Both the Association of Brickwork Contractors and the British Constructional Steelwork Association are backing their members to take a united stand against unreasonable pressure from main contractors to attend sites that are not safe to work on.
The ABC has pledged to back any brickwork contractor which is placed in contractual dispute as a result of stopping work over concerns about safe working.
While the BCSA has revised its Safe Site Handover Certicates to include 2m self-distancing rule and cleaning surfaces.
It has told steelwork contractors not to go on site unless main contractors and clients have signed off their duty of care under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Tim Outteridge, president of the BCSA said: ‘This epidemic is unprecedented and more than ever at this time it is essential that clients and main contractors understand their health and safety responsibilities and stop putting our workers in danger.”
A spokeswoman for the ABC said: “We would urge the government to give clear instructions to close non-essential sites immediately, so as to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our employees and those of the contractors.
“The current situation has put a great strain on everyone, with many difficult decisions to be made.
“Our members are trying their very best to meet their contractual obligations but are under unreasonable pressure from some clients/contractors to continue working on construction sites that are not safe.
“This is a totally unacceptable situation and needs to be addressed with more clarity by government.”
She added several brickwork contractors had already taken the decision to stop work, regardless of the consequences because employee safety was deemed paramount.