For more than two months now, the UK has been in varying stages of lockdown in its efforts to slow the spread of Coronavirus amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This has inevitably had an impact on all industries worldwide, including the scaffolding industry.
For many weeks, construction sites remained closed due to lockdown, but now as restrictions have begun to ease, work has once again commenced, but with some distinct difference. The pandemic has had an enormous impact on the way in which the scaffolding industry operates, and it will continue to do so for months to come. So how exactly has the Coronavirus impacted scaffolding?
Of course, when lockdown was announced scaffolding training courses across the UK (and worldwide) were halted entirely. This has meant that many scaffolders have been unable to take part in the vital training necessary to maintain high levels of scaffolding safety and as there has been no delivery of Scaffolder CPD courses, many Scaffolders are in limbo as they wait for the opportunity to refresh their CISRS cards.
Training takes place for both newcomers to the scaffolding industry and established professionals; it continually adapts to changes in legislation and best practice methods. As a result of training coming to a standstill, experts have turned to new ways to ensure those in the industry continue to learn.
For the SIMIAN team, this has meant hosting weekly Toolbox Talks, covering a wide range of topics that aim to support scaffolders in their continued learning throughout the duration of the pandemic. Training at our centres is currently suspended, but we are hopeful of reopening very soon.
Procedures at construction sites
From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has been keen for construction work to continue, albeit with certain recommended restrictions. This presents the industry with a challenge to ensure that workers are safe from the typical risks presented at a construction site, whilst also ensuring that they are maintaining a safe distance so as not to unknowingly spread the virus. Much of the guidance that has been provided is generic in nature and for that reason, SIMIAN has been working hard to interpret how it might be applied in a scaffolding application. We have shared our internal ‘Guidance for Scaffolders’ with our clients and will shortly be revising that to incorporate the latest revisions to industry guidance, such as the Site Operating Procedures, produced by the Construction Leadership Council.
Some of the ways that our customers are adhering to social distancing measures include
- Lone travelling
- Consistency of work gangs
- One-way systems
- Staggered shift and break times
- Hand-sanitiser on site
- More space in break out and wash room facilities
- Limiting the number of workers using hoists and lifts
- Regularly cleaning equipment and common touch points (e.g. buttons and handles)
The SIMIAN team is continually adapting our services to ensure that we not only comply with Government guidelines, but that we provide real advice and guidance that reflects the typical difficulties faced by a scaffolding contractor.
Are you looking for health and safety support for your site? Contact the team at SIMIAN today to find out more about our services.