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Last edited 14 Mar 2022
Pandemic safety for on-site accommodations
Ensuring on-site accommodation is both safe and fit for purpose is of huge importance. With additional requirements brought to light due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has never been more essential for employers to follow all of the necessary health and safety steps to protect their workers. When it comes to creating safe on-site accommodation that is also COVID-secure, construction companies need to ensure that they have enhanced health and safety procedures in place.
 Provide additional PPE for all staff
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is incredibly important not just within the workplace but also when staff are using on-site accommodation. PPE such as masks should be provided, regularly disposed of and replaced to ensure employees are protected while they work.
 Keep facilities clean
When providing on-site accommodation for employees, construction companies need to ensure that these facilities are regularly cleaned and disinfected. Before employees enter the facilities a deep, sanitising clean should be carried out. This should be followed by regular cleaning throughout the use of the facilities to prevent the spread of bacteria.
 Make use of safety signs
Not only are standard health and safety measures important in the workplace and in on-site accommodation, but it’s also important that employees are reminded of the restrictions in place to protect them and others against COVID - for example, social distancing measures and the introduction of hand sanitising stations. Strategically place safety signs and instructions around the facilities to make it clear what is expected of employees.
All buildings including site accommodation should be well-stocked with hand sanitiser and plenty of other hygiene products to make it easy for employees to regularly keep clean but also keep their living and working spaces clean.
 Limit contact where possible
On-site accommodation for those working in construction provides employees with all of the facilities required in one individual cabin, preventing the need of sharing communal facilities such as toilets, kitchens and showers.
If this isn’t possible and communal facilities are necessary, a rota should be created to limit the number of staff members that are allowed to share the same facilities at once. This also serves as a measure to avoid large numbers of people being on-site at the same time.
 Plan the layout and accessibility of accommodation areas
The layout and occupancy of any on-site accommodation should be carefully planned to ensure that it is in line with the current COVID-19 guidelines. This might require different locations or camps to keep teams isolated from each other.
This is particularly important if becomes necessary to bring in seasonal workers from overseas, as they may be required to quarantine upon arrival. It is also helpful in situations where shielding must take place when someone may need to self-isolate. It is important to pay close attention to who is entering and leaving the site and accommodation areas at all times so it is possible to control and prevent any viral transmission.
 Ensure the correct temperature is maintained
When participants were asked to rate the importance of certain physical factors in the workplace environment, the majority of people chose comfortable temperature as their biggest concern. Air ventilation is equally important, especially in relation to COVID-19, making it essential that on-site accommodation is well-ventilated and the temperature is well maintained to keep workers comfortable and prevent any potential spread of bacteria.
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