Managing Construction Risk

Multiplex discusses how they are managing the risk of COVID-19 through their business and on construction sites.

When we think about it, it’s really what we do every day, managing risk that is.

So when this new risk entered our workplace called Corona Virus, we did what we do best, we managed the risk. We have reverted to our training and instinctive response regarding the risk management and health and safety of our project sites.  

As part of our risk management plan we have developed a specific COVID-19 infectious disease and management response plan, which includes systems to manage COVID-19 risks in all of our workplaces.

We are collaborating daily with government, unions and industry to ensure we are implementing best practice protocols to protect our people and the community.

Although workplaces currently defined as essential, including construction sites, have specific public health orders that give some dispensations due to the essential nature of the work, we are nonetheless applying Department of Health guidelines as best as we can and wherever practical.

We have put in place a number of measures in our workplaces to minimise the spread of COVID-19 including:

  • Managing illness and symptoms – we’re advising workers to stay home if they feel ill or have symptoms
  • Screening for risks – we’re directing all new workers and visitors to complete a self-declaration and advise us if:
    • they are experiencing any symptoms
    • they have been, or have potentially been, exposed to a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is suspected to have COVID-19
  • Giving regular briefings – we’re reminding workers about social distancing guidelines and COVID safety measures in on-site notices, inductions, pre-start meetings and toolbox meetings
  • Staggering breaks – we’re staggering break times for lunch and smoko to limit the number of workers congregating in one area, and we have repositioned our lunch tables to create 1.5 metres between chairs
  • Managing hoists and lifts – we have reduced the maximum number of occupants in hoists and lifts to enable appropriate distancing
  • Reducing face to face meetings – we have ensured our workforce have the resources they need to conduct meetings remotely where possible
  • Utilising outdoor spaces – we’re encouraging breaks and workforce briefings to be held in large outdoor spaces where possible and applying social distancing
  • Elevating cleaning regimes – our onsite cleaning regime includes regular cleaning of site amenities as well as common and high touch surfaces
  • Encouraging personal hygiene – we have provisions for handwashing and encourage all workers to frequently wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitiser

Reflecting on the adjustments we have made to our sites reminds us how the construction and property industry is best placed to deal with such events – to a large extent it is ‘business as usual’ because we are simply managing risk.

Of course there are still some unavoidable impacts around additional cost and lost time. However we are proud of how flexible, durable, robust and malleable our industry has and will continue to be and how, during these challenging times, we have been able to continue operating as an essential service.

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