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SMAS Worksafe Application Reverted after Covid-19 eases

Update: Changes to SMAS Worksafe SSIP application. 

Back in April due to the unforeseen impact of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) had upon the construction industry and particular those wanting to renew their health and safety application, SMAS Worksafe made a number of changes to the SSIP assessment to support members who may be struggling with retrieving information.

Companies were given additional support, where if they couldn’t access pertinent information (due to furloughs and/or site/office closures) but wish to keep important certifications in place during this period they were able to use documents from previous applications.

Now with much of the industry back to work under new social distancing guidelines, the changes made will be removed and the assessment will revert back to its normal process as of Tuesday 30th June.

This allows us to make sure that those who are going through their SSIP assessment are up to the required standards to be on-site, which is incredibly important for both us and our clients.

Site now open - construction site background

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
SMAS Worksafe application changes

Changes to SMAS application process

The changes in the SMAS Worksafe application process are temporary and have been developed to enable a pragmatic and proportionate approach to all desktop assessments for suppliers who may be struggling with the impact of COVID-19.

Companies must be given additional support, in the short-term, where they cannot access pertinent information (due to furloughs and/or site/office closures) but wish to keep important certification in place during this period.

Why we have made changes to our application:

  • We recognise that people are not located in their normal business premises and that this may mean they do not have access to the documentation they need
  • Feedback from our accredited members is that they wish to keep certification in date
    because:
  1. to some extent, they’re required to continue to deliver on contracts during the coronavirus crisis
  2. they wish to avoid potential delays and keep certification in date in preparation for returning to work when possible

Our application process has changed in the following way:

Note: the following approach is available only to renewing members and not those who are completing the application for the first time, as this approach relies on the availability of previously assessed information.

  • Those companies who are renewing their SMAS Worksafe certification during the period of lock-down will have a choice to either:
  1. upload the latest available policies and other documentation, if available (recommended),or
  2. upload a holding document to certain questions where documentation is not accessible, which can be blank and labelled “Carry forward” to let us know they wish to use the same information provided in the previous year’s assessment
  • All areas of questioning covered by the SSIP core criteria can be addressed using the above option to carry information forward, except for key qualifications relating to high-risk trades, which will be required to be evidenced as in-date

 

  • All information carried forward will have formed part of the members successful application in the previous year, so we know the information is good and meets criteria HOWEVER there may be some changes in the company’s activities which are not reflected and so these changes must be expressed by the member in the form of additional notes

 

  • Where appropriate the SMAS Worksafe assessor will review information, reflect on any significant changes, and provide the member with a clear action plan of changes which they must acknowledge and agree to implement, ready for their next annual reassessment in 2021.

 

  • We will not require wet signatures on policies or other documentation but instead ask the member to digitally agree to a declaration that states all information is accurate and up to date.

 

SMAS Worksafe application changes

We also have a short video explaining the changes which you can watch here.

COVID-19 folder

Stopping the spreading and spotting symptoms of COVID-19

Coronavirus’ rapid spread doesn’t seem to be showing any times of slowing and the UK is beginning to take strict measures to ensure that the virus is kept under control. The closing of bars, pubs and establishments has begun across the United Kingdom but there are still plenty of opportunities for you to catch and then spread the virus.

The virus is incredibly infectious, around 3 times more infectious than the common cold and although that doesn’t sound like much the causes that can have when passed on are enormous.

Please see the below video from Channel 4 Dispatches for more information on just how infectious Coronavirus is.

It is incredibly important to act on these matters now, the sooner we react and limit the spreading, the quicker we can go back to normal and the less stress we place on our NHS who will have to deal with the rising number of patients. Staying at home now may just save someone else being in hospital in 20 days time!

Virus Detection:

The simplest way to distinguish Coronavirus from a Common Cold is that the COVID-19 infection does not cause a cold nose or cough with cold, but it does create a dry and rough cough.

The virus is typically first installed in the throat causing inflammation and a feeling of dryness. This symptom can last between 3 and 4 days.

The virus typically then travels through the moisture present in the airways, goes down to the trachea and installs in the lungs, causing pneumonia that lasts about 5 or 6 days.

Pneumonia manifests with a high fever and difficulty breathing. The Common Cold is not accompanied, but there may be a choking sensation. In this case, the doctor should be called immediately.

Experts suggest doing this simple verification every morning: Breathe in deeply and hold your breath for 10 seconds. If this can be done without coughing, without difficulty, this shows that there is no fibrosis in the lungs, indicating the absence of infection. It is recommended to do this control every morning to help detect infection.

Prevention:

If you have any of the symptoms below, please self-isolate in your home for at least 7 days from when the symptoms started.

Symptoms include:

  • A dry cough
  • Fever / high temperatures
  • Muscle aches
  • Difficult breathing / short of breath

Social distancing – try and stay at least 2 meters away from anyone when in publish or in isolation. The virus is mainly spread through contact so avoiding people will go a long way to removing your chances of becoming infected.

Washing your hands or use hand sanitiser as often as possible, the virus can survive for around 12 hours on hard surfaces. The virus can live nested in clothes and tissues between 6 and 12 hours. Common detergents can kill it.

The virus survives on our hands for only about 10 minutes. In that time many things can happen, rubbing the eyes, touching the nose or lips. This allows the virus to enter your throat. Therefore, for your good and the good of all, wash your hands very often and disinfect them.

Disinfect things touched often: mobile phone, keyboard, mouse, car steering wheel, door handles, etc.

The sooner you act, the sooner it’s stopped:

For all the latest updates from the UK government please click here.

For updates from the NHS please click here.