As the COVID-19 crisis and the subsequent lockdown has intensified the Glass and Glazing Federation has been asked by many Member companies for clarification on whether they should or should not remain open for business.
Having collated many differing views and interpretations of the Government guidelines from the membership, internal staff and industry experts, the GGF contacted the Government for clarification on the crucial matter of essential workers in construction.
Writing directly to the Ministers at the Department of Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the GGF received an immediate and unequivocal reply from the Directorate of Construction who clarified the situation with the follow quote:
“There is currently no distinction between essential and inessential construction work in England. The Government’s position is that construction work can continue, provided the worker is not displaying symptoms of Covid19 (coronavirus), does not need to self-isolate for another reason, and that the work can be done in a manner consistent with the guidelines published by Public Health England (PHE).”
The GGF immediately relayed the Government’s response to its Member companies as well publishing on the GGF.org.uk website, the very latest (9th April) Government guidance on social distancing in the workplace and the more detailed guidance from Public Health England. In addition, the GGF has also published the “Site Operating Procedures” produced by the Construction Leadership Council.
To further help Member companies decide on whether they should continue to operate or close temporarily during this crisis, the GGF has advised that business owners conduct a thorough health and safety risk assessment of the workplace and contact their Insurance Provider to ensure that Employer’s Liability & Public Liability insurance policies, are unaffected during this period, as long as all the Government and Public Health guidelines are adhered to.
John Agnew, GGF Managing Director commented, “Though we are pleased the Government responded in a swift and clear manner to clarify this important matter, this a fast-moving and changing situation. I would therefore advise all Members to be responsible and if they choose to operate, then they should do so within the Government’s Health and Safety guidelines and social distancing guidance. In the meantime, to help companies cope the GGF will closely monitor the situation and continue our correspondence with Government during this extraordinary time.”