Coronavirus is spreading like wildfire all around the world. Can it potentially affect the scaffolding industry as well?
There have been numerous confirmed COVID-19 (Coronavirus) cases worldwide and the highly infectious disease has affected many individuals in the UK already.
The government, which is anxious to slow down the spread of the respiratory disease, has introduced some potentially drastic measures. This includes encouraging individuals to work from home, bans on large public gatherings, cancellations of events, and closing of schools. However, within the wider construction and scaffolding industries, including Mobile Aluminium Tower Scaffolds, it is not possible to work from home.
Many workers have been unable to work over the past ten months with the outbreak peaking. Companies like Wako Kwikform have provided indications of how they want to proceed during this current crisis.
There is evidence that shows that the COVID-19 virus has entered the industry already, since EDF, the energy firm that built two new nuclear reactors, reported that a Hinkley point C worker has contracted COVID-19.
With border restrictions around the world, the supply chains have unsurprisingly been impacted, since many scaffolding materials, like fittings and tubes, coming from overseas.
Last year, a statement was released by the company to Scaffmag stating that due to the nature of its business and what had been previously planned, that during the winter months they would use their full production capacity until February 2020. They also expanded their stocks at their factory in Germany along with more than 140 service centres all around the world.
Layher explained that would be done so that the company would be well-prepared for the upcoming spring and summer seasons when they tend to stay busy traditionally. Layher UK significantly increased their already high levels of stock due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
Layher stated that they have large raw material stocks, since they do not rely on supplies coming from overseas, and things are well in hand for several more months into the future.
The first lockdown announcement resulted in scaffolding training courses being halted all around the world, in addition to the UK. That has led to numerous scaffolders not being able to receive the training that they need that is critical to maintaining a high scaffolding safety level. Since Scaffolder CPD courses are not currently being delivered, numerous scaffolders do not have the chance to refresh their CISRS cards and are stuck in limbo for the time being.
Scaffolding industry training is provided to both newcomers and established professionals and adapts continuously to changing legislation and best practice methods. Training being halted has resulted in experts needing to find new ways to ensure that people within the industry continue to be able to learn.
Construction Site Procedures
From the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has been keen to have construction work continue, although with some recommended restrictions. This has challenged the industry, and in addition to having to ensure safety from the risks that are typically associated with construction sites, they must also ensure that a safe distance is maintained so that the virus does not get spread unknowingly. A lot of the guidance that has been provided has been generic. That has resulted in SIMIAN needing to work hard to determine its application for scaffolding. We have provided our internal document called â€˜Guide for Scaffoldersâ€™ to our clients. It will be revised soon for industry guidance so that all the latest revisions are incorporated, including the SOP that has been produced by the Construction Leadership Council.