29 September 2020 – Version 2
It is based on Government guidance in England and other restrictions and advice may apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Face coverings are made from fabric or cloth and cover the mouth and nose to protect others, not the user, from infection. They are not PPE as they do not protect people from work-related hazards and are not made to a recognised standard.
Surgical face masks are designed and manufactured to be used in medical settings to limit the spread of infection and they are resistant to droplets of fluids and splashes. Whilst they are made to a recognised standard, they are not considered to be PPE.
Visors, which are usually worn to protect the face and eyes, are classed as PPE and protect the user, not others, against droplets carrying infection.
Respirators, which are used extensively in construction activities, are classed as PPE and protect people from work-related hazards that cannot be eliminated or reduced in any other way. They should be specific to the hazard identified and provided free of charge by employers.
The use of face coverings in response to coronavirus is mandatory for members of the public in an
increasing number of specified places, most of which meet all of the following criteria:
enclosed public spaces
where social distancing isn’t always possible
where people come into contact with others they do not normally meet.
The use of face coverings and/or PPE is not required in response to coronavirus whilst carrying out construction activities, and the Government guidance on Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) – Construction and other outdoor work states that: Workplaces should not encourage the precautionary use of extra PPE to protect against COVID-19 outside clinical settings or when responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.
Where workers on site are not required to wear Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) and their workplace (which may include welfare and changing facilities, site offices or site meeting rooms) meets all of the criteria below, their employer should make face coverings available and they should be worn in:
an enclosed space;
where social distancing isn’t always possible; and
where they come into contact with others they do not normally meet.
In line with Government guidance on premises providing hospitality, face coverings must be worn in canteens except when seated at a table to eat or drink.
Current Social Distancing Requirements
The Site Operating Procedures should be implemented on construction sites and workers should maintain a distance of two metres, or one metre with risk mitigation where two metres is not viable.
National guidance on Social Distancing in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should be adhered to off-site.
Local restrictions, which could be different to national guidance, may also apply.