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Tackling health and safety during a pandemic

The changes brought about by the pandemic have come rapidly at times, often leaving little time to digest. Despite this, many construction workers and employers have managed to review processes quickly, and taken steps to continue working efficiently. Here Simon Rosser, SHEQ Manager at Hereford Asbestos Services, explains why he completed CITB’s COVID-19 eCourse and the ways it will be beneficial moving forward.

Overseeing the safety, health environment and quality assurance side of the business on a daily basis, Simon was keen to trial the course for colleagues, and registered almost immediately after discovering it through his local CITB-funded Training Group.

“I wondered how the test at the end was going to cover a lot of the information contained in the early parts,” says Simon. “But as it became more practical, I felt it became more accessible to a wider audience.”

CITB’s recently launched eCourse, ‘Setting up and operating a safe construction site during COVID-19’  covers topics such as, hazards and infectious diseases, distancing, and self-isolation. Accessible from the CITB eCourses platform, the free course allows individuals to learn at their own pace, anytime, anywhere.

Despite initial scepticism, Simon felt there were great advantages to an online course, and recognised the ways in which it tackled important subjects in a practical way.

“This course was very different. It gave sound guidance on how to protect everyone from COVID hazards.” He adds, “Being online, it was easy to access and available on demand, which are two of the biggest benefits of online training, especially at this time.”

Simon acknowledged how the business has adapted in a similar way, with greater use of remote working amongst office based staff.

“The obvious differences become evident when arriving on site or in the office with temperature checks, symptom checks, and general hygiene and cleanliness.” Simon adds, “We now only share vehicles where absolutely necessary, and there is extra cleaning of common areas.”

Now typical challenges for many businesses, Simon felt it important to gain a greater understanding of the health and safety issues.

“I feel as a business we’re now in a better place to cope with this pandemic, and indeed any future cases,” says Simon. “We’re better prepared and so will be ‘ahead of the game’ if we go through another situation like this one.”

While its primary target audience is site managers and supervisors, Simon felt the course would be hugely beneficial to anyone involved in construction related activities. With varying lockdowns once again in place across the UK, and the emergence of new strains of COVID-19, the course provides an opportunity to better equip the construction workforce.

“The information and clarity of the content is excellent!” says Simon. “I’m sure everyone will come away with, at the very least, a slightly altered perspective on how positive measures can lead to safer and healthier construction sites.”

Please visit our eCourses platform for more information on CITB’s COVID-19 eCourse and other available courses.