March Focus – COVID 19 Protocols for Key workers in FM and Construction

The HSE issued its second email in 24 hours in regards to Face-fitting requirements for RPE. 

However the current issues facing FM providers and essential construction related trades include how best to continue to provide vital support services while not being able to procure supplies or rely solely on equipment such as RPE and PPE. 



PPE including RPE is a the last control measure, in the hierarchy of risk controls.

We understand the pressures that face key companies or teams to adhere to contractually agreed programmes and maintain critical services even in the face of the current pandemic, despite the most recent Government guidelines to work from home (where at all possible) and maintain social distancing. Estates facilities management teams and associated related trades, must continue to provide their vital services for as long as possible, while ensuring that operatives and their families are as safeguarded as far as reasonably practicable.

For key workers at this time such as essential Estates/NHS Services/Data centers and all other vital FM providers, a quick reminder that generally PPE and RPE are to be considered the last measures of defence. In the case of the current pandemic they carry their own risks such as changing filters, face-fitting, re-using and cleaning and visibility to do critical operations are all issues which must also be considered before you allocate  RPE.

Additional cleaning and hygiene procedures must be applied to all kit, and if need be disposable coveralls and nitrile gloves may well be the most vital PPE to consider at this time depending on the work you are tasked with.

The best means of defence at this time for these workers and construction workers in general, continue to be as follows:

    • Advise workers they must self-isolate if they have any underlying or severe medical condition or suspect they have been exposed to the COVID-19 by another person in your household or place of business at any time
    • Advise workers to speak to their line-managers if there are vulnerable people at home.
    • If you must work, maintain 2 meters of physical separation from others. This includes use of welfare areas for rest breaks.
    • Maintain and ensure facilities providers or client sites provide a higher level of hygiene facilities, procedures and supplies. Wash hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep all reachable surfaces clean with anti-bacterial sprays, wear disposable gloves only once, ensure you have abundant supplies.
    • Site inductions, RAMS reviews/TBT and all other forms of communication can be done using mobiles and emails.
    • It is recommended that  individuals do not car-share or use public transport at this time.
    • Remind all workers if they feel fevered or exhibit any COVID-19  reported symptoms, to call the HR department or line manager and follow your company’s contingency procedures and do not go to work.
    • Refresh emergency procedures. If an accident is to occur now, delays with emergency services are likely, ensure access to fully trained first-aiders is appropriate and available.

At this time we urge all employers to continue to consider additional staff upskilling, training and advance resource-planning to be able to continue in the event that core teams become severely affected.