Covid-19 Safety Protocols – Industry-led
Back in late April, the construction industry tooled up to get back to work. To ensure it was done in the safest way possible industry leaders pulled together to draft a health and safety framework to help keep workers, and the public, safe from Covid-19
Throughout the lockdown, industry representatives were working hard behind the scenes to pull together the health and safety information required to get sites safely up and running as soon as the green light from government was received.
“We needed to ensure everyone in the supply chain got back on their feet to help rebuild New Zealand’s economy,” said Rick Herd, Chief Executive of Naylor Love and a member of the Construction Sector Accord.
“The standards and protocols for levels two and three were developed to give strong assurance to our workers, government and the public that we could do this safely.”
Site Safe Chief Executive Brett Murray says it was heartening to see industry representatives come together to produce the frameworks, including those from the civil, vertical and residential sectors, as well as health and safety organisations Construction Health and Safety NZ (CHASNZ) and Site Safe.
“We wanted our members to be able to get back to work as quickly and as safely as possible,” said Murray. “The frameworks that were developed, which consist of a set of standards and protocols, were in accordance with official advice and designed to help ensure workers, their whānau, and the community are kept as safe as possible.”
Standard-setting body CHASNZ, in consultation with the wider industry, developed an overarching standard to help control the risk of Covid-19.
Two protocols have been developed: one targeted at the civil and vertical sector, and the other at residential.
According to CHASNZ Chief Executive Chris Alderson, the protocols sit underneath that standard and essentially inform the detailed ‘how to’ guidance on managing Covid-19 risks on construction sites around the country.
With input from over 50 businesses – including some of New Zealand’s largest constructors, Civil Contractors NZ, the Vertical Leaders Group, residential leaders, SMEs and unions – the framework has been endorsed by the Construction Sector Accord and was welcomed by all sectors.
“Civil construction is playing a massive part in getting New Zealand back up and running,” Civil Contractors NZ Chief Executive Peter Silcock said.
“We need to be clear on how to keep our people and the public safe. This framework effectively mitigates the risk of Covid-19.”
The protocols and standards were developed to recognise the challenges faced by all parts of the sector, from large contractors to small residential builders.
Registered Master Builders Association Chief Executive David Kelly welcomed the frameworks and said the documents were crucial for the many residential builders looking for guidance on how to do their bit.
“It’s critical that everyone in the industry follows the processes agreed to in this guidance. We need to demonstrate that, as an industry, we can work safely, as no one wants to see us return to Level 4. That means the whole of the industry needs to work together on this.”
The guidance for residential has been produced in English and Mandarin and has been amended for level 2 so make sure you have the latest version, which is available HERE.
Make sure to read thoroughly as some of the answers are in the protocols.
Site Safe is a not-for-profit, membership-based organisation that supports a culture of health and safety in New Zealand construction. For more information go to: www.sitesafe.org.nz