COVID-19 Policy

1.0 Company Statement:

 Dortech does work across a number of projects that have been defined as ‘critical’, by Graham Watts, the Chief Executive of the Construction Industry Council (24th March 2020). Some of the relevant project types include:

  • Make good unsafe buildings/dangerous structures –District Surveyors need powers to instruct emergency work to be done to make them safe if any occur – and a hastily abandoned site might just lead to a dangerous structure occurring.
  • All general building control work (both LABC and AIs) for nationally important buildings/facilities, e.g. NHS estate, GPs, etc.
  • Fire safety inspections
  • Glazing replacement
  • Locksmithing/lock replacement
  • Essential maintenance and remediation across the health sector

 The Government has implemented stringent public health measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. While in general terms these measures prevent citizens from leaving their homes, the Government’s published guidance states that a person may leave their home if they are ‘travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home’.

 For construction projects specifically, the Government made it clear that construction and manufacturing are two key sectors that must continue working, a point emphasised by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick who said on Twitter, ‘If you can work from home, do so. If you are working on site, you can continue to do so. But follow Public Health England guidance on social distancing’. The point about construction remaining open for business was further reinforced on BBC1 breakfast news by Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove.

 Furthermore, a letter from the Secretary of State to the UKs construction sector issued on the 31st March endorses the continuation of construction activity, so long as they are carried out in accordance with Site Operating Procedures published by the Construction Leadership Council. This letter also states that, ‘The Government has advised that wherever possible, people should work at home. However, we know that for many people working in construction their job requires them to travel to their place of work, and they can continue to do so. This is consistent with the Chief Medical Officer’s advice.’

 As part of this process of ensuring we can continue to operate within the Guidelines stipulated by the Government, Dortech has implemented home working for the large majority of our staff. Not only does this protect them personally from higher risks of infection, it will allow us to facilitate our client’s demands in an effective way. As with many companies, we have adopted a video conferencing communications strategy and conduct daily managerial video conferencing meetings. During this change please continue to use the normal email addresses and telephone number you have previously used.

 Our Factory personnel are all working under safe systems of work, under the guidance issued by Public Health England, which includes but are not limited to:

  • The installation of wall-mounted hand sanitiser dispensers,
  • 2-meter social distancing rules for all staff,
  • Safety gloves for all factory staff,
  • Respiratory protection provided to all factory and site operatives,
  • Segmentation/zoning of work areas, including goods in/out.

 Our site teams are working in accordance with the Site Operating Procedures (SOP), which were published by the Construction Leadership Council.

 We are keeping in constant communication with our suppliers to ensure supply disruption is monitored and minimised as far as possible. At this moment in time we have experienced some disruption to material supply with glass and aluminium profile supply from the continent, which may consequently affect our lead times across some, but not all of the projects we are involved with. Your respective company contact will be able to supply you with more information as it becomes available. Please also feel free to contact us at any stage should you require any further clarity.

 We want to support our customers through this difficult time, so as long as our customers remain open and require supplies, we will continue to manufacture, deliver, install, or inspect & maintain as much as we are able to, provided it is safe to do so.

 These are challenging times and the situation is constantly changing. Over the coming days and weeks, we will be reviewing our operations to ensure that we respond to these changing external conditions and Government guidelines.

2.0 Guidance for Employees

 We have been monitoring closely the developing situation regarding the Coronavirus and we are following the advice from NHS, Construction Industry Council and the UK Government.

 It is impossible to predict the full impact the virus will have on our business. However, we have looked at some possible scenarios and set out the Company’s position in this document, along with general information and advice.

 

3.0 What is Corona Virus (Corvid-19)

 COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a type of coronavirus. It is an infectious disease. The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).

 

4.0 What are the symptoms?

 Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment.  Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

 The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol based rub frequently and not touching your face.

 The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

 

  • A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above) v– this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital if you have these symptoms. Stay at home.

 

5.0 What to do if you need medical help:

 

  • If you need medical help for any reason, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
  • If you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature or a new, continuous cough), use the 111 coronavirus service.
  • Visit the NHS online self-diagnosis website: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19

 

 

6.0 Are there any treatments available?

 

At this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19. However, there are many ongoing clinical trials evaluating potential treatments. WHO will continue to provide updated information as soon as clinical findings become available.

 

7.0 Measures to help stop the spread of coronavirus:

 

  • Ensure you are 2 metres apart from anyone
  • wash your hands with soap and water often – for at least 20 seconds
  • wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hand or not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

 

8.0 Company responsibilities

 

  • To monitor the ongoing advice regarding travel overseas and management of the coronavirus.
  • To notify you if the government advises that you should not travel to the planned location.
  • To regularly monitor the emerging situation with the Coronavirus and update advice as and when relevant.

 

We reserve the right to ban unnecessary business travel, utilising all available technology and alternatives to travel and face-to-face meetings.

 

 

9.0 Site operating procedures - protecting your workforce

 

Andy Mitchell, chair of the government’s Construction Leadership Council and Construction Industry Taskforce regarding construction site operating procedures in light of covid-19 pandemic restrictions.

 Construction sites operating during the coronavirus covid-19 pandemic need to ensure they are protecting their workforce and minimising the risk of spread of infection.

 This guidance is intended to introduce consistent measures on sites of all sizes in line with the government’s recommendations on social distancing.

 These are exceptional circumstances and the industry must comply with the latest government advice on coronavirus at all times.

 If a site is not consistently implementing the measures set out below, it may be required to shut down.

 

Self-isolation

Anyone who meets one of the following criteria should not come to site:

 

  • Has a high temperature or a new persistent cough - follow the guidance on self-isolation
  • Is a vulnerable person (by virtue of their age, underlying health condition, clinical condition or are pregnant)
  • Is living with someone in self-isolation or a vulnerable person.

 

Procedure if someone falls ill

If a worker develops a high temperature or a persistent cough while at work, they should:

 

  • Return home immediately
  • Avoid touching anything
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue and put it in a bin, or if they do not have tissues, cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow.
  • They must then follow the guidance on self-isolation and not return to work until their period of self-isolation has been completed.

 

Travel to site

Wherever possible workers should travel to site alone using their own transport and sites need to consider:

 

  • Parking arrangements for additional cars and bicycles
  • Other means of transport to avoid public transport e.g. cycling
  • Providing hand cleaning facilities at entrances and exits. This should be soap and water wherever possible or hand sanitiser if water is not available
  • How someone is taken ill would get home.

 

Site access points:

  • Stop all non-essential visitors
  • Introduce staggered start and finish times to reduce congestion and contact at all times
  • Monitor site access points to enable social distancing – you may need to change the number of access points, either increase to reduce congestion or decrease to enable monitoring
  • Remove or disable entry systems that require skin contact e.g. fingerprint scanners
  • Require all workers to wash or clean their hands before entering or leaving the site
  • Allow plenty of space (two metres) between people waiting to enter site
  • Regularly clean common contact surfaces in reception, office, access control and delivery areas e.g. scanners, turnstiles, screens, telephone handsets, desks, particularly during peak flow times
  • Reduce the number of people in attendance at site inductions and consider holding them outdoors wherever possible
  • Drivers should remain in their vehicles if the load will allow it and must wash or clean their hands before unloading goods and materials.

 

Hand washing:

  • Provide additional hand washing facilities to the usual welfare facilities if a large spread out site or significant numbers of personnel on site
  • Ensure soap and fresh water is readily available and kept topped up at all times
  • Provide hand sanitiser where hand washing facilities are unavailable
  • Regularly clean the hand washing facilities and check soap and sanitiser levels
  • Provide suitable and sufficient rubbish bins for hand towels with regular removal and disposal.
  • Sites will need extra supplies of soap, hand sanitiser and paper towels and these should be securely stored.

 

Toilet facilities:

  • Restrict the number of people using toilet facilities at any one time e.g. use a welfare attendant
  • Wash hands before and after using the facilities
  • Enhance the cleaning regimes for toilet facilities particularly door handles, locks and the toilet flush
  • Portable toilets should be avoided wherever possible, but where in use these should be cleaned and emptied more frequently
  • Provide suitable and sufficient rubbish bins for hand towels with regular removal and disposal.

 

Canteens and eating arrangements:

With cafés and restaurants having been closed across the UK, canteens cannot operate as normal.

Whilst there is a requirement for construction sites to provide a means of heating food and making hot drinks, these are exceptional circumstances and where it is not possible to introduce a means of keeping equipment clean between use, kettles, microwaves etc. must be removed from use. The workforce should also be required to stay on site once they have entered it and not use local shops.

 

  • Dedicated eating areas should be identified on site to reduce food waste and contamination
  • Break times should be staggered to reduce congestion and contact at all times
  • Hand cleaning facilities or hand sanitiser should be available at the entrance of any room where people eat and should be used by workers when entering and leaving the area
  • The workforce should be asked to bring pre-prepared meals and refillable drinking bottles from home
  • Workers should sit 2 metres apart from each other whilst eating and avoid all contact
  • Where catering is provided on site, it should provide pre-prepared and wrapped food only
  • Payments should be taken by contactless card wherever possible
  • Crockery, eating utensils, cups etc. should not be used
  • Drinking water should be provided with enhanced cleaning measures of the tap mechanism introduced
  • Tables should be cleaned between each use
  • All rubbish should be put straight in the bin and not left for someone else to clear up
  • All areas used for eating must be thoroughly cleaned at the end of each break and shift, including chairs, door handles, vending machines and payment devices.

 

Changing facilities, showers and drying rooms:

  • Introduce staggered start and finish times to reduce congestion and contact at all times
  • Introduce enhanced cleaning of all facilities throughout the day and at the end of each day
  • Consider increasing the number or size of facilities available on site if possible
  • Based on the size of each facility, determine how many people can use it at any one time to maintain a distance of two metres
  • Provide suitable and sufficient rubbish bins in these areas with regular removal and disposal.

 

Avoiding close working:

There will be situations where it is not possible or safe for workers to distance themselves from each other by 2 metres.

 

General principles:

  • Non-essential physical work that requires close contact between workers should not be carried out
  • Work requiring skin to skin contact should not be carried out
  • Plan all other work to minimise contact between workers
  • Re-usable PPE should be thoroughly cleaned after use and not shared between workers
  • Single use PPE should be disposed of so that it cannot be reused
  • Stairs should be used in preference to lifts or hoists
  • Where lifts or hoists must be used:
  • Lower their capacity to reduce congestion and contact at all times
  • Regularly clean touchpoints, doors, buttons etc.
  • Increase ventilation in enclosed spaces
  • Regularly clean the inside of vehicle cabs and between use by different operators.

 

Site meetings

  • Only absolutely necessary meeting participants should attend
  • Attendees should be two metres apart from each other
  • Rooms should be well ventilated / windows opened to allow fresh air circulation
  • Consider holding meetings in open areas where possible.

 

Cleaning:

Enhanced cleaning procedures should be in place across the site, particularly in communal areas and at touch points including:

  • Taps and washing facilities
  • Toilet flush and seats
  • Door handles and push plates
  • Handrails on staircases and corridors
  • Lift and hoist controls
  • Machinery and equipment controls
  • Food preparation and eating surfaces
  • Telephone equipment
  • Key boards, photocopiers and other office equipment
  • Rubbish collection and storage points should be increased and emptied regularly throughout and at the end of each day.