As we start to think about our return to work over the coming weeks, there are a number of government guidelines that we are expected to follow, in order to keep ourselves and our fellow workers safe.
As we implement these social distancing measures on building sites and in the workplace, it is important to document and keep a record for insurance purposes. This ensures that should a future claim be made against you; you can prove you took the correct measures to protect everyone on site.
There are several things to consider implementing before you start back. The team here at FMB Insurance have put together a guide to help you prepare.
- Check your insurance is still relevant and has the correct limits – If you reduced your cover during the lockdown then you need to make sure you have the right level of cover for when you return, to ensure that staff and the work you do is covered fully. This applies to all insurance policies and warranties, from New Homes to Liability.
- You should have notified your insurer that you were stopping work, and you will also need to notify them that work has restarted. Again, this applies to all insurance policies and warranties, from New Homes to Liability.
- Any changes to specifications, timelines and phasing should be communicated. Check your contract with your client and notify your insurer/warranty provider if work is to take longer than initially planned, and the specifications have changed. If there is a change to the materials being used on site (such as different plasterboard, cement or bricks) please notify FMB Insurance and keep a log; in the event of a claim we can then be sure who used what, when and why the specification changed. With some materials being currently difficult to source, try to avoid using suppliers offering cheaper alternatives to the more well-known and approved products. You will also need to confirm if any anticipated completion dates have changed so that any onsite inspections can be rearranged to fit the new construction timetable.
- Inspections- take into consideration that inspections may need to be undertaken virtually if social distancing cannot be complied with. Contact your inspection body or warranty provider for further information on this.
- Communication with both the homeowners and employees in general is key. Ensure they are aware of any changes made to contracts and the working environment and that you have proof of signatures.
- Have you done a risk assessment? You should be complying with government guidelines. As the builder, you should undertake a risk assessment of the situation, including discussing any concerns from workers and clients. It is vital that the risk involved in each job is assessed and documented, and that key considerations around health and welfare are the primary concerns for any work you undertake.
- Update your site Health & Safety Guidance and make sure your workers understand it. You will likely need to update your existing health and safety processes on site to ensure you and your workforce are compliant with updated guidance. You should communicate any changes in procedures to your workforce. Employees should be asked to acknowledge in writing that they have read and understood the new guidance. This also applies to clients and working in their homes. Provide staff and clients with copies of the risk assessment and health & safety procedures as well as any other relevant information. These records should be kept so that in the event of an insurance claim you can prove everyone on site acted within the guidance available at the time. No work should be carried out in households which are self-isolating, are shielded, or are showing coronavirus symptoms unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the household, such as emergency plumbing, heating or electrical repairs, or other safety risk, and where the trades person is willing to do so, taking all possible precautions. Consider also how staff can notify you of any concerns or breaches in Health & Safety. Keep a daily log. Also consider keeping receipts for any additional PPE purchases to show you’re improving safety measures.
We’ve also suggested some social distancing tips to consider in the workplace:
- Keep workers 2 meters apart and homeowners should avoid work areas.
- Don’t accept or share food and drink. Bring your own.
- Consider washing and bathroom facility access and wash your hands more.
- Take breaks separately.
- Use Electronic payments
- Don't share tools or PPE
- Wash your clothes daily. Wash re-usable PPE (such as safety glasses) daily.
- Wear face coverings.
- Fewer people on site at one time. Work in shifts where possible.
- Keep a tidy site.
- Deliveries - maintain social distancing and hygiene measures
Keep each other safe. Keep yourself protected. Safeguard your business from potential future claims.
For further information or help please call our team on 01353 652760.
Further guidance on starting back to work is also available here, for members from the FMB.