Considerations for planning your next Site Office
In the current climate, it’s more important to get site offices in the manual labour industry working correctly, as there are increased measures to deal with new social distancing and hygiene requirements.
Plans need to be constructed to make sure everything from health and safety to storage is planned so work can continue and sites can run.
In this article, we are going to cover what needs to be included in a site office such as safety, amenity, visibility and security.
Maintaining health and safety during a pandemic
Maintaining normal health and safety measures is now not enough during this pandemic. You must follow new Covid-19 guidance, such as hand washing/sanitiser facilities and social distancing.
Regulations such as ‘one meter plus’ mean workers must maintain two meters apart when they can but can be one meter plus if there is not enough space. Another regulation is that hand washing facilities much be placed at sites entrances and exits.
Sites have been encouraged to use staggered start and finish times for their workers to ensure there are fewer people all together in one space, such as communal areas like canteens and drying areas.
If you need any more clarification on the regulations that must followed on sites, the Construction Leadership Council has outlined a list of measures that are available to read in the newest version of the site operating procedures guide.
When bad weather means that the site cannot be used, the site office still operates as normal. Protection against the elements is key for any site, and with the security benefits a durable steel storage container site office can offer, the use of one for weatherproofing is a no-brainer. Not to mention the fact it can keep site equipment dry and occupants — providing they are following social distancing measures.
Necessary information and equipment
Vital information is sent from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and they need to be displayed in the site office.
An important piece of equipment every site office must have is a first aid kit that is easy to get to. Housing it in a site office means it can be kept secure, dry, and in good condition.
There are certain documents that must be kept including an accident log, health and safety policies, induction forms, risk assessments, construction phase plan, method statements, training records, work permits, and a site register.
A very important piece of equipment is a fire extinguisher which needs to be available in case of an emergency and must be available in different areas of the site if possible.
Site offices must always make sure they maintain a high level of security. Theft can happen at any time, especially during times where our focus may be elsewhere. Attacks can often take place on weekends or during longer periods of downtime — which is something that could happen again at the blink of an eye in the current pandemic.
Offices hold important and valuable items such as documentation and essential documentation. It’s no surprise that many site offices tend to be in the form of a durable steel storage container — built to function as an office with workspace and other amenities, but also to offer a high level of protection.
Now is a great time to start thinking about getting a site accommodation or renting from a reputable provider.
The site office is often the centre of the site, so if anywhere this is where important signage will be. A device for workers to sign-in and out on should be placed in the office where it can be kept safe and referenced whenever an emergency arises.
The site office is the most noticeable place to have a display board and to make sure all workers know the rules and regulations of the work environment. Spare PPE should also be safe and dry so it can be used by visitors when they are permitted to come on-site.
The site office does not just include that one building. The right amenities for workers should be close by. Portable drying rooms, shower units, and toilets are vital considerations when planning the site so that employees have everything, they need in one centralised hub.
Visibility is also a necessity for any site office. Double-glazed windows that allow occupants to see the rest of their site is an excellent way to achieve good visibility.
If your site follows everything mentioned, as well as keeping up to date with Covid-19 regulations, this will make sure you are maintaining a safe site during these ever-changing times. The hope now for sites that already take these factors into account is that they can continue to operate without another lockdown.