24 July 2020
On 01 May 2020 the Health and Safety Inspectorate (HSI) provided guidance on 'Welfare standards observed on construction sites during COVID-19 outbreak', the requirements for which are set out in Regulation 34 of the ‘Management in Construction (Jersey) Regulations 2016’ (Construction Regulations).
Since that time the HSI has continued to carry out targeted proactive visits of construction sites as the Government of Jersey Safe Exit Strategy observes the relaxation of public health and social measures.
We are continuing to remind the relevant contractor of their prescriptive legal requirement to ensure adequate welfare facilities are provided on their construction site. This includes a high standard of hand washing facilities which is particularly critical in view of the current COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of a high standard of hygiene in minimising the risk of transmission of the virus.
During recent site visits, the failure to provide hot running water where it was reasonably practicable to achieve has been highlighted as a particular concern. This is despite the provision of hot water often being specified in the COVID-19 plan and/or construction phase plan. On several sites the welfare facility has had the functionality to provide hot running water but has not been connected to an electrical supply to actually deliver it.
Some sites have simply relied on a kettle, which is not considered an acceptable means to provide hot water for handwashing. Any supply of hot water must be suitably regulated to offer hot water at a temperature so as not to scald the worker.
The relevant contractor must also ensure that everybody who works on a construction site has reasonable access to appropriate welfare amenities, including toilet facilities, suitable changing room, rest areas and drinking water.
Fig 1: Inadequate welfare facilities
Whilst we will only use our legal powers to secure compliance with the Law as a last resort, we will not hesitate to take such action if we feel the health and/or safety of people are being placed at significant risk. Two legal Enforcement Notices have recently been served on contractors for falling far short of the minimum standards set out in Regulation 34 of the Construction Regulations.
Guidance on the Management in Construction (Jersey) Regulations 2016 is available via the Health and Safety Inspectorate website.