13 March 2020

Coronavirus: Managing the Risks to Your Staff and Workplace

Recent weeks have seen a growing number of confirmed cases of coronavirus, known as COVID-19, and an outbreak in the UK could affect the workforce and businesses across the construction industry.

Build UK partner Citation is providing ongoing guidance for members on managing the risks of coronavirus, covering some of the most commonly asked questions around HR, employment law, and broader health & safety concerns.

This is being updated on a daily basis and members are advised to regularly consult both sections of the page below to ensure they are receiving the most up-to-date guidance:

Government Measures

The Government has announced a range of measures to protect people and jobs affected by coronavirus. These include making Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) available from day one rather than day four for employees advised to self-isolate, as well as offering a full refund to cover the costs of SSP for businesses with fewer than 250 employees, where staff have missed work for up to two weeks due to the virus.

A date for the implementation of these measures has not been set, as the legislation to allow them has not yet been introduced. Members will be updated as soon as the date is known.

View the full list of Government measures below:

Monitoring the Situation

Employers have a duty to their workforce to assess the risks of travelling and working in affected countries or areas. Sharing pertinent information, such as specific advice for people returning from affected areas, is vital to prevent the spread of infection and encourage individuals to act responsibly.

As the threat of coronavirus spreading is a rapidly changing situation, employers across construction should make sure they keep up to date with government and medical advice available online.

The most up-to-date Government guidance for employers and businesses is available here, alongside an advice sheet on home isolation. Citation has also prepared a guide to temporary homeworking.

Hygiene control in the workplace

  • Good working practices around hygiene in the workplace will help prevent the spread of infection. A checklist of best practice hygiene considerations would include:
  • Providing hand-washing facilities and alcohol-based hand sanitiser where appropriate
  • Ensuring work surfaces are cleaned daily
  • Ensuring waste is removed daily
  • Ensuring that heating and ventilation is maintained and in good working order

To reduce the risk of spreading illness at work, staff should also be reminded to:

  • Cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or their sleeve (not their hands) when they cough or sneeze
  • Put used tissues in the bin immediately
  • Wash hands with soap and water often (or sanitiser gel where this is not available)
  • Avoid close contact with unwell people
  • Avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth with their hands if they are unclean

Build UK members can contact Citation on 0345 844 4848 or email for further advice and guidance, making sure they quote their Advice Card number in order to be authorised.