Kelly: H&S must be the priority in the transition back to Alert Level 3

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Registered Master Builders Association chief executive David Kelly

As more than 400,000 people return to work next week, health and safety must be the top priority for all construction businesses and workers, Registered Master Builders Association chief executive David Kelly says.

The Government announced the drop from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3 will begin on Tuesday, April 28, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern outlining what is expected for the opening of some businesses, including those in the construction sector.

Workplaces must operate safely — keeping distance between workers, recording who is working together, limiting interaction between groups of workers, disinfecting surfaces, and maintaining high hygiene standards.

“The Prime Minister also referred to business self-accreditation, which means businesses will need to provide a plan for working on sites,” Mr Kelly says.

“These plans will refer to the protocols, which you can use as a basis for the plan.

New Covid-19 health and safety standards and protocols

“Strict safety standards and protocols are essential to protect workers and stop the spread of Covid-19, and to give people confidence that it is safe to return to work.

“Through the Construction Sector Accord, we’ve been part of a cross-sector group that has developed standards and protocols for all residential and commercial builders to use once they go back on site.

“The standards lay out the key principles and requirements for healthy and safe construction-related operations under Covid-19 Alert Levels 2 and above.

“There are two protocols, one each for commercial and residential builders. These will guide how to implement the standards.”

Joining forces with organisations such as Site Safe, CHASNZ, Certified Builders, Specialist Trades, and Master Plumbers, as well as builders like Fletcher Living, Jennian, Classic Builders, Calley Homes, Generation Homes, Milestone, and Universal shows the ability to come together and develop support for the betterment of the sector,” Mr Kelly says.

Working with suppliers once lockdown finishes

“We recommend starting to think about what products you need for your projects now for when lockdown finishes.

“Contacting your suppliers early helps them manage products, and can assist in reducing any further disruptions once you’re back on site.

“Suppliers have told us that depending on products, they may need time to get products back in stock,” Mr Kelly says.

•Download copies of the standards and protocols here.

• More information about what Alert Level 3 means can be found here.