More than 65 builders have been found to have flouted Safe Management Measures (SMM) under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020 since the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) started on 16 May this year.
2. The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has stepped up its checks and conducted more than 900 inspections per week at construction worksites to ensure that builders are doing their part to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission among the construction workforce, while keeping construction works going as much as possible. The number of inspections is triple the average of 300 inspections that BCA conducted per week from June last year.
3. A key concern arising from BCA’s checks is the lack of rigour in deploying TraceTogether-only SafeEntry or ensuring SafeEntry check-in at worksite entrances. The purpose of SafeEntry check-in is to facilitate faster contact tracing. 26 builders were found to have allowed workers or visitors into their worksites without performing a SafeEntry check-in at the site entrances. These included two sites which had let in workers who were subsequently found to be COVID-positive.
4. For failing to ensure that workers or visitors check-in before entering the worksites, BCA had issued a three-day Stop Work Order to halt all activities on site until the builders review their SMM plan, rectify the non-compliance(s) and submit a compliance report to BCA. Sites that are found with COVID-positive cases will need to do a thorough disinfection before works can resume.
5. BCA has also heightened the enforcement stance towards builders who do not appoint Safe Management Officers or Safe Distancing Officers to escort and supervise workers or visitors (e.g. roving sub-contractors, delivery personnel, service providers) who perform works or services at multiple worksites. The SMO or SDO would need to ensure that these workers or visitors do not intermingle with the workforce and that all SMM are strictly adhered to throughout their stay on site. Sites that are found to have flout this requirement will be issued three-day Stop Work Orders.
6. Other common non-compliances observed during the inspections include having workers without BCA’s approval performing works on site, personnel not adhering to safe distancing or not wearing masks, as well as worksites having no proper zonal segregation.
7. BCA takes a serious view of any failure to comply with SMM in worksites. As any non-compliance can easily undermine the efforts and good work of the rest of the industry in combating the transmission of COVID-19, BCA has heightened our enforcement stance against builders which are found to be non-compliant with COVID-19 laws. Builders with worksites that are found to be non-compliant will be issued longer SWOs, composition fines up to $2,000 or face prosecution.
8. BCA urges stakeholders in the construction industry to keep tight controls at worksites and remain agile in adapting and implementing enhanced measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission among the construction workforce.