April 1, 2020

The construction industry is fundamental to our global economy, especially in the UK, which is responsible for 12-14% of GDP and employs 3.3 million people (1)  Currently, we are facing worrying times in the UK, as the prospect of the construction industry coming to a halt dawns over us, with the virus – Covid-19 – causing pandemonium across the world.

Covid-19, which is closely related to severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), has echoed throughout our daily lives, spreading from where it first emerged, developing in a “wet market” in Wuhan which sold both dead and live animals (2).  Since this outbreak, unprecedented effects of the virus have impacted the global construction industry with projects facing labour shortages, supply chain issues and financial pressures (3).  Albeit, construction companies are putting their collective problem-solving skills to the test, striving to keep projects running, with many industry professionals using technology to stay in contact with colleagues, clients and suppliers (4).

Conversely, the difficultly has arisen for construction workers on the front line, as the Labour Health Secretary, John Ashworth, requested for transparent “…unambiguous advice around which workers can and can’t go out”(5).  This lack of transparency, as to whether construction workers can still continue to work, has been defended by UK Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, and the government as their decision to keep building sites open still remains amid the Covid-19 pandemic (6).

The position now, is how does the construction industry adhere to the government guidance, such as Staying at Home and Away from Others (Social Distancing)? (7)  These guidelines do not specifically address construction but do stipulate such reasons for leaving home; one being, “travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home” and states, “…government is also stopping all public gatherings of more than two people”.(8)  Understandably, construction sites cannot operate from home and limiting gatherings can be difficult, therefore, the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) have done their utmost to keep sites operational, where it is safe to do so.

Subsequently, to implement government’s social distancing, the CLC has now published ‘Site Operating Procedures’, where Andy Mitchell (chairman) strongly recommends “…that these procedures are implemented by every operational construction site.”(9)  Following these procedures, here at Baily Garner Health and Safety, we endeavour to support all our clients, ensuring that the health and safety requirements of any construction activity is not compromised during these turbulent times.

As a result of Covid-19, Baily Garner Health and Safety is currently working remotely. Our working policy has been adapted, conforming to government guidelines, in which regular assessments will be made in accordance to changes. However, we have taken measures to ensure the continued productivity and exchange of H&S information is not affected, by use of phone, email and video conferencing. For further information regarding our working approach, please refer to our previous article here.


1. Construction Manager:
2. Telegraph:
3.Norton Rose Fulbright:
4.Construction Manager:
5. Building:
6. Ibid
7.Gov – Cabinet Office:
8. Ibid

9. Construction News: