Draft Return to Work Protocols

03 Mar 2020

The protocols and standards can now be downloaded here.

Site Safe, through the Construction Accord and in collaboration with a range of cross-industry groups, has been working hard to develop and produce a set of protocols that will help keep people safe from COVID-19 when they head back out on site after the lockdown.

Site Safe Chief Executive Brett Murray says “It’s vital the industry gets back to work as quickly, and as safely, as possible.”

“We’ve been working under urgency with industry representatives across construction to produce COVID-19 protocols that the government will be expecting to be in place as we move down to level 3 and work resumes.”

“Construction Health and Safety NZ (CHASNZ) have developed an overarching standard in consultation with industry. The protocols currently under development will sit underneath that standard and will essentially form the detailed ‘how to' guidance on managing COVID-19 risks on construction sites around the country.”

“I particularly want to acknowledge the great work being done by health and safety practitioners in the industry, led by Peter Lockhart from Naylor Love, as well as Civil Contractors New Zealand, Master Builders, and CHASNZ in reviewing these protocols in a timely manner. The industry has really come together and shown some real leadership in the face of this crisis.”

Construction Accord member and Naylor Love Chief Executive Rick Herd says “Our key focus at this time is preparing our industry for a return to work as soon as the government reduces the alert level we are currently under. For that to be successful, our sector needs to show both the government and the public that we can operate in a safe manner, that protects the health of our workers, their families and also the broader public. The COVID-19 site protocols that Site Safe is coordinating the work on and producing on behalf of the industry are critical to making that happen. The final documents will be endorsed by the CHASNZ board as meeting the Ministry of Health advice before distribution.”

This guidance is being tested with cross sector industry panels including government and will cover key ways to address the risk of COVID-19, including physical distancing, hygiene and tracking of people.

The protocols are on target to be released well before work is allowed to resume when the alert level drops. This will allow employers time to familiarise themselves with the protocols and to ensure effective implementation in controlling site specific risks.