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Construction industry urged to stick to safety guidance

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart has joined the Construction Industry Coronavirus (CICV) Forum in reminding the sector’s workers to stay COVID smart in their social lives and when travelling to and from jobs.

The Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning Kevin Stewart

Mr Stewart said it was “essential” for construction workers to keep following guidance to protect themselves and prevent the spread of the virus among customers, colleagues, family and friends.

And he joined the forum in paying tribute to contractors and sector staff for their patience and compliance, insisting that he appreciated the “great sacrifices” that had been made.

The Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning said: “I’d like to thank the construction workers who have been following our instructions over the past eight months to help keep themselves and others safe – but the job is far from over and, now more than ever, it’s vital that everyone keeps abiding by the guidance.

“Under the current Scottish Government rules, construction projects are being allowed to continue, so it is essential that workers keep acting responsibly and in line with guidance at all times, both on and off-site.

“I know it has been challenging for all of us and we have all had to make great sacrifices, but with winter approaching we are in a crucial stage of our fight against the pandemic, so wherever we are and whatever we’re doing we must all continue to play our part.”

Mr Stewart pointed contractors to animations produced by the CICV Forum, which offer guidance on what to do while travelling to work and the importance of physical distancing outside work, with both campaigns underpinning advice from the Scottish Government.

He added: “The animations produced by the CICV Forum are excellent and offer a clear and concise overview of the measure that we should all currently be taking.

“I would urge all construction workers in Scotland to watch this guidance and familiarise themselves with exactly what’s needed to keep themselves and those around them safe from the threat of COVID-19.

“In the coming weeks and months, our focus must be on co-operation and collaboration and the construction industry has an important role to play as we move forward with Scotland’s recovery.”

The Forum’s recent travel animation reminds workers to travel alone if possible, open windows, turn off air conditioning and clean all touchable surfaces. If sharing, workers must wear a face covering and sit apart, and share with the same people on all journeys. It also urges workers using public transport to avoid rush hour, observe physical distancing, carry hand sanitiser and use contactless payments where possible.

The collective’s social media campaign on how to behave away from work also urges contractors to “stay COVID-19 smart” by observing physical distancing when socialising.

Rebecca Crosland, chair of the CICV Forum Health and Safety sub-group and health and safety adviser at the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) said: “We are grateful to everyone who has followed the rules outside of working hours, and it is vital that workers keep observing these health and safety measures whether commuting or socialising.

“It’s no good following the rules and physically distancing on the job if all that good work is undone when they down tools at the end of the day.”

Ms Crosland added: “In all our messaging, we couldn’t make it clearer – if you don’t follow the guidance, you’re not only putting yourself at risk, you’re also threatening the safety of your workmates, your customers and friends and loved ones of all ages.

“We know it’s been hard, but we’ll keep reminding contractors up and down Scotland to take personal responsibility to help protect themselves and the wider community.”

As well as the travel and socialising advice, other forum animations have outlined safety during domestic projects, guidance on returning to work safely and giving contractors space to carry out essential work.

The forum is also currently running a series of employment and commercial webinars to help industry professionals navigate COVID-19 issues such as redundancy and restructuring and late payments.

Made up of more than 60 trade associations, private companies and professional bodies, the forum was formed in March, since when it has drawn on the collective expertise of its members to maintain a steady supply of information and practical advice to the sector.

16 November 2020

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