Mandatory Face Coverings for Construction?
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock announced yesterday that face coverings will become compulsory in shops and supermarkets in England from 24 July 2020 which brings these areas in line with requirements on public transport. It may be that we are on track for wider implementation of face coverings, with other countries already mandating these in public.
This would be a significant turnaround for construction, a recent Build UK survey found 88% of companies do not provide, or require, a face covering when 2m social distancing can be maintained although this jumps to 70% requiring face masks when the 2m social distancing cannot be maintained.
Just like any PPE, if face coverings are mandated then it would be the employer’s responsibility to provide these at their expense. It is important to remember though that this is about face coverings and not RPE. Supply levels of RPE to protect against exposure to asbestos, COSHH materials etc… is currently very limited with costs significantly increased.
Therefore, any decision to adopt face coverings does not mean you need to try and acquire FFP2 or FFP3 masks.