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Ashe Group – Coronavirus Statement – 30/03/2020

Prime Minister Johnson has called the COVID-19 crisis a “National Emergency” and, as a result, new legislation was introduced this month to protect people and reduce the spread of contagion.

Last week, the Construction Leadership Council and Build UK, in conjunction with Public Health England, produced a new code of practice, “Site Operating Procedures during the Coronavirus”.

A key requirement of the guidance is that site workers should be two metres apart from each other at all times and in “situations where it is not possible or safe for workers to distance themselves from each other by 2 metres, non-essential physical work that requires close contact between workers should not be carried out.”

Since its publication we have been assessing our risk assessments and method statements to determine the extent to which we can continue to work safely on each one of our sites.

Whilst there are some activities that can be undertaken, most sites have or will soon reach a point where the social distancing guidelines are impossible to comply with and therefore, our progress becomes frustrated and we are unable to continue if we are to comply with the law.

There are simply too many activities in the construction process that require people to work in close proximity to one another and as a business, we are committed to ensuring that our people work in safe conditions. Therefore, we have paused work on sites unless works are either essential or we can continue to work by adhering to the new legislative guidelines.

Behind the scenes we are exploring how we might overcome the problem of social distancing via a combination of testing and appropriate PPE albeit we are conscious of our duty to ensure that the NHS and other essential services have priority in the supply chain for these goods.

Rest assured, we remain present and active in the pursuit of a pragmatic and workable solution that allows us to progress our work but these are unprecedented times and the solution, in our view, lies in new protective measures which, we hope, will soon become available.

Sincere regards

Robin Blake