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Monday, June 8, 2020

Site Operating Procedures-Facility Management, MEP and Construction Sectors

Protecting Your Employees during Corona virus (COVID-19)

These are phenomenal circumstances and all Organizations must comply with the latest UAE Government advice on Corona virus (Covid-19) at all times. Where workers enter facilities, homes or industries, they should follow the UAE Governments guidance and initiatives its websites, notifications from the Public Health Departments Ministry of Health and Municipalities. For more details on Corona virus COVID-19, you can get updated information on https://www.mohap.gov.ae/en/Pages/default.aspxThe Abu Dhabi Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHAD) is the relevant enforcing authority for HSE technical guidelines, Code, Manuals and Practices. If a site is not consistently implementing the measures set out by the Government of UAE, it may be subject to enforcement action. Government Facilities, construction sites and industries operating during the Corona virus (Covid-19) pandemic need to ensure they are protecting their workforce and minimizing the risk of spread of infection. This includes considering how personnel travel to the worksite/facility and from the worksite to accommodation.
This guidance is intended to introduce consistent measures on Government Facilities, construction sites and industries of all types and sizes in line with the UAE Government’s recommendations on social distancing and ensure employers and individuals make every effort to comply. General International Group’s (GIG) guidance for construction states “where it is not possible to follow the social distancing guidelines in full about a particular activity, you should consider whether that task requires to continue for the worksite to continue to operate, and, if so, take all the necessary actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission of the COVID-19”.
The health and safety requirements of any Government Facilities, construction sites, industries and or private property MEP services activities must not be compromised at this time. If a work activity/task cannot be initiated safely, it should not take place. UAE Government is the best emergency service provider in the world against COVID-19 pandemic. If any worker has any severe COVID-19 suspected symptoms, he should be sent to hospitals where all testing and caring of patients is free. This should be taken into consideration in the planning of work activities, first aid, fire and emergency responses.
Organizations and institutions must have in place effective arrangements for monitoring and reviewing their compliance with Government and industry guidance. Worksites should also remind the workforce/employees at every opportunity of the worksites operating Procedures which are targeted at protecting them, their colleagues, near and dear ones and the UAE population.

When to Travel to Work

The Ministry of Health of UAE, Municipality and other Government institutions are providing continuously all sorts of guidelines and updates to fight against this unknown enemy (COVID-19 Pandemic)  It is already advised and instructed by the government of UAE “that wherever possible, people should work at home, or the number of employees must reduce to a minimum distance to keep social distance effective, However, we know that for many people working in facility management, MEP services, industries, shopping malls and construction, their job requires them to travel to their place of work, and they can continue to do so. It is important to understand the following guidelines by which workers/employees should or should not travel to work as outlined below.

Social distancing   

Workers in the in facility management, MEP services, industries, shopping malls and construction should follow the guidance on Staying at home and away from others (social distancing). Where they cannot work from home, they must follow the same principles of social distancing while traveling to and from work and while at work.

Self-isolation 

Anyone who either has a high temperature or a new persistent cough or is within 14 days of the day when the first member of their household showed symptoms of Corona virus (Covid-19) should not come to the site but must follow the guidance on self- isolation from his HR, Health department or another accountable official of the company.

Person at Increased Risk   

Anyone who is at increased risk of severe illness from Corona virus (Covid-19) is strongly advised to work at home and should be particularly strict or inflexible about following social distancing measures.
Persons defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable    Anyone identified as extremely vulnerable will be advised by their health authority and must follow the guidance on. https://www.mohap.gov.ae/en/Pages/default.aspx, SEHA: https://www.seha.ae/ or other available resources.

Living with a Person in One of the Above Groups   

Anyone living with a person who is at increased risk of severe illness, or an extremely vulnerable person who is shielding from Corona virus (Covid-19), should stringently follow the guidance on social distancing and minimize contact outside the home. Now the Government of UAE has strict social distance policy and all employees should follow the rules, guidelines and regulations very strictly.

If Someone Falls Ill

If a worker/employee develops a high temperature or a persistent cough or other symptoms while at work, they should:
  • Ensure their manager or supervisor is informed
  • Return home immediately
  • Avoid touching anything
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue and put it in a bin, or if they do not have issues, they should cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow.
They must then pursue the guidance on self-isolation and not resume the work activities until their period of self-isolation is completed and they are fit to go to work. The HR department should also provide guidelines to such employee who is effected or have symptoms

Travel to Work/Work to Accommodation

Wherever possible workers should travel to the site alone using their transport. If workers have no option but to share transport:
  • While traveling to worksite or back to the accommodation after daily work activities, should be shared with the same individuals and with the minimum number of people at any one-time.
  • Good ventilation (i.e. keeping the vehicle windows open) and facing away from each other may help to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
  • All vehicle (personal staff e.g., site engineers/managers) or for the labour should be properly and regularly cleaned using gloves and standard cleaning and sanitizing products, with particular emphasis on handles and other areas where laborers may touch surfaces.
Sites should consider:
  • Parking arrangements for additional vehicles and bicycles
  • Other means of transport to avoid public transport e.g. cycling
  • Providing hand cleaning facilities at entrances and exits. This should be soap or hand sanitizer, in case of unavailability of water. 
  • How someone is taken ill would get home
Where public transport is the only option for workers, you should consider:
  1. Changing and staggering site hours to reduce congestion on public transport
  2. Avoid using public transport during peak times (07:00 ‐ 10:30 and 16:00 ‐ 18:00)

Driving at Worksite/Facilities

When traveling at work or between site locations, workers should travel alone. If employees/workforce have no other option but to share a vehicle, then they should:
  • Share with the same individuals and with the minimum number of people at any one time
  • Wherever possible maintain a distance of two meters and avoid touching their faces
  • Maintain good ventilation (i.e. keeping the windows open) and face away from each other during the journey
  • Wash their hands for 20 seconds using soap and water or hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available before entering and after getting out of the vehicle
  • Make good housekeeping and regularly, clean the vehicle by using safety gloves and standard cleaning substances/chemicals, specific on the handles and other touchable surfaces during the daily journey.

Site Access and Egress Points

  • Stop all non-essential visitors
  • Consider introducing staggered start and finish times to reduce gathering and contact at all times
  • Plan site access and egress points to enable social distancing – you may need to change the number of access points, either increase to reduce congestion or decrease to enable monitoring, including in the case of emergencies
  • Allow plenty of space between people waiting to enter the site
Use Signage:
  1. such as floor markings, to ensure 2-meter distance is maintained between people when queuing
  2. reminding workers not to attend if they have symptoms of Corona virus (Covid-19) and to follow guidelines
  3. Disable entry systems that need direct skin contact (e.g. fingerprint scanners) unless they are sanitized and cleaned between each of their use.
  4. Require all workers to wash their hands for 20 seconds using soap and water when entering and leaving the site
  5. Usually clean common contactable surfaces in various office locations, e.g., reception, office, washrooms, access control and delivery areas e.g. scanners, turnstiles, screens, telephone handsets and desks, particularly.
  6. To cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. reduce the number of visitors/employees/general public at the site. Provide induction and awareness to them if possible.
  7. Where loading and offloading arrangements on-site will allow it, drivers should remain in their vehicles. Where drivers are required to exit their vehicle, they should wash or sanitize their hands before handling any materials
  8. Consider arrangements for monitoring compliance.

Hand Washing Facility

  • Allow regular breaks to wash hands
  • Provide additional hand washing facilities (e.g. pop-ups) to the usual welfare facilities, particularly on a large spread out the site or where there are significant numbers of personnel on-site, including plant operators
  • Ensure adequate supplies of soap and freshwater are readily available and kept topped up at all times
  • Provide hand sanitizer (minimum 60% alcohol-based) where hand washing facilities are unavailable
  • Regularly clean the hand washing facilities
  • Provide appropriate and sufficient rubbish bins for hand towels/tissues with regular removal and disposal.

Toilet Facilities

  • Restrict the number of people using toilet facilities at any one time (e.g. use a welfare attendant) and use signage, such as floor markings, to ensure 2-meter distance is maintained between people when queuing
  • Wash or sanitize hands before and after using the facilities
  • Enhance the cleaning regimes for toilet facilities, particularly door handles, locks and the toilet flush
  • Portable toilets should be avoided wherever possible but were in use these should be cleaned and emptied more frequently
  • Provide appropriate and sufficient rubbish bins for hand towels and use disposable tissue papers with regular removal and disposal.
Canteens/Restaurants and Rest Areas
Where possible, workers should be encouraged to bring their food. They should also be needed to stay on-site once they have made entry and to avoid using food delivery from outside. Where there are no practical alternatives, worksite/facility canteens may remain open to provide food items to staff with proper improvements for social distancing. Canteens should provide a takeaway service providing pre-prepared and wrapped food only.
  • Consider increasing the number or size of facilities available on-site if possible
  • The capacity of each canteen or rest area should be identified at the entry to each facility, and where necessary attendants provided to supervise compliance with social distancing measures
  • Break times should be staggered to reduce congestion and contact at all times
  • Fresh and pure drinking water should be provided with additional cleaning initiatives. 
  • Frequently clean surfaces that are touched regularly, using standard cleaning products e.g. Kettles, refrigerators, microwaves
  • Hand cleaning facilities or hand sanitizer should be available at the entrance to any room where people eat and should be used by workers when entering and leaving the area
  • A minimum distance of two meters should be kept between users, wherever possible/applicable
  • All rubbish should be put straight in the bin and not left for someone else to clear up
  • Tables should be cleaned between each use
  • Crockery, eating utensils, cups etc. should not be used unless they are disposable or are washed and dried between uses
  • Payments should be taken by contact-less card wherever possible
  • Canteen staff should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food
  • Canteen staff and workers may use rest areas if they apply the same social distancing measures
  • Consider arrangements for monitoring compliance.

Changing Facilities, Showers and Drying/Rest Rooms

  • Consider increasing the number or size of facilities available on-site if possible
  • Based on the size of each facility, determine how many people can use it at any one time to maintain a distance of two meters
  • Restrict the number of people using these facilities at any one time e.g. use a welfare attendant
  • Introduce additional, advance and variation in cleaning techniques of all facilities/worksites throughout the day and at the end of each day.
  • Provide appropriate rubbish bins in these areas with regular removal and disposal initiatives.

Work Planning to Avoid Close Contact/Working

In line with. https://www.mohap.gov.ae/en/Pages/default.aspx,SEHA: https://www.seha.ae/ or other available resources guidelines, where it is not possible to follow the social distancing guidelines in full about a particular activity, you should consider whether that work task requires to continue for the worksite/facility to continue to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of  covid-19 or another biological virus transmission. Worksites and work need to be planned and organized to avoid crowding and minimize the risk of spread of infection by following SEHA/UAE Ministry of Health and OSHAD HSE guidance and the advice within these Worksite Operating Procedures. Facilities and worksites responsible/accountable personals should remind the workforce (e.g. at daily briefings) of the specific control measures necessary to protect them, their colleagues, families and the UAE population.

The Hierarchy of Controls

If you are not able to work whilst maintaining a two-meter distance, you should consider whether the activity should continue and, if so, risk assesses it using the hierarchy of controls below and against any sector-specific guidance.
Elimination  
  • Employees who have symptoms of Corona virus (COVID-19), should not continue their activities at the worksite.
  • Rearrange tasks to enable them to be done by one person, or by maintaining social distancing measures (2-meters)
  • Avoid skin to skin and face to face contact
  • Stairs should be used in preference to lifts or hoists and consider one ways systems
  • Consider additional mechanical aids to reduce worker interface
Site Meetings
  • Only necessary meeting participants should attend
  • Attendees should be at least 2-meters apart from each other
  • Accommodation or work activities rooms should be proper ventilated / windows should be opened to allow fresh air circulation and enough amount of Oxygen. 
  • Consider holding meetings in open areas where possible

Social Distancing

Workers in the in facility management, MEP services, industries, shopping malls and construction should follow the guidance on Staying at home and away from others (social distancing). Where they cannot work from home, they must follow the same principles of social distancing while traveling to and from work and while at work.

Self-Isolation

Anyone who either has a high temperature or a new persistent cough or is within 14 days of the day when the first member of their household showed symptoms of Corona-virus (Covid-19) should not come to the site but must follow the guidance on self- isolation from his HR, Health department or another accountable official of the company.

Person at Increased Risk

Anyone who is at increased risk of severe illness from Corona virus (Covid-19) is strongly advised to work at home and should be particularly strict or inflexible about following social distancing measures. Persons defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable. Anyone identified as extremely vulnerable will be advised by their health authority and must follow the guidance on. https://www.mohap.gov.ae/en/Pages/default.aspx, SEHA: https://www.seha.ae/ or other available resources.

Living with a person in one of the above groups

Anyone living with a person who is at increased risk of severe illness, or an extremely vulnerable person who is shielding from Corona virus (Covid-19), should stringently follow the guidance on social distancing and minimize contact outside the home. Now the Government of UAE has strict social distance policy and all employees should follow the rules, guidelines and regulations very strictly.
If Someone Falls Ill
If a worker/employee develops a high temperature or a persistent cough or other symptoms while at work, they should:
  • Return home immediately
  • Avoid touching anything  
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue and put it in a bin, or if they do not have issues, they should cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow.
They must then pursue the guidance on self-isolation and not resume the work activities until their period of self-isolation is completed and they are fit to go to work. The HR department should also provide guidelines to such employee who is effected or have symptoms

Travel to Work/Work to Accommodation

Wherever possible workers should travel to the site alone using their transport. If workers have no option but to share transport

  • While traveling to worksite or back to the accommodation after daily work activities, should be shared with the same individuals and with the minimum number of people at any one-time.
  • Good ventilation (i.e. keeping the vehicle windows open) and facing away from each other may help to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. 
  • All vehicle (personal staff e.g., site engineers/managers) or for the labour should be properly and regularly cleaned using gloves and standard cleaning and sanitizing products, with particular emphasis on handles and other areas where laborers may touch surfaces.

Sites should consider:

  • Parking arrangements for additional vehicles and bicycle.
  • Other means of transport to avoid public transport e.g. cycling. 
  • Providing hand cleaning facilities at entrances and exits. This should be soap or hand sanitizer, in case of unavailability of water. 
  • How someone is taken ill would get home.
Where public transport is the only option for workers, you should consider:
  1. Changing and staggering site hours to reduce congestion on public transport
  2. Avoid using public transport during peak times (07:00 ‐ 10:30 and 16:00 ‐ 18:00)

Driving at Worksite/Facilities

When traveling at work or between site locations, workers should travel alone. If employees/workforce have no other option but to share a vehicle, then they should:

  • Share with the same individuals and with the minimum number of people at any one time.
  • Wherever possible maintain a distance of two meters and avoid touching their faces.
  • Wherever possible maintain a distance of two meters and avoid touching their faces.
  • Maintain good ventilation (i.e. keeping the windows open) and face away from each other during the journey.
  • Wash their hands for 20 seconds using soap and water or hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available before entering and after getting out of the vehicle
  • Make good housekeeping and regularly, clean the vehicle by using safety gloves and standard cleaning substances/chemicals, specific on the handles and other touchable surfaces during the daily journey.

Site Access and Egress Points

  • Stop all non-essential visitors
  • Consider introducing staggered start and finish times to reduce gathering and contact at all times
  • Plan site access and egress points to enable social distancing – you may need to change the number of access points, either increase to reduce congestion or decrease to enable monitoring, including in the case of emergencies
  • Allow plenty of space between people waiting to enter the site

Use Signage:

  1. Such as floor markings, to ensure 2-meter distance is maintained between people when queuing.
  2. Reminding workers not to attend if they have symptoms of Corona virus (Covid-19) and to follow guidelines
  3. Disable entry systems that need direct skin contact (e.g. fingerprint scanners) unless they are sanitized and cleaned between each of their use.
  4. Require all workers to wash their hands for 20 seconds using soap and water when entering and leaving the site
  5. Usually clean common contactable surfaces in various office locations, e.g., reception, office, washrooms, access control and delivery areas e.g. scanners, turnstiles, screens, telephone handsets and desks, particularly.
  6. To cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. reduce the number of visitors/employees/general public at the site. Provide induction and awareness to them if possible.
  7. Where loading and offloading arrangements on-site will allow it, drivers should remain in their vehicles. Where drivers are required to exit their vehicle, they should wash or sanitize their hands before handling any materials
  8. Consider arrangements for monitoring compliance.

Hand Washing Facility

  • Allow regular breaks to wash hands
  • Provide additional hand washing facilities (e.g. pop-ups) to the usual welfare facilities, particularly on a large spread out the site or where there are significant numbers of personnel on-site, including plant operators
  • Ensure adequate supplies of soap and freshwater are readily available and kept topped up at all time.
  • Provide hand sanitizer (minimum 60% alcohol-based) where hand washing facilities are unavailable.
  • Provide hand sanitizer (minimum 60% alcohol-based) where hand washing facilities are unavailable
  • Regularly clean the hand washing facilities
  • Provide appropriate and sufficient rubbish bins for hand towels/tissues with regular removal and disposal

Toilet Facilities

  • Restrict the number of people using toilet facilities at any one time (e.g. use a welfare attendant) and use signage, such as floor markings, to ensure 2-meter distance is maintained between people when queuing

  • Wash or sanitize hands before and after using the facilities

  • Enhance the cleaning regimes for toilet facilities, particularly door handles, locks and the toilet flush
  • Portable toilets should be avoided wherever possible but were in use these should be cleaned and emptied more frequently

Canteens/Restaurants and Rest Areas

Where possible, workers should be encouraged to bring their food. They should also be needed to stay on-site once they have made entry and to avoid using food delivery from outside. Where there are no practical alternatives, worksite/facility canteens may remain open to provide food items to staff with proper improvements for social distancing. Canteens should provide a takeaway service providing pre-prepared and wrapped food only.

  • Consider increasing the number or size of facilities available on-site if possible
  • The capacity of each canteen or rest area should be identified at the entry to each facility, and where necessary attendants provided to supervise compliance with social distancing measures
  • Break times should be staggered to reduce congestion and contact at all time
  • Frequently clean surfaces that are touched regularly, using standard cleaning products e.g. Kettles, refrigerators, microwaves
  • Hand cleaning facilities or hand sanitizer should be available at the entrance to any room where people eat and should be used by workers when entering and leaving the area
  • A minimum distance of two meters should be kept between users, wherever possible/applicable
  • All rubbish should be put straight in the bin and not left for someone else to clear up
  • Tables should be cleaned between each use
  • Crockery, eating utensils, cups etc. should not be used unless they are disposable or are washed and dried between uses
  • Payments should be taken by contact-less card wherever possible
  • Canteen staff should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food
  • Canteen staff and workers may use rest areas if they apply the same social distancing measures
  • Consider arrangements for monitoring compliance.

Changing Facilities, Showers and Drying/Rest Rooms

  • Consider increasing the number or size of facilities available on-site if possible
  • Based on the size of each facility, determine how many people can use it at any one time to maintain a distance of two meters
  • Restrict the number of people using these facilities at any one time e.g. use a welfare attendant
  • Introduce additional, advance and variation in cleaning techniques of all facilities/worksites throughout the day and at the end of each day.
  • Provide appropriate rubbish bins in these areas with regular removal and disposal initiatives.

Work Planning to Avoid Close Contact/Working

In line with. https://www.mohap.gov.ae/en/Pages/default.aspx,SEHA: https://www.seha.ae/ or other available resources guidelines, where it is not possible to follow the social distancing guidelines in full about a particular activity, you should consider whether that work task requires to continue for the worksite/facility to continue to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of  covid-19 or another biological virus transmission. Worksites and work need to be planned and organized to avoid crowding and minimize the risk of spread of infection by following SEHA/UAE Ministry of Health and OSHAD HSE guidance and the advice within these Worksite Operating Procedures. Facilities and worksites responsible/accountable personals should remind the workforce (e.g. at daily briefings) of the specific control measures necessary to protect them, their colleagues, families and the UAE population.

The Hierarchy of Controls

If you are not able to work whilst maintaining a two-meter distance, you should consider whether the activity should continue and, if so, risk assesses it using the hierarchy of controls below and against any sector-specific guidance.

Elimination

  • Employees who have symptoms of Corona virus (COVID-19), should not continue their activities at the worksite.
  • Rearrange tasks to enable them to be done by one person, or by maintaining social distancing measures (2-meters)
  • Avoid skin to skin and face to face contact
  • Stairs should be used in preference to lifts or hoists and consider one ways systems
  • Consider additional mechanical aids to reduce worker interface

Site Meetings

  • Only necessary meeting participants should attend
  • Attendees should be at least 2-meters apart from each other
  • Attendees should be at least 2-meters apart from each other
  • Accommodation or work activities rooms should be proper ventilated / windows should be opened to allow fresh air circulation and enough amount of Oxygen.
  • Consider holding meetings in open areas where possible

Reduction

Where social distancing measures (2-meters) cannot be applied:

  • Minimize the frequency and time workers are within (2-meters) of each other
  • Minimize the number of workers involved in these tasks
  • Workers should work side by side or face away from each other, rather than face to face
  • Workers/employees capacity -in lifts and hoists to reduce and contact close interaction to each other should be minimized at all times
  • All touch points, doors, buttons, handles, vehicle cabs, tools, equipment should regularly clean common etc.
  • Increase ventilation in enclosed /confined spaces types of areas.
  • Workforce/employee should wash their hands before and after using any equipment/tools or washrooms.

Isolation

Keep groups of workers that have to work within (2-meters):

  • Together in teams e.g. (do not change workers within teams)
  • As small as possible
  • Away from other workers where possible

Control

Where face to face working is essential to carry out a task when working within(2-meters):

  • Reduce the duration to 15 minutes or less where possible/applicable
  • Introducing enhanced authorization techniques for these tasks
  • Provide additional supervision to monitor and manage compliance

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Worksites/facilities should not use PPE for Corona virus (Covid-19) where the (2-meters) social distancing guidelines are met.
  • Where it is not possible to maintain a (2-meters) distance, each activity should be risk assessed using the hierarchy of controls and against any sector-specific guidance, mindful that masks (PPE) are the last resort in the hierarchy
  • Re-usable PPE should be thoroughly cleaned after use and not shared between workers
  • Single-use PPE should be disposed of so that it cannot be reused
Where employees/workers need  to work in particular environments (e.g. where persons are shielding, with symptoms, or confirmed (Covid-19) cases may be present e.g. healthcare employees/staff or in a home environment) extra personal protective equipment (PPE) should be used to the Corona virus (Covid-19) risk

Behavior

The measures necessary to minimize the risk of spread of infection rely on everyone in the industry taking responsibility for their actions and behavior. Please encourage collaborative technique/strategy between employers on a worksite where any health and safety issues can be openly discussed.

First Aid and Emergency Service Response (ESR)

The fundamental responsibility is to secure life and first aid should be carryout if needed and until the emergency services met.

  • While making worksite activity’s plan and strategy, the provision of appropriate first aid means must be agreed between the relevant parties on site
  • Emergency plans including contact details should be kept up to date
  • Priorities must also be given to possible latency in emergency services response, due to the current pressure on resources
  • Consider preventing or rescheduling high-risk work or providing additional competent first aid or trauma resources.
Housekeeping/Cleaning

All cleaning procedures and methods should be in place across the site, particularly in communal areas and at touch points including

  • Taps and washing facilities
  • Toilet flush and seat
  • Door handles and pushes plates
  • Handrails on staircases and corridors
  • Lift and hoist controls
  • Machinery and equipment controls
  • All eating areas/dining must be completely cleaned at the end of each break and shift.
  • All chairs, door handles, microwave and payment devices.
  • All chairs, door handles, microwave and payment devices
  • Fax, printing devices, telephone, etc.
  • Various office items including keyboards, photocopiers, etc.
  • Regularly replacement and changing of Rubbish collection and dustbins.



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