COVID-19 BALI Statement 13 May 2020
On Sunday 10 May 2020, the Prime Minister announced the Government’s latest revisions to the current guidance issued by the government to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The revisions include minor changes that will affect business operations and freedom of movement for individuals in equal measure.
These revisions were followed by the publication of several documents, which explain the mechanics of the changes and the suggested course of action. Of most significance to the landscape industry, is the release of a document titled ‘Construction and other outdoor work’, which contains guidance for people who either work in or run outdoor working environments.
In the absence of a document aimed specifically at the landscape or horticulture industries, BALI has reviewed the guidance contained within ‘Construction and other outdoor work’, together with all new and revised documentation, and commented on the likely implications for the landscape industry.
BALI would like to remind members that, despite the Prime Minister urging the construction industry to return to work, and the subsequent relaxation of restrictions concerning daily personal exercise and non-essential trips, the risk of transmitting COVID-19 remains high. BALI would urge members to reflect on their own business and consider their legal duty of care to employees, clients and the public.
BALI wishes to highlight the guidance in England now differs from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, who are subject to their own guidance. Members with stakeholders in each of the 4 nations are reminded to reflect on the potential for different restrictions associated with works.
Moving forward, BALI is committed to supporting members by developing a strategy and action plan designed to restart and rebuild their businesses. On Thursday 14 May, all BALI members will be asked to complete a survey that has been specifically created to understand the implications and impact of COVID-19 and for BALI to understand member’s current needs and requirements.
BALI would like to remind members that there is a suite of support documents available on the BALI website.
Working safely during coronavirus
On Monday 11 May, the government published 8 guides, outlining the steps businesses are required to consider ensuring workplaces are as safe as possible.
Whilst the overall aim of the government for businesses remains the same - to encourage employees to work from home unless this is not possible - the guides provide additional detail on how businesses and their employees may wish to conduct business operations safely in light of the ongoing risk to health from COVID-19.
BALI wish to highlight to members that the guidance released by the government gives only suggested considerations and is non-statutory. The information contained within the document does not supersede any legal obligations relating to health and safety. BALI would urge members to reflect on their own business situation and employees and consider their legal duty of care to employees, clients and the public.
Construction and other outdoor work
BALI accepts that, following the Prime Minister's speech on Sunday 10 May 2020, many businesses will re-evaluate their working practices and - if they have not already done so - seek to restart works in some form.
The document is not prescriptive, and BALI urges members to familiarise themselves with the industry-specific guidance previously published by BALI, which contains practical advice on how work tasks may be undertaken safely and with due care to stakeholders.
Whilst the guidance contained within the government's ‘Construction and other outdoor work’ document does not reference the landscape industry directly; it represents the most relevant information issued by the government to date. It is also likely to be referenced by clients of BALI members, many of whom are likely to resume operations if they have not already done so.
The guidance document is split into 8 sections, from which BALI have highlighted the pertinent points, below:
1. Thinking about risk
- Carry out a risk assessment for all tasks and review regularly
- Reduce risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level
2. Who should go to work?
- Reduce the workforce to a minimum number
- Clinically vulnerable (as defined by the government) employees given the safest onsite roles
- Employees displaying symptoms of COVID-19 to remain at home
3. Social distancing at work
- To maintain 2m social distancing throughout the entire working day as far as possible
- Maintain smaller team sizes and encourage cohort working where possible
- Employers to be flexible on start/finish times to ease overcrowding on public transport, especially in urban areas
- If using public transport, it is strongly advised you take recommended safety precautions
4. Managing your customers, visitors and contractors
- Minimise unnecessary visits to site by stakeholders
- Make stakeholders aware of their responsibilities in the workplace
5. Cleaning and sanitising the workplace
- Clean work areas more frequently
- Provide equipment/materials necessary for increased hygiene
- Reduce the potential for transmission of the virus by managing equipment
6. Personal protective equipment and face coverings
- Continue to use PPE where required by work task or equipment type
- Make use of a face-covering where social distancing is not possible
7. Managing your workforce
- Communicate measures to employees
- Where possible, reduce contact between workers and works teams
- Minimise vehicle sharing
8. Inbound and outbound goods
- Avoid surface transmission when exchanging goods
- Ensure suppliers are informed of COVID-19 policies
The following documents are available for BALI members only and can be found on the BALI COVID-19 portal here. You will need to log in using your BALI website username and password to access as these are locked down.
- COVID-19 BALI Client Letter Template
- COVID-19 BALI Furloughed Worker Legal Guidance
- COVID-19 Furlough Employer to Employee Letter Template
- COVID-19 BALI Risk Assessment and Method Statement
- Work Authorisation Letter Template (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)
- COVID-19 BALI HR/Health & Safety Quest Guidance
- Quest VAT Deferral
- Quest Furlough leave letter template
- Quest Job Retention Scheme FAQ
The following documents have been updated and can be downloaded for free through the relevant links below, including BALI’s FAQ series which is now split into three documents featuring questions and answers on a variety of topics.
- COVID-19 BALI FAQ - Workforce Guidelines
- COVID-19 BALI FAQ - Government Business Support
- COVID-19 BALI FAQ - Contractual Guidelines
- COVID-19 BALI-NCF Statement 4 May 2020
- COVID-19 Testing 30 April 2020
- COVID-19 BALI Landscape Site Operating Procedures - Protecting your Workforce
- BALI Closed Members-Only Facebook Group
- COVID-19 BALI Statement 20 March 2020
- COVID-19 BALI Four-Point Strategy March 2020
- COVID-19 Impact on LISS/CSCS Applications
- COVID-19 BALI Position Statement 24 March 2020
- COVID-19 BALI Statement 26 March 2020
- COVID-19 BALI Guide to Apprenticeships
- COVID-19 Guidance for the Self-Employed
- COVID-19 BALI Open Letter to Members from BALI Chief Executive 1 April 2020
- COVID-19 BALI Scotland Update from BALI Chief Executive 4 April 2020
- COVID-19 BALI Position Statement for Businesses in England 9 April 2020