April 7, 2020

GGF gets Government clarification on essential workers

GGF gets Government clarification on essential workers

In the last few days, the GGF has been asked by many Members for clarification on whether they should or should not remain open for business.

Having collated several differing views and interpretations of Government guidelines from the membership, internal staff and industry experts, the GGF today, wrote directly to the Ministers at the Department of Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and received an immediate reply from the Directorate of Construction who clarified the situation:

“There is currently no distinction between essential and inessential construction work in England. The Government’s position is that construction work can continue, provided the worker is not displaying symptoms of Covid19 (coronavirus), does not need to self-isolate for another reason, and that the work can be done in a manner consistent with the guidelines published by Public Health England (PHE).”

The BEIS official offered further help signposting The Construction Leadership Council’s standard Site Operating Procedures which provide advice on how the Public Health England guidelines can be applied on construction sites, which can be accessed here.

There is additional advice is available on the HSE website.

Following this clarification, the GGF also advises the following steps to help companies decide if they should continue to operate or close temporarily.

Firstly, conduct a health and safety risk assessment this should include questions such as:

  1. Can my employees work 2m apart?
  2. Have any of my employees shown symptoms of coronavirus?
  3. Are any of my employees shielding or living with anyone who has shown signs or symptoms of the coronavirus
  4. Have my customers or suppliers shown any signs of coronavirus?
  5. Can my employees wash their hands or use sanitiser at work?
  6. Do all my employees have sufficient appropriate and fully adequate PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) such as masks and gloves?

Secondly, the GGF recommends that all companies contact their Insurance Provider to ensure that Employer’s Liability & Public Liability insurance policies are unaffected during this period, as long as all the Government guidelines are adhered to.

Thirdly, make sure you have the homeowner’s consent to work in their home and also ask the homeowner if there is any risk of your employees contracting COVID-19 by entering and working in the property.

John Agnew - GGF President

John Agnew, GGF Managing Director commented, “Though we are pleased to receive such a swift and clear response from Government with clarification over this important matter, it must be noted that this a fast-moving and changing situation. I would therefore, advise all Members to look out for further updates but in the meantime, if you are open for business to ensure you are operating within the Government’s Health and Safety guidelines and social distancing guidance.”

The GGF is continuing its daily communication with various Government departments on behalf of Members and will be cascading relevant information as and when it is received.

In the meantime, Members can see updates on:

GLASSi latest issue

Covid-19 Business Continuity Support section

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