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Last edited 19 Apr 2021
Social distancing on construction sites
Social distancing is a concept that has existed for several decades. As a health and safety concept, the phrase is associated with physical proximity requirements as they relate to the prevention of the spread of contagious illnesses. It has become a part of 'normal' life since the detection of COVID-19 in Wuhan City in December 2019 and the subsequent introduction of lockdown measures in the UK on 23 March 2020.
 Government recommendations
- Coming to work and leaving work.
- Moving around buildings and worksites.
- Making the main workplace safe for people who work statically.
- Common areas.
- Accidents, security and other incidents.
For more on these guidelines, see Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19).
Low tech measures include:
- Employing a social distancing compliance marshal to oversee site compliance.
- Controlling traffic flow by clearly marking entrances, exits and directions of travel.
- Replacing security badges that require physical contact with visual verification methods that adhere to social distancing guidelines.
- Using signage, wayfinding or simple physical barriers to reinforce social distancing recommendations.
High tech tools include:
- Alternatives to locks and alarm systems that require keypads.
- Wearable wristwatch devices that use Bluetooth technology to monitor proximity and alert workers and their managers when social distancing requirements have been violated.
- Software that can assist with contact tracing should a worker develop or demonstrate symptoms associated with a contagious illness.
- Apps paired with barcode scanners that alert workers when they come within close proximity of each other.
- Rechargeable tags that attach to belts, protective head coverings or lanyards and issue an alert when two people wearing the tags come within two metres of each other.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- An interview with Matthew Mallows - Surveyor at British Damp Proofing.
- Beyond the pandemic.
- CICV creates COVID toolkit.
- CLC releases Site Operating Procedures v6.
- Construction health risks.
- ConTech in a post lockdown, pre-vaccine economy.
- Face coverings and a shifting policy background.
- Hand-arm vibration syndrome.
- Health and safety for building design and construction.
- How technology can support social distancing.
- Personal protective equipment PPE.
- Proximity warning systems.
- Re-starting construction in a COVID-19 environment.
- Safety management.
- Site safety.
- Social distancing compliance marshal.
 External references
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Response submitted by IHBC.
Designed to accommodate flooding or waterway traffic.