Back on Site
2nd June 2020
Back on Site with Gary Punter
As some of our sites begin to re-open with new social distancing and safety measures, we took the opportunity to speak to our lead site manager Gary Punter about the challenges and achievements of returning to work under these unfamiliar circumstances. Read on for a unique insight into what its been like returning to our sites.
What has the mood been like returning to sites?
People have been looking forward to getting back to work. It’s been a long period of time without work for many and returning to sites has helped overcome some of the mental pressure the lockdown has created. Naturally this has been mixed with a bit of anxiety given the Covid-19 outbreak. The key to overcoming any uncertainty returning to site, was to limit the number of people on site for the first week back and increase it over the coming weeks.
This staggered approach gave the people on site the confidence that our workplaces were safe and we were following the guidelines by CLC (Construction Leadership Council ). This introductory stage also gave us as a company reassurances that we could make it work.
What have been the main challenges returning to site?
As soon the government announced the lockdown we were working on how we could get our sites up and running safely, getting our sub-contractors to update their Risk Assessments and Method Statements to take on board COVID-19. This was a big challenge, as it was something that the industry and ITC hadn’t previously faced. We were fortunate as three of our sites including St. Helier Hospital were considered “essential” by the Government, allowing us to introduce our covid-19 safety measures immediately on live sites.
People returning to our sites were already familiar with the 2m distancing guidelines enforced by the government, which made introducing this on site more straight forward. However, their remains a risk of people returning to old habits and we plan to address this with our future on-site signage and guidelines.
How difficult has it been to implement the safety guidelines?
We have done an excellent job in getting our new safety messages across on our sites. Our morning COVID Toolbox talks sessions have really helped to make people aware of their responsibilities on site.
“We have done an excellent job in getting our new safety messages across on our sites.”
We have “Keep 2m Apart” signage on our hi-vis vests and on the floors and walls, which provide a constant reminder to everyone on site to stay safe, keep their distance and wash hands. People are aware of the threat of COVID-19 and have been very pro-active in doing their bit to make our sites safe.
Which safety measures have been most successful and why?
The frequency and visibility of our 2m social distancing signage and workwear has really helped get this message across to everyone on site. Equally mobile sanitiser stations and reminders to wash hands, have helped remind people to maintain hygiene standards. The COVID-19 Toolbox Talks have also been really successful, allowing everyone to have their say before the days work commences.
What will be the biggest site safety challenges going forward?
As people get used to being back on site, there is always a risk of returning to the more familiar work practices from before Lockdown. For this reason, we believe avoiding complacency and continuing to follow Construction Leadership Council guidelines is one of the biggest challenges that we expect to face in the coming weeks and months.
Are there any plans for additional safety measures on site?
We are introducing a second phase of signage on sites, which focuses on complacency prevention. Complacency can creep in after the initial return to site period and these new messages are designed to remind people of their responsibilities on site
Keep an eye out for the new safety signage on sites.
Remember to stay safe and following the safety measures on site at all times.