Construction gears up for a return to work
The Construction Industry Standards and Protocols Group has been involved in drafting a health and safety framework to help keep workers, and the public, safe.
The standards and protocols are available for free download.
Chief executive of Naylor Love and Construction Sector Accord member Rick Herd says; “Throughout the lockdown, industry leaders have been working hard behind the scenes to pull together the health and safety information vital to getting sites safely up and running as soon as we get the green light from the Government.
“The industry has been battling tough times in the face of the COVID-19 lockdown, with all but essential sites shut down.
“We want everyone in the supply chain to get back on their feet and do their bit to rebuild New Zealand’s economy.
“The standards and protocols that have been developed give strong assurance to our workers, government and the public that we can do this safely.”
Site Safe chief Brett Murray says the industry has come together to produce this framework, and the work has involved the civil, vertical and residential sectors, as well as health and safety organisations Construction Health and Safety NZ (CHASNZ) and Site Safe.
“We want our members to be able to get back to work as quickly, and as safely, as possible. The framework that has been developed, which consists of a set of standards and a set of protocols, is in accordance with official advice and will ensure workers, their families, and the community are kept as safe as possible.”
Industry standard-setting body CHASNZ, in consultation with industry, has developed an overarching standard to help control the pandemic risk and two protocols have been developed: one targeted at the civil and vertical sector, and the other at residential.
CHASNZ chief Chris Alderson says; “The protocols developed by industry and Site Safe, and the protocols developed by the residential leaders, will sit underneath that standard and will essentially form the detailed ‘how-to’ guidance on managing risks on construction sites around the country.”
With input from over 50 businesses, including some of New Zealand’s largest constructors, Civil Contractors NZ, the Vertical Leaders Group, residential leaders, SMEs and unions, the framework has been endorsed by the Construction Sector Accord and is being welcomed by those in the civil, vertical and residential sectors.
“Civil construction is going to play a massive part in getting New Zealand back up and running,” says CCNZ chief Peter Silcock.
“We welcome this framework and believe it will effectively mitigate the risk.”
Today’s government announcement that construction will be able to operate under COVID-19 Alert Level 3 is a huge relief to us all, Peter adds.
“The civil construction industry can and will take the lead role in an expanded work programme through the NZ Upgrade Programme and new local infrastructure projects. There are great opportunities ahead.
“But first and foremost we need to get our current staff safely back to work and make sure they can stay on the job.”
Having a clear and consistent approach for contractors, subcontractors and everyone else on site will reduce confusion and negotiation, taking the strain off at a pivotal time, he says.
“To assist in understanding and answer any questions you may have about the new protocols, CCNZ Technical Manager Stacy Goldsworthy will host a webinar explaining the details on Monday (April 20) – I encourage you all to register.
“We need to look after each other as we move out of lockdown and understand people will feel apprehensive about returning to work. Some may have children or vulnerable people at home.
“We need to show support, communicate well and provide help when it is needed. Mates in Construction is there to help if one of your staff needs help.”
The Construction Accord has massively changed how Government and industry have worked together, says Peter.
“We have seen a commitment from government clients to fair contract terms. COVID-19 has been recognised as a variation of contract. Clients have been instructed to consider early payments and additional hardship.
“We also need to ensure head contractors treat subbies and the supply chain in the same way – with fairness and understanding.
“What better time for CCNZ contractor members to support each other, and for all contractors to support the associate members that have supported the industry through the years.”