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Safe return to work processes

Health and safety standards and protocols for construction

New industry health and safety standards and protocols for operating under COVID-19 alert levels have been developed and are now available.

Consistent health and safety standards are essential to both protect workers and stop the spread of COVID-19, and to give people confidence that it is safe to return to work. There are several important health measures practices will need to take to keep workers safe.

NZIA guidance: returning to work under Level 2

These case studies illustrate how a residential and commercial contractor might navigate their way through the restrictions set out by the Government under Alert Level 2. 

The case studies describe the type of COVID-19 controls that have been put in place to limit the transmission of COVID-19 between the contractor's personnel, subcontractors and visitors on site.

NZIA guidance: returning to work under Level 3

The following guidance outlines how a business can navigate its way through the restrictions set out by Government and Construction Health and Safety New Zealand (CHASNZ) to secure the health and safety of employees on site.

The guidance pulls together in one resource, previous member notices, Government and CHASNZ requirements. As additional health and safety measures are introduced by Government or CHASNZ, or the alert level is lowered further, this member advice will be updated to reflect the changes. 

NZIA guidance: community contact tracing and privacy

As part of health and safety responsibilities as a PCBU, Practices will need to demonstrate the ability to effectively trace anyone who has been in contact with its employees and workplace.


WorkSafe guidance: making a safety plan

Under Alert Levels 2 and 3, all businesses need to have a COVID-19 safety plan that sets out how they’ll operate safely.

Before work begins again, you need to develop a plan for working safely. You also need to discuss and share the plan with everyone at work – including workers, contractors, and suppliers – before the work starts. You should review and update your plan regularly.

WorkSafe has provided a template to help you with your planning. Please note it is not compulsory to use this template but it does provide a useful starting point:

COVID-19 safety plan template - PDF version (PDF 74 KB)
COVID-19 safely plan template - Word version (DOCX 436 KB)

It should be noted that your plan should incorporate any available industry guidance issued to assist you operate safely under COVID-19 restrictions. For construction, CHASNZ has issued relevant advice for residential and vertical and horizontal protocols

Please note: The NZIA Practice team has produced a practice note to help you understand the architect’s role in administering a construction contract under Alert Level 3. Go to our contract resources page for more info.


CHASNZ guidance: key construction protocols

If you are planning and permitted on and around construction sites – it is essential that you understand and work to these new protocols.

There are two sets of protocols – one for the residential sector, and another for the civil and vertical sectors.

The standards set out the key principles and requirements for healthy and safe construction-related operations under COVID-19 Alert Levels 2 and 3. They represent current best practice, and the expectation is all construction sector businesses and workers will apply them, and do the right thing.

The protocols include guidance for businesses on creating a ‘COVID-19 control plan’ including protocols around physical distancing, hygiene, site entry and exit, deliveries, and visitor protocols.

The protocols are a ‘living document’ and will be updated as best practice develops and we receive further industry feedback.


BRANZ guidance: returning to sites at Alert Level 3

These BRANZ guidelines for returning to site provide information about what actions to take and where to go to get additional help.


Construction Sector Accord collaboration

A big thank you to Construction Health and Safety New Zealand (CHASNZ), our peak health and safety body and a member of the Construction Sector Accord, who developed the industry standards in collaboration with government agencies, WorkSafe, Construction Sector Accord member groups and client organisations.

The development of the protocols was led by SiteSafe, Civil Contractors New Zealand, Vertical Construction Leaders Group, and other leaders from the residential sector. These organisations in turn, consulted with field experts in the industry.

More information on where to get help with the protocols and how to provide feedback can be found on the CHASNZ website.