Construction workers back to work with PPE

Scotland’s construction workers can get back to close working on building sites – as long as they use PPE.

Construction workers comply with social distancing during their break along Edinburgh's Royal Mile.

The construction sector is commencing Phase 4 of its restart plan after the Scottish Government received assurances that its requirements for PPE would not compromise NHS supplies.

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However while the easing of restrictions on construction was welcomed, there was a warning from the sector that invoices had to be paid promptly to ensure its survival.

The construction industry in Scotland employs more than 175,000 people and fears have been raised about mass job losses delays to payments are made by those who have commissioned building work.

Vaughan Hart, Managing Director of the Scottish Building Federation, said: “Construction firms are key to the Scottish economy and will be at the centre of the recovery so it is great news they can increase activity. The construction sector has clearly demonstrated it can operate safely and worked extensively with unions to ensure staff on site are protected.”

However he added: “What we need to realise that recovery is ensure invoices from the public sector and other customers are paid promptly to ensure that our businesses can survive.”

Announcing the move into Phase 4, housing minister Kevin Stewart said he was pleased the construction industry could “take this further, important step in returning to work and continuing its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

He added: “Controlled close working will enable the sector to carry out tasks that have not been possible since the lockdown began, but we are of course not back to business as usual yet and the health and safety of construction workers and the public remains the top priority.

“The move into Phase 4 of the restart plan is subject to appropriate use of PPE, and we have agreed to it only after making certain that this will not impact on supplies required by the NHS.

“The sector’s response to this crisis continues to be responsible and measured, but I must reiterate again how important it is that, in order to ensure public and workforce confidence and safety, that the latest Scottish Government and the safe operating guidance put in place by Construction Scotland – are followed.”

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