SAEMA – Specialist Access Engineering and Maintenance Association – is pleased to share the following content from Heating & Ventilation Review.
SAEMA has a long history in delivering the best training and guidance in the temporary and permanent suspended access industry. The association is committed to advancing safety through raising the standards in best practice.
The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has issued an urgent warning that the construction sector risks being shut down by the government if contractors fail to follow safety measures in the face of rising COVID-19 transmission rates.
Firms need to ensure they are following standard operating procedures (SOPs), introduce testing and in London support the reduction of overcrowding on the tube.
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said it was important that “firms and tradespeople in the construction sector and its supply chain, including merchants, suppliers and product manufacturers, should continue to operate during this national lockdown”.
“You are making a hugely valued and critical contribution to our country,” he said in an open letter.
However, there are growing concerns that as transmission rates rise, public and government opinion may yet change, resulting in a COVID construction shutdown.
“It is crucial that we break the cycle of transmission in this particularly hazardous phase of the pandemic,” said BESA’s chief David Frise. “The Government is solidly behind keeping construction and its related professions working, but we must do everything we can to keep our people and the general public safe if we want to continue enjoying that support.”
Community testing is now being rolled out across the country and is particularly focused on people who are unable to work from home including those employed on construction sites and carrying out essential building services in homes and commercial properties.
BESA echoed a warning from the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) calling on contractors to review their safety arrangements in the face of the new more transmissive COVID-19 variant and to abide by the Site Operating Procedures (SOPs), which were updated this week.
CLC chair Andy Mitchell also urged firms to “critically challenge what works can genuinely not be done at home” and those travelling to sites to minimise their use of public transport.
BESA has also received an urgent message from the Secretary of State for Transport and Transport for London, indicating that there is significant pressure on the public transport network in London and the Government is looking at options for reducing the number of passengers at peak times.
If the situation does not improve and construction workers are identified as significantly contributing to overcrowding then more direct action or restrictions could be imposed.