Coronavirus Construction Update 24 March 2020
– CIF & ICTU Call on construction companies and workers to comply with HSE Measures
– EU Called on to declare Covid-19 pandemic a Force Majeure event
– Additional HSE Coronavirus Resources
The CIF has reiterated the need for companies, clients and workers to collaborate on implementing the HSE’s guidelines on social distancing for construction sites.
Dermot Carey, Director, Safety and Training, CIF, and Tom Parlon, Director General, CIF, appeared on RTE’s Morning Ireland and Sean O’Rourke, respectively, to reiterate the message that where it is safe to do so, construction should continue. They said that CIF members are continuing to deliver projects critical to essential services such as healthcare, power, data, energy, housing and emergency projects.
CIF and ICTU Joint Statement
This morning, ICTU and CIF issued a joint statement calling on construction industry companies and their employees to comply with HSE guidance top protect themselves from the Covid-19 virus.
Patricia King, General Secretary, Congress said, “Essentially workers should adhere to social distancing guidelines, carry out regular hand washing and use gloves and masks if possible to help contain the spread of the virus in the workplace. The HSE has issued guidelines on the Coronavirus, and we recommend that this guidance is adhered to by workers in the construction industry. Congress will continue to watch the situation closely,” she said.
Tom Parlon, Director General, CIF.
Tom Parlon, Director General, CIF, said, “Social distancing’ and compliance with HSE guidance on Covid-19 is now critical to the continuation of the construction industry and for our nation. We urge contractors and workers to work together to enforce social distancing regardless of any impacts on productivity or deadlines.”
The CIF is asking companies to remind workers that social distancing is critical off site and on the way to the site. Workers should not travel in groups and while visiting local businesses (shops etc) must maintain the 1-2 metre distance guideline.
The CIF commended workers for continuing to operate safely as they deliver essential projects that enable essential services including emergency health facilities, sewerage, electricity, power, data and water, all critical to society.
CIF and Government Liaison
The CIF continues to liaise with the Government to inform them of progress in implementing social distancing and other HSE guidelines.
There are challenges and difficulties in maintaining activity and productivity levels in these changed conditions, and it has asked that the Government instruct contracting authorities to be cognisant of these extraordinary circumstances so that construction companies have the time and space to adopt appropriate measures. Undue time-pressure due to deadlines or potential penalties works against the implementation of the new HSE guidelines for on-site social distancing.
EU called on to declare Covid-19 Force Majeure event
At EU-level, the European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC) has requested that the EU Commission declare Covid-19 a ‘force majeure’ event across the EU. If successful, this would have a profound impact on the industry and its ability to operate safely and address contractual concerns.
FIEC has asked for three urgent measures to be implemented
- Publicly announce, that the Covid-19 pandemic is a case of “Force Majeure” and has to be treated accordingly by all construction employers and clients.
- Recommend to Member States that they allow the possibility of suspending or reducing ongoing construction, without penalties and taking into consideration damages, for the period necessary, if the responsible contractor is unable to comply with the requested health and safety measures for its workers and/or if he is unable to undertake activities because of disruption in the supply chain or because of the shortage/lack of personnel due to Covid-19.
- When ongoing construction projects are co-financed by the European Union, immediately allocate specific resources for covering the additional costs generated by the Covid-19 pandemic (extra security of worksites, costs related to changes in organisation and new time schedules on worksites, overheads).
HSE partner pack: Useful Information
The HSE has provided the CIF with a ‘partner pack’ with useful information to distribute to members. It is full of excellent information for members on HSE guidelines and posters, for example.
The digital partner pack contains:
- The most up to date posters on Coronavirus COVID-19 (please display and share these as widely as you can, and please replace any previous posters that you might have used with the updated version)
- Videos that you can share and display
- Leaflets, social media assets and more
The Digital Partner Pack can be downloaded online at partner pack
Additional HSE Resources
If your organisation has any specific requests or needs in relation to Coronavirus COVID-19 public health information materials, please email us at Partner.Pack@hse.ie