Coronavirus testing for Construction Workers
Matt Hancock has said on 29 April that construction workers who want to be tested for covid-19 symptoms will be able to do so. The health secretary said workers and their families will be offered tests as testing capacity in the UK had ramped up to 73,000 per day.
At the daily government briefing on the pandemic, he said: “From construction workers to emergency plumbers, from research scientists to those in manufacturing, the expansion of access to testing will protect the most vulnerable and help keep people safe.
“It’s possible because we’ve expanded capacity for testing thus far.”
The NFRC has been actively lobbying the CLC Task Force and Government for testing of construction workers with COVID-19 symptoms, and welcome this development. This recognition of the important role our industry is playing in continuing to work where safe to do so is timely as more sites open up.
Testing is available to those that have symptoms, and the Government has provided guidance on the process of getting tested.
Workers and members of their household who have symptoms can self-refer online. They can either request a home test kit or by visiting a regional test site in England.
Employers can refer workers for a test via a secure portal. They can get a login by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with:
- Organisation name
- Nature of business
- Names and email addresses for two users
Contractors may find It more efficient where clients have already registered for essential workers to request the test on their behalf
It is easy to forget to wash one’s hands whilst concentrating on the job. Here are some practical examples of situations to remember to wash them afterwards!
Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds each time with soap and water or hand sanitiser, especially on the following occasions:
- When you get home or into work, especially when using public transport;
- When you remove your work gloves at break times;
- Before you eat or handle food;
- After you blow your nose, sneeze or cough;
Practice good hygiene elsewhere whilst working—use the nearest bin to dispose of tissues after use.
Wipe surfaces with antibacterial cleaner in your work vehicles after the shift (steering wheel, gear stick, indicator arm etc.)
Can you remind me what should be provided on site to clean one’s hands effectively?
Wash your hands frequently with alcohol-based hand wash or wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, follow the NHS hand washing guidance.
Am I safe because I am wearing gloves on site?
Wearing gloves whilst working is advisable and hands should be washed at the first opportunity after removing the gloves. Avoid touching eyes, mouth and nose whilst wearing the gloves, use your sleeve when you cough or sneeze.
What do I tell my employer/contractor if I suspect I have symptoms of the disease?
You must inform your employer immediately if you are suffering symptoms of the coronavirus, this will allow your employer to alert your co-workers or people you have been in close contact with to be mindful of the symptoms of coronavirus. You must follow the governments stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection.
What do I do if one of my family or my partner has symptoms of the disease?
If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
Should I stay at home if I have Coronavirus symptoms?
Stay at home if you have either:
- A high temperature—this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- A new, continuous cough—this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
How long to stay at home?
- If you have symptoms of coronavirus, you'll need to stay at home for 7 days;
- If you live with someone who has symptoms, you'll need to stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person in the home started having symptoms;
- If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.
- If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.
What financial support is available to me if I am self-employed or temporarily laid off?
To make sure people in work can take the necessary time off to stay at home if they are suffering from coronavirus or to prevent its spread, changes have been made to Statutory Sick Pay and how Universal Credit supports self-employed claimants.
What can I do if I feel I am being unfairly treated by my employer due to this emergency?
It might be against the law if you’re being treated unfairly due to you or a family member suffering with the coronavirus which means time away from the workplace. If it is, you can complain to your employer and if necessary take take them to an employment tribunal. Free legal advice is available from the Citizens Advice.