When we begin to prepare to emerge from lockdown, several challenges need to be tackled in order to ensure that conservators and others can work safely on site.
Although many conservators work on objects and collections in museums, libraries and archives, many also work on historic buildings and large structures. Architectural and archaeological conservators often work on site. We therefore recognise that our members may have concerns about how the process of reopening sites after lockdown will affect them.
Icon's advice is to follow the Government advice that applies in whatever country you are working in. The UK Government on 31 July 2020 updated its guidance on Working safely during Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Construction and other outdoor work. The guidance specifically encourages employers to consider any advice that has been produced for particular sectors by trade associations or trades unions, for example. With this in mind, Icon endorses Prospect's guidelines on UK site working. Although these guidelines were written for archaeological contractors, the advice is beneficial to all those working on site.
Guidance and information
To support our members we have collated the following guidance on caring for historic buildings during the Coronavirus pandemic and on returning to work safely. We are keen that members share their examples of good practice, which we will publish on this page.
Church of England:
- Securing and caring for church buildings during the Covid-19 pandemic
- Access to church buildings during lockdown
- Opening church buildings for works to the building and interior
- Keeping church buildings clean
Bats in Churches:
Safe working guidance
Following the government's latest updates to their guidance on getting back to work, some conservators may be preparing a return to work. As we begin to emerge from lockdown, several challenges need to be tackled in order to ensure that conservators and others can work safely on site.
- UK Government - Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19): Construction and other outdoor work: Guidance on working safely for people who work in or run outdoor working environments.
- Scottish Government - Coronavirus (COVID-19): construction sector guidance: Guidance on construction sites and associated works that can continue under specific conditions. Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for museums, galleries and heritage attractions: Good practice guidelines for re-opening heritage attractions during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Welsh Government - Culture and heritage destinations and venues: guidance for a phased return: Guidance for organisations and individuals in Wales who manage culture and heritage destinations and venues that are open to the public.
- DCMS - Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19): Heritage locations: Guidance for people who work or volunteer in heritage locations.
- Historic England - Working safely as a heritage professional at heritage locations: considerations for reopening or returning to work at historic sites.
- Historic Environment Scotland: Minimum Operating Standards outlining the requirements that must be met before sites will be able to reopen in line with official government guidelines during the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Health and Safety Executive - Coronavirus (COVID-19): latest information and advice: Guidance to working safely and running your business while keeping employees safe
- Construction Leadership Council - Site Operating Procedures: Guidance introducing consistent measures on construction sites of all types and sizes in line with the Government’s recommendations on social distancing
- Prospect - Prospect Archaeologists: H&S guidance for continuing work on site
- Prospect - Prospect archaeologists agree industry statement on safer working: Statement promoting safer working environments on constructions sites during the COVID-19 pandemic
- AXA - Post-coronavirus start-up guidance: Construction sites: Guidance for reopening construction sites after the initial Covid-19 shutdown
- AXA - Post-coronavirus start-up guidance: Construction sector - Subcontractors: Guidance for subcontractors starting back on site after the initial coronavirus shutdown.
Further safe working resources
- BPF - Returning to work: guidance for those working on construction sites including checklists and risk assessment templates.
- CIfA - Site working in the UK and COVID-19: Synopsis of guidance and announcements on site working during Coronavirus.
- CITB - Coronavirus (COVID-19) communication updates: Summary of CITB support
- Federation of Master Builders - Restarting Building Work: Comprehensive guidance setting out advice on issues to consider when starting or restarting a building project during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Includes summary of rules in England, Scotland and Wales and advice on contracts, insurance and finance.
- Federation of Master Builders - Responding to Coronavirus: News and updates on the Federation’s support around Coronavirus.
- FAME - Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Archaeology: Information on health and safety, government support and legal matters for archaeologists.
- RIBA - Digest: RIBA's information and member support on COVID-19: Summary of RIBA’s support and activities.
- Lighthouse Club - Construction Industry Helpline: 24/7 telephone helpline and app for the construction industry delivering emotional and financial support including information, advice and guidance on many financial and wellbeing topics.