While a few big canteens remained open with restricted access to feed workers on remote sites like Hinkley Point, most small site canteens remained shut across the industry after lockdown.
Now workers across England have got the all-clear to use their canteens again under revised Site Operating Procedures.
The easing of restrictions is outlined in SOP version 5, issued by the Construction Leadership Council following changes to social distancing rules.
While much has been made of wider plans to ease social distancing in places like bars and restaurants, workers are being told broadly to continue to maintain 2m social distancing on sites.
Where this is not possible, the new regime of ‘one metre plus’ social distancing is allowed with risk mitigation.
This means the frequency and time workers are within 2m of each other must be kept to a minimum.
In specific tasks where it is not possible to maintain 2m, contractors must minimise the number of workers involved in tasks.
In these instances, workers should work side by side, or facing away from each other, rather than face to face
The guidance also tells contractors to lower the worker capacity of lifts and hoists to reduce congestion and contact at all times
Other changes in Version 5 of Site Operating Procedures are minimal.
Entry systems can now be regularly cleaned rather than between each use. Drivers can now have access to welfare facilities
Workers are also being urged to avoid using public transport during peak times.
This has been changed in the morning period from 05:45 ‐ 7:30 to the new longer exclusion period of 05:45 ‐ 8:15.
The 16:00 ‐ 17:30 peak travel exclusion remains the same.
Trade body ECA director Paul Reeve said: “The practical implications of the latest SOP updates will come out in the wash. However, version 5 mainly reflects recent changes to government guidance to industry on social distancing, which includes ‘maintain two meters, or one metre with risk mitigation where two metres in not viable’.
“Many construction businesses are already using mitigating measures when doing essential work within two metres, and so the changes underline the need for mitigation at closer proximity, based on risk assessment.”
Download the full guidance here – Site Operating Procedures – Version 5