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Last edited 01 Mar 2021
Social distancing compliance marshal
Building sites can present a great number of risks to health and safety, both in construction and operation. There are many duties placed on those commissioning, designing, constructing, operating and demolishing buildings to control those risks.
In the aftermath of the coronavirus, health and safety responsibilities have prompted the emergence of a new role on construction sites - that of the social distancing compliance marshal (also known as the C-19 compliance marshal, coronavirus compliance officer or coronavirus champion). This person is responsible for supporting, verifying and enforcing post-pandemic health and safety requirements on construction sites.
 Government guidelines
- Coming to work and leaving work.
- Moving around buildings and construction sites.
- Making the main workplace safe for people who work statically.
- Common areas.
- Accidents, security and other incidents.
- Initiate hand washing (especially when workers arrive on site).
- Oversee surface cleaning (particularly on security access control equipment and other devices that are frequently touched).
- Monitor distances between people and reinforce the 2m rule (with barriers or designated one-way direction of travel systems).
- Reduce team sizes (or set up designated fixed work zones).
- Establish equipment rotations to minimise the need for several people to come into contact with tools.
- Institute staggered site arrival and departure times.
- Minimise travel on and off site.
- Hold inductions and other meetings outdoors, whenever possible.
- Alert workers about any changes to site procedures and become involved in developing communications programmes related to COVID-19.
Based on government guidelines, the responsibilities of a social distancing compliance marshal generally fall into two categories: proactive and reactive. Proactive tasks are those actions that happen on a regular basis. This can include:
- Providing management with documentation of issues or concerns that have been reported.
- Updating signage and informing workers of any changes regarding access restrictions or limitations.
- Monitoring and maintaining the availability of cleaning supplies.
- Enforcing social distancing measures (and reporting on intentional non-compliance).
- Helping workers find alternative methods of work to minimise risk.
Social distancing compliance marshals should follow predetermined protocols to isolate the person in question. If infection is confirmed, contact tracing can be supported through the use of personnel logs and other records that track staff movements on site. As with other health and safety compliance measures, records must be kept of any reportable injury, dangerous occurrence or disease - including suspected cases of coronavirus,
 Training requirements
As a new occupation, social distancing compliance marshals should complete a series of courses in order to be certified for the task. There are several organisations offering training in this area. Some courses are available in person and others are virtual.
An official course is offered through the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual). This approved qualification is called ETCAL Level 2 Award in the Responsibilities of a Social Distancing Compliance Officer.
- Disinfect premises.
- Monitor and deal with worker symptoms.
- Enforce return-to-work protocols and site-containment measures.
Social distancing compliance marshals hold a specific role in the organisation. They should wear high visibility clothing that is suitable for a construction site. This can be in the form of a vest or jacket with appropriate identification so everyone knows who to approach if any coronavirus issues arise.
To be appropriate for the job and working conditions, reflective workwear should fit properly and meet safety regulations. As with other forms of personal protective equipment (PPE), employers should provide social distancing compliance marshals with suitable safety vests free of charge. Employers are also responsible for maintaining, storing and regularly checking and replacing damaged garments.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Beyond the pandemic.
- Building services and health risk resilient buildings.
- CICV creates COVID toolkit.
- CIOB urges construction industry to share PPE with healthcare providers.
- CLC releases Site Operating Procedures v6.
- Construction sites urged to integrate test and trace.
- Coronavirus and the construction industry
- Coronavirus job retention scheme.
- Engineering services bodies issue coronavirus site safety guides.
- England housing market resumes operations.
- Face coverings and a shifting policy background.
- First aider.
- Health and safety inspector.
- Hi-vis clothing for construction workers
- Personal protective equipment PPE
- Plan proposes to reinvent construction industry.
- Proximity warning systems.
- Re-starting construction in a COVID-19 environment.
- Social distancing on construction sites.
- Site safety.
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