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Coronavirus testing to construction workers as sites begin re-openings

Bellway has now joined Redrow, Persimmon Homes and Taylor Wimpey in announcing they’re going to be opening their sites in the coming weeks with Persimmon Homes already opening some of their sites at the start of this week.

Redrow has now announced that they’re happy they can comply with the required social distancing measures and intends to begin mobilising sites during the week beginning May 11, with a phased return to construction from May 18 and Bellway are the latest housebuilder to begin re-openings.

On Tuesday, Health secretary Nick Hancock has announced that the government will offer construction workers with coronavirus symptoms access to testing.

He confirmed that all workers and their families will be offered tests as testing capacity in the UK is ramped up to 73,000 per day.

Forty-one drive through testing centres are now in operation with a further 48 due to come on stream this week. A further 70 mobile testing stations largely operated by the army are also due to be operating by the end of the week.

Hancock said on Tuesday: “We now have the capacity to make testing available to all workers who have to leave home to go to work and members of their households who have symptoms.”

He had come under pressure from construction union Unite to extend testing to construction workers because so many had kept working through the lockdown.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “Unite is pleased that the government has supported our call to ensure that construction workers who continue to work can easily access testing for COVID-19.

“This will significantly help prevent the spread of the virus on construction sites.

“Testing alone however will not stop the spread of this deadly disease. It is imperative that construction workers are able to continually socially distance from when they leave home in the morning to when they return at night.

“The dangerous PHE guidance must be withdrawn and the Health and Safety Executive must step up to the plate and insist on procedures that require workers to social distance on sites at all times to reduce risks of infection.”

Are you ready for the return?

Anyone working on Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey or Redrow sites will be required to hold an SSIP certificate to show their businesses health & safety compliance. If you’re new to SSIP but are looking to start working for one of these companies as it may give you a chance to get back working, please read our article which details everything you need to know regarding SSIP here.

If you’ve previously held an SSIP certificate but didn’t renew due to the pandemic, we have updated our renewal policy to allow documents from previous years to be carried over if you’re unable to obtain the current information due to being in isolation – all information can be found here.

Key dates:

  • Persimmon Homes 27th April
  • Taylor Wimpey 4th May
  • Bellway 4th May
  • Redrow 18th May