Keeping Apprentices Safe on Site @BenfieldATT

  Safe Travel to Work
ECA’s director of CSR, Paul Reeve, explores the possibilities for apprentices – and others – to travel and work safely on site in these continually challenging times …

Paul Reeve – ECA

The Issues
Carrying out essential work and even travel in close proximity has presented new operational problems across construction and RMI. Apprentice travel and training has been flagged up as a particular challenge, with some companies pondering how to get those apprentices who do not drive to, from and around sites. Others have questioned whether it’s possible to carry out close-proximity apprentice training and supervision.

Apprentices are vital to current and future operations in our sector, so ECA has produced two flow charts that clearly show various practical solutions to these issues. By now we all know the three most effective routes to preventing the spread of coronavirus on site and when travelling:
  • Social distancing
  • Effective hand washing
  • Thorough sanitising/cleaning of all contactable surfaces and equipment – plus preventing unnecessary sharing of items or equipment.

   2m Difficulty
While all activities should be planned and organised to avoid unnecessary close proximity (work less than 2m apart) sometimes close proximity, such as supervising apprentices’ work, or travelling in shared vehicles, is necessary.

   Risk Assessment
If close-proximity apprentice activity needs to continue for the business to operate – which may include essential training, supervision and various tasks – the first thing to do is conduct a suitable and sufficient risk assessment.

 Preventive Measures
That risk assessment should include all the necessary mitigating actions (applying a range of preventive measures) to eliminate or control the risk of transmission from close proximity work. This means implementing as many of the following as reasonably practicable:
  • Minimise the number of workers operating or driving within 2m of each other
  • Minimise the frequency and time workers are within 2m of each other.

   Keep those involved in closer proximity
  • Together (avoid swapping workers within work pairs or teams)
  • Away from other workers, where possible.

   Which Way to Face
Workers should work side by side or facing away from each other: avoid face-to-face working wherever possible and consider using temporary barriers between workers (for instance, clear flexible barriers in vehicles, notably for essential longer journeys).

Also consider:
Also consider:
  • Using an authorisation process for close proximity activities
  • Providing designated supervision (such as a “compliance champion”) to monitor and manage compliance with your preventative measures.

   Face coverings?
Finally, face coverings or visors can additionally be used, but do not rely solely on these as the sole mitigating measure. The measures above must first be deployed, to mitigate the risk as far as reasonably practicable. For more information on this subject, please also see the ECA/BESA GN2 “close proximity” guide at:

   Download the flow charts on the link below
These flow charts (which can be adapted to any workers at close proximity) aim to help employers understand their options and make well informed health and safety and employment decisions about the continued deployment of apprentices on-site.

   Off-Site is Safer
Concerns with safety on-site once again emphasises yet another reason why more and more firms are opting for OSM / MMC / DfMA. The change to DfMA has actually become the norm, the wish of most UK Builders to deliver excellent customer service and top notch homes is now driving an increasing number to choose Modular Off-Site for their developments. And as ‘OffSite Hub” notes, architects and designers are moving toward DfMA, something we have been encouraging for over 20 years. The emergence of LA Developers will only speed up this process

   Learn & Earn with DfMA
Applying DfMA (Design for Manufacture & Assembly) to lightweight structures defines the process of taking these to the next level. For example, standard designs from our very low rise ‘SolidLox’ brand enable us to provide buildings that do not require massive foundations and which can avoid harming tree roots while delivering on time and within budget.

   Systematic Solutions
Such projects require a systematic, solution driven approach which brings discipline to the process, sharing  information and communications.; a welcome change in the overall approach to project management and development – and to those who just ‘talk about it’!

   Saving Waste – from Concept to Clearance
Modular Off-site MMC SIP & Timber Frame structures provide excellent ways to save waste and deliver top energy rated homes.  Working  with architects, planners and environmentalists to satisfy all types of design, we are already well on the way to incorporating waste reduction measures into our procedures and processes. This means our ‘Volumetric’ and ‘Flat pack’ modular building solutions envisaging ultimate demolition and clearance can ‘tread lightly on the earth’ as we adapt  business innovations and developments to environmental needs.

   Partnering for Modular Progress
All of this entails a shift in thinking to that already practiced by established ‘Off-Site’ MMC manufacturers. It can be quickly and easily incorporated into procedures and processes of building and development. Better still, you can make partnering arrangements with such manufacturers to gain all round benefits.

Greater Speed, Accuracy, Quality and Lower Costs
Greater collaborative ‘partnering’ between architects, builders and  manufacturers will deliver these. The greater speed, accuracy and quality that can result from manufacturing components in a dry, controlled factory environment, together with the ability tom incorporate (yet to be invented) ‘Smart Ware’  gives home builders perhaps the only way of achieving this, together with improved on-site build quality AND controlling costs.

   Easy Timber Frame
To assist them in doing so our “Easy Timber Frame” now offers standard size modular timber frame elements for them to use as a design base, cutting down on technical design and engineering to produce win-win results.

   Better all-round Savings
Our specialist services and CUSTOM homes division deliver best value and  protect the interests of land owners, house-builder developers, professionals and private individuals seeking to build their dream home. Our off-site construction systems also reduce the amount of material that gets wasted on site, helping to avoid land fill, hazardous waste separation and handling, They also deliver better value for you and your customers.


Call us to arrange a factory visit and discuss your ideas and needs with our in-house team of professionals for your next project. You’ll be glad you did!
● Timber Frame   ● SIP Frame   ● Post & Beam   ● Traditional Feature Trusses   ● Glulam Structures
● Hybrids   ● Low Energy Components
For really attractive, flexible, affordable and HEALTHY Low Energy Homes, call, send us your drawings, or visit our manufacturing plant now.