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Checklist for Restarting Construction Projects

When the coronavirus pandemic forced the UK government to adopt stringent lockdown measures, many construction projects were forced to stop immediately. Now, as organisations attempt to restart normal operations and get back to business, it is necessary for these projects to be properly reviewed and assessed. In order to protect employees and avoid liability for any potential accidents, organisations should adhere to the following checklist before resuming work.

Risk Assessment and Safety

  • Perform an overall risk assessment of the full project
  • Review all aspects of the project—such as site security, equipment installation and commissioning, and fire prevention—and form a recommencement plan.
  • Conduct health and safety training for all employees before they return to the worksite.
  • Ensure that all permanent and temporary structures have been inspected by a qualified person.
  • Inspect all equipment, and ensure HSE requirements and manufacturer standards are met.
  • Implement or reimplement a programme to ensure that inspection and maintenance of equipment remain compliant.
  • Review policies regarding adequate supervision on the worksite, particularly pertaining to workers performing high-risk tasks.
  • Review emergency plans for the worksite, such as those pertaining to evacuation.
  • Check all aspects of the site’s drainage system.
  • Review the project’s temporary works register, and inspect all existing works.
  • Notify insurers that the project is restarting and inform them of any alterations to the project moving forward.

 

Site Security

  • Perform a security risk assessment
  • Check the condition of worksite boundaries, fences and hoarding lines.
  • Review alarms, CCTV and any other worksite security measures.
  • Consider that the risk of theft or malicious damage to the worksite may have increased.
  • Review internal site security measures, including any changes that may have taken place due to the worksite having been shut down and restarted. 

 

Fire Detection and Water Damage Prevention

  • Inspect fire detection systems and fire suppression systems, including all means of activating fire alarms.
  • Check all dry or wet riser systems or internal hose reel stations.
  • Inspect all workplace fire stations and fire extinguishers.
  • Inspect fire water supplies, such as water pumps.
  • Check the condition of any other plan, equipment, or life safety detection or protection systems, including safety interlocks.
  • Review compliance with guidance from the Construction Insurance Risk Engineers Group, titled Managing Escape of Water Risk on Construction Sites.
  • Review procedures for commissioning or activating any water-based systems, including HVAC or water suppliers, with specific attention given to the risk of sudden pressure changes.
  • Implement policies to make sure that water-based systems are used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Review policies pertaining to water systems being refilled and turned on, in order to make sure that they follow commissioning procedures.
  • Consider installing flow monitoring and auto shut-off devices before commissioning systems.

 

Electrical and Mechanical Equipment Restart

  • Ensure that all equipment and installations are restarted and commissioned according to instructions and recommendations from the manufacturer.
  • Perform condition checks for all equipment that has been in storage for a prolonged period of time.
  • Conduct maintenance for all equipment according to instructions and recommendations from the manufacturer.
  • Review maintenance schedules for all equipment and installations.
  • Check all electrical systems, including emergency lighting, before reactivating them.

 

COVID-19 and Pandemic-Related Precautions

  • Assess any necessary changes to the worksite due to the threat of COVID-19.
  • Review all guidance and regulations from the government, NHS and HSE before employees return to work.
  • Check the Construction Leadership Council’s guidance pertaining to protecting your workforce while operating a worksite during the pandemic.
  • Review the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Remediation and COVID-19: Building Safety Update.
  • Arrange site access and egress points to enable and maintain social distancing.
  • Implement new policies to ensure that any employees working alone due to new social distancing practices are properly supervised.
  • Use signs to remind workers not to come to work if they have experienced COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Establish a programme for cleaning frequent contact surfaces, such as door handles.
  • Provide additional handwashing stations.

 

Risk Assessment & Safety

  • Ensure compliance with the Joint Code of Practice for Fire Prevention on Construction Sites.
  • Assess storage processes and arrangements for materials and equipment delivered while work on the site was stopped.
  • Perform a site inspection to ensure that housekeeping and storage practices established before the stoppage are still adequate.
  • Consider off-site temporary storage in the event that certain materials and equipment cannot be properly housed at the worksite.

 

Use this checklist as a guide when restarting a construction project that has been dormant for an extended period of time. For more information, contact Inspire Insurance Services.

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