The shortage of respiratory protective equipment is causing contractors to delay starts on site or lose out on work altogether.
The problems were highlighted in a survey by trade bodies ECA, BESA, SELECT, SNIPEF, LEIA and the CICV Forum.
Of the businesses struggling to obtain FFP3 dust masks, 15% said their situation was ‘impossible’, and 36% said it was ‘highly challenging’.
Another 44% of firms said they were having ‘sustained difficulty’ in obtaining FFP2 masks for use on site.
The cost of face masks has also risen dramatically during the coronavirus crisis with nearly half of businesses reporting that face masks had at least doubled in price.
ECA Director of CSR Paul Reeve said: “The inflated cost of RPE is clearly a problem but it’s overshadowed by the difficulties being encountered across our sector, to businesses who want to provide protection, but also reassurance, to their employees regarding coronavirus, as well as the other more established respiratory hazards.”
BESA Health and Safety Advisor Rebecca Crosland added: “RPE and PPE are vital for our sector to operate safely, not only to protect workers from COVID-19, but from regular hazards such as inhaling dusts, silica, and other poisonous chemicals.
“This survey demonstrates the scale of the supply problems our members are experiencing, and it is anticipated there will be an additional increase in demand as further businesses reopen.
“The supply of compliant RPE/PPE must be urgently addressed to maintain productivity and the health and safety of workers.”