On the 28th March 2020, the Department of Health and Department of the Taoiseach issued new Directives regarding public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID19.
The Directive requires people to stay at home in all circumstances until 4th May 2020, except for those who have been deemed essential service providers who shall continue. The following is an extract of the List of Essential Service Providers under Public Health Guidelines, published 28th March 2020, Relevant Section refers below:
- essential health and related projects relevant to the COVID-19 crisis, and supplies necessary for such projects
- repair/construction of critical road and utility infrastructure
- delivery of emergency services to businesses and homes on an emergency call-out basis in areas such as electrical, plumbing, glazing and roofing
Health & Safety
Under our role as PSDP on projects and in particular in relation to requirements under the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Construction Regulations, 2013, the PSDP’s primary role is to co-ordinate health and safety during design. The primary input during construction is to co-ordinate temporary works, specialist designers and Safety Files. Notwithstanding this, we would also comment and communicate with the PSCS on any health and safety issues observed on sites.
In relation to the current Covid – 19 situation, our advice would be that the mitigation measures advised by the Department of Health and other relevant government authorities are adopted on site by the Contractor and PSCS and strictly adhered to.
A Covid-19 Mitigation Plan developed by the Contractor would be a useful tool for the Contractor to demonstrate how they will adhere to the current HSE guidelines and also assist in communicating these guidelines to site staff. We would suggest that this plan also includes the following:
- An appropriate assessment of the risk for COVID-19 in the workplace should be carried out,
- Suitable control measures be identified and implemented to mitigate the risk of infection.
- Measures must also be communicated to all relevant employees and others at the place of work.
- An audit trail of those actions should be maintained so that it can be referred back to in the future, if necessary.
Key responsibility in relation to COVID – 19 on sites lies with Contractor and PSCS. Contractors must be aware of the “Safety, Health & Welfare at Work (Biological Agents) Regulations, 2013 as every site is now a potential infected site.