Worktop fabricators get guidance on continuing work during the current lockdown

Guidance for working through the current lockdown comes from the WFF.

The Worktop Fabricators Federation (WFF) has passed on a fresh warning to its members in the face of the new year lockdown to make sure their covid precautions are up to date. 

Secretary General Chris Pateman took part in an all-building-industry conference call on Wednesday (6 January) when the message was given priority.

Yes, says Chris, construction sites are fully encouraged to carry on working during this latest lockdown "but we should all, please, be aware that both the risks and the scrutiny level have ratcheted up".

He said:

  • Government has asked HSE specifically for details of transmission rates linked to construction sites and will be monitoring any changes. 
  • We are faced with a more virulent strain of virus than during last year’s Spring lockdown.
  • We also have the compounding effect of shorter days and worse weather.
  • And familiarity has a tendency to breed if not contempt, then at least a degree of complacency.

As a result of all this, some main contractors have decided to undertake a site standdown across the country in order to revise and refresh all their covid precautions. 

“It is strongly suggested we should all do the same kind of thing,” Chris tells the WFF members.

“Small-seeming little things like making sure drivers pull their masks fully up before leaving the cab (and keep them on if they are having to share a cab), so we don’t get unhelpful pictures in the press suggesting building sites are sloppy…”

He has given WFF members a daily Covid checklist produced for builders merchants because, he says, it contains a lot of the kind of obvious things that can get overlooked in the familiarity of day to day routine. 

The WFF produced its own Return To Work guide following last Spring’s lockdown, which remains relevant for site working now.

The Construction Leadership Council says it will update its Operating Procedures guidelines this week, although it confirmed on the all-building-industry conference call that it will not be materially different from October’s version, with just a few updates to reflect, for example, that it is no longer necessary to have a QR code in the works canteen.

With renewed reports of police stopping vehicles and asking drivers why they are out, Chris sent WFF members a template of BuildUK’s authorisation letter for operatives so that members can personalise it on their own letterhead and fill in operative names for them to show police as a precaution in case they are stopped.

WFF members also got the official best-practice guidelines about working in peoples’ homes, revised in December, from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

Guidance from The Tile Association underscores WFF’s position that it is permissible for trade customers to visit suppliers’ premises to select and inspect products. Chris says: “The spirit of the regulation is about stopping members of the public coming into showrooms to browse, not about preventing trade customers from doing their work.”