to stay safe on site. Unlike other guides, Unite’s guide is solely focused on workers' safety.
“It is essential that Unite construction activists use the guide to ensure that every organised workplace is as COVID-secure as is humanly possible.”
Workers in frontline
Unite national officer, Ian Woodland, said: “With cases of COVID-19 surging and with a vaccination still many months off for most workers, it is imperative that there is not only no let up on-site safety but further measures are taken to prevent the virus being transmitted.
“Unite activists are on the frontline in keeping fellow workers and themselves safe from when they leave home until when they return home at night.”