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November 2020


29 Oct 2020, Health & Safety, Prove Your Know How, Site Safe

Kiwi construction businesses have been doing what it takes to adapt to new site protocols in the face of Covid-19. Site Safe looks at some of the practical measures businesses are taking and how it’s been going

As New Zealanders, we’re great at thinking outside the box or coming up with a ‘number 8 wire’ approach to solving problems. We’re also great at mucking in and getting the job done – and the Covid-19 safety protocols are a great example of this. When the pandemic struck, the industry came together to proactively put in place a set of procedures that would allow everyone to get back out on site as soon as possible, and to do so without putting our people, and the public, at risk.

But what was it like working under Level 3 after the relative ease of working under Level 1?

Health and safety manager at Auckland-based Kalmar Construction AJ Staples, says it’s about everyone on site working together

“It’s really all about that cooperation between contractors and suppliers and everyone communicating and working together,” says Staples.

In addition to the complying with the industry protocols, Kalmar has focused on encouraging handwashing, not just sanitising, and has invested in extra wash basins and new technology which enables better contact tracing and sign-in processes.

It’s important that everyone maintains their focus on beating the virus, Staples says.

“This is something that’s going to be with us for a long while. Yes, there will still be some difficulties as it’s a new way of doing things, but it needs to be sustained.”

Site Safe’s safety advisors have seen a great range of practical ideas being put in place out on site at Levels 2 and 3, including:


  • Remote inductions and contact tracing forms – some bigger sites are now sending out their induction information by email before contractors arrive on site. This can include a contact tracing questionnaire. In addition to the Ministry of Health QR codes, some sites have added their own QR code outside the gate, so that workers can complete the questionnaire before entering.
  • Toolbox talks – some main contractors are now doing these by email/remotely.
  • Prestart meetings – some sites are asking for one representative from each crew to attend the briefing; this person is then responsible for reporting back to the rest of their team
  • Meetings – video conferencing tools have been key in cutting down face-to-face meetings.
  • Staggered breaks/meals – roster systems for smokos and lunches have been put in place.
  • Break rooms and common areas – tables have been separated to allow for increased distancing.
  • Solo travelling – workers have been travelling to site in their own vehicles to allow for distancing and improved hygiene.
  • Entries and exits – sites are operating a one-way system for stairs, entries and exits.
  • Mobile apps – these can detect when individuals arrive and leave a site, recording their status in the site database.


  • Larger sites that previously had a turnstile entry system with finger-print scanning operating have replaced these in favour of a security officer recording sign in details at the entrance.
  • More sites are using professional cleaning services and increasing the frequency of cleaning.
  • Increased use of PPE such as masks and gloves.
  • Multiple foot-operated handwash stations located around the site.
  • Hand sanitiser mounted on cones – so you can’t miss it!
  • Temperature checks.
  • Hygiene posters at key locations on site.
  • Wheelie bins set up as hygiene stations.

These are just some of the measures that we’ve noticed on site – if you’re interested in adding your own, WorkSafe has set up a website called BetterWorkNZ, which is designed to allow businesses to share and collaborate on better ways of working – including ways to cope with Covid-19 challenges.

If you would like to know if your health and safety is on track, Site Safe can work with you to review and improve your health and safety performance. Contact sitesafe.org.nz to get in touch with a health and safety advisor.

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


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