CIF statement on COVID-19 and construction

The Construction Industry Federation is constantly advising its members in relation to all HSE guidelines and Chief Medical Officer recommendations pertaining to COVID-19. The Federation has issued guidelines for Actions to take now to provide for health and safety for management of construction sites and behaviours for construction site personnel.

Industry is continuing to deliver on contractually agreed commitments for public and private sector clients while adhering to HSE and Chief Medical Officer requirements / recommendations.  The industry and its 147,000 employees are critical to both the economy and wider society as essential emergency works, housing, hospitals, roads, schools and other projects are delivered.

Construction companies are doing all they can to keep their workers in employment in the safest possible environment. Industry will continue to follow all Government guidelines to ensure the safety of these employees and the general public whilst engaging in construction activity.

As construction sites are workplaces, construction companies must observe the HSE guidelines on dealing with COVID-19. Construction companies have and are adapting to the social distancing guidelines as are other industries such as manufacturing, retail and transport so they can keep essential parts of the economy operating during the outbreak.

Many companies have now embedded social distancing into their daily routines including measures such as staggered work, social distancing in canteens, employees taking lunch individually. They now run induction talks on entry to work and hold regular ‘toolbox’ talks to constantly reinforce new safety guidelines. Building sites are complex workplaces and employers and employees are working together to addresses any issues of concern that arise.

The industry will continue to work with the Government and follow advice and guidelines on this issue as they evolve over the coming weeks.

The CIF does not condone any behaviours that contradict the HSE’s guidelines. Any such behaviour should be reported to employers so the issue can be addressed.

ICTU and CIF are advising construction industry companies and their employees to comply with HSE guidance and protecting themselves from the COVID-19 virus.

Tom Parlon, Director General, CIF, stated: ‘Social distancing’ and compliance with HSE guidance on COVID-19 is now critical to the continuation of the construction industry and for our nation.  We urge contractors and workers to work together to enforce social distancing regardless of any impacts on productivity or deadlines.

General Secretary of Congress Patricia King said: ‘Essentially workers should adhere to social distancing guidelines, carry out regular hand washing and use gloves and masks if possible to help contain the spread of the virus in the workplace.  The HSE has issued guidelines on the Coronavirus and we recommend that this guidance is adhered to by workers in the construction industry. Congress will continue to watch the situation closely , she said.

The CIF is also asking companies to remind workers that social distancing is critical off-site and on the way to the site. Workers should not travel in groups and while visiting local businesses (shops etc) must maintain the 1-2 metre distance guideline.  Construction workers are to be commended for continuing to operate safely as they deliver essential projects that enable essential services including emergency health facilities, sewerage, electricity, power, data and water, all critical to society.