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The rate at which the coronavirus has spread around the globe has devastated many economic activities and livelihoods including those in the scaffolding industry. Read on if you are wondering about the impact Coronavirus has had on the scaffolding industry.
The world over has diagnosed as many as 100,000 patients with COVID-19 (Coronavirus). At the time of preparing this document, as many as 90 people had been affected in the United Kingdom alone.
To slow down the spread of this dangerous virus, the government instituted drastic measures including closing down schools, cancellation of events and banning of mass gatherings. Also, a majority of the workforce has continually been advised to work from home. You must agree it is not possible for construction workers including scaffolders to work from home.
Also, many companies have altered how they operate and a majority of workers (80%) have been unable to report to work normally in the last few weeks when the outbreak of the virus has been highest. Companies such as Wako Kwikform have had to provide indications to the clients and employees on how they will have to work through this pandemic.
It was clear that COVID-19 had reached the industry when energy firm EDF, which is constructing 2 nuclear reactors, confirmed one employee working on Hinkley Point C had tested positive for the virus.
Supply of Materials
We can also expect an interruption in the supply chain for scaffolding materials e.g. fittings and tubes that are largely sourced from China. This is because China has been one of the many countries worst hit by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Through a statement released to Scaffmag, the company said it expected to operate at full production capacity in the winter period until February to meet its earlier business targets. This production plan included expanding stock in the German factory and the other 140 service centres in other parts of the world.
Layher further explained the high production capacity plan would ensure the company was prepared for business in the spring and summer times when demand is usually high. According to Layher, the plan to increase stock levels was nothing new and had already begun in earnest following uncertainty over Brexit rule.
Layher is confident they are ready to meet the demand for many months to come and will not need to source raw materials and other supplies from China.
Training for Scaffolding
Unfortunately, national lockdown and international travel restrictions have halted training courses for scaffolding in the UK and all over the world. This means scaffolders are unable to acquire the training they need to maintain the necessary safety standards and modern expertise at work.
Also, the inability to conduct training has stopped delivery of Scaffolder CPD courses meaning scaffolders cannot refresh their CISRS cards either.
Remember training for scaffolding is for both newcomers and the established professionals. The established professionals get a chance to learn and adapt to new methods of best practices and in line with the law.
Therefore, experts have had to extemporize ways to use technology to administer learning and training to the people in the scaffolding industry.
Safety Procedures for Construction Sites
The challenge for all construction companies has been how to keep construction work in progress while at the same time implementing the recommended health and safety guidelines to combat the COVID-29 pandemic.
The construction industry at large has been significantly challenged because besides ensuring there is safety for common risks in a construction site (such as falling objects) the workers have had to contend with social distancing rules to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Most of the advice provided to curb the spread of the virus has been quite generic, which has forced SIMIAN to work extra to determine and improve the efficacy and applicability of these rules in scaffolding.
We have sent copies of the internal document titled ‘Guide for Scaffolders’ to our clients. It is a document that will have to be revised shortly to incorporate the latest guidelines including the SOP produced by the Construction Leadership Council.