New provisions for the new normal

Fit-out specialists Portview decide the time is right for a return to work...

Portview returns to work with ‘a robust programme of new health and safety provisions’.

Leading fit-out specialist Portview has welcomed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ‘return to work if you can’t do so from home’ message for the construction and manufacturing industry. The Belfast-based company was back on site at the start of this week, together with ‘a robust programme of new health and safety provisions’. Managing Director of Portview, Simon Campbell, said: “Whilst for many industries throughout lockdown the blanket delegation of essential or non-essential work was clear, the construction industry was somewhat left in limbo. Contractors were left to make the call themselves on whether they should continue operations and if so, how this could be done safely and in a regulatory compliant way. From the moment we took the unprecedented decision to close our sites on March, 24, we have continued to support our clients with all technical aspects of our projects. We have also been busy preparing for our return to site.”

Portview, whose enviable client portfolio includes Tiffany & Co, Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, Harvey Nichols and Christian Louboutin, left no stone unturned in advance of a return to work. “After much deliberation, planning and preparation throughout lockdown at all levels of the company, we took the careful decision on April 27 to phase the opening of our sites this week,” added Simon Campbell. “We welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday night, which gave further impetus for an active return to work for the construction and manufacturing industry.” Portview is implementing the following new health and safety measures:

A New COVID-19 Site Operating Procedure
We have developed a comprehensive COVID-19 Site Operating Procedure, alongside several site and task specific risk assessments. This was a collective effort by our entire team, who forensically examined construction tasks to see how they can safely operate whist maintaining physical distancing. Currently, we are supplying the updated documents to our contractors and are providing them with assistance to safely facilitate remobilisation.

Travel & Accommodation
We have made provisions to safeguard our team while commuting to and from London as much as feasibly possible. These include issuing all site staff with travel advice, FFP3 face masks and hand sanitisers, and providing hire cars and rental accommodation that is within walking distance of site. England-based Site Managers will also be remobilised ahead of those based in Northern Ireland as a means of reducing travel. In addition to our own safety precautions, we have checked to ensure airlines are stepping up to their responsibilities and improving their operating procedures to ensure the safety of all passengers who board their planes.

Cloud-based Induction
To help aid contactless induction training, we have invested in an online system to pre-induct contractors with key information before they arrive on site. The system is live 24/7, so people can log in remotely at a time that suits them and on any device. Changes to inductions can be made instantly, with inductees being notified of any updates via the app and given their own unique site access code once they have passed training. Features will also include medical alerts, text notifications and document sharing.

Physical Distancing Marshals & Temperature Checks
Our Physical Distancing Marshals will be responsible for escorting and signing contractors on and off site, as well as ensuring everyone wears the correct PPE and is at least 2 meters apart. Where this distancing is essential, it will be controlled in accordance with an approved Risk Assessment / Method Statement and Permit to Work. We will also be rolling out daily temperature checks of anyone entering our sites before they are granted access.

Sanitation Stations & One-Way Systems
We have invested in mobile sanitation stations for each site. Contractors will be required to regularly wash their hands for a minimum of twenty seconds (such as on entry and exit) and to sanitise work tools and workstations. Each site will then be thoroughly cleaned and new distancing measures such as signage, floor markings, one-way systems, welfare and PPE storage areas will also be installed.

Staggered Start, Finish and Lunch Times
Start, finish and lunch times will be staggered to help avoid congestion on site and maintain distancing. This will be managed by our own Physical Distancing Marshals, who are responsible for monitoring numbers and coordinating schedules.

We know getting back to work is not going to be easy. It will be a new way of working for us all and we won’t be back to normal for a long time. However, with careful planning we can adapt to ‘the new normal’ and in a paradoxical twist – physical distancing will help to bring us together again…eventually.

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