How to cope with COVID-19 on site?

We interviewed Lee Wilmhurst, MD of Steelbuild to discuss how they’re coping with social distancing and COVID-19 on site. Lee shared some of the measures they’ve taken to keep staff safe while supporting on site and the process he went through to reach these processes.

What was your initial response to the threat of COVID-19?

We took it back to basics and rolled out training internally, starting with myself. I found some training from the World Health Organisation where I gained an understanding of the virus and possible prevention methods and control measures which can be used.

Once I had my understanding, we rolled that training out to the rest of the staff so we had a basic understanding, a bit similar to asbestos awareness, so everyone had a respect for what they were working with.

What measures have you put in place  to reduce the risk presented by COVID-19 on site?

Firstly, we created an online platform where staff fill in a daily form which asks about their symptoms and it creates a traffic light system to indicate their level of risk. This triggers a response based on the result and gives everyone peace of mind knowing symptoms are being closely monitored.

We’ve brought in hard hats with fully engaged face shields which are easily engaged and detracted. Then, we have the standard FFP3 face masks which are a last resort for us. We’ve also implemented 5 sets of overalls and gloves for staff so they can wear a new set everyday over their clothes while on site.

We’ve also created a buddy scheme by strategically pairing up members of staff to work together for the foreseeable future. This builds trust between team members and limits their exposure.

How did you initially bring this process to construction sites? Where did you start?

We were very fortunate to be on a very large Wates residential scheme, Wembley E01 installing 610 Sapphire Glide-On balconies as well as a metalwork package. This was a very large-scale job with a very good customer who have bought into this programme and gone over and above to deliver the guidelines.

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