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AGS Guidance on Safe Ground Investigations in Light of COVID-19

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COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) which is commonly spread through coughing and sneezing, through close personal contact or touching an object or surface (fomite) that has the virus on it and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth without having first cleaned your hands.

The AGS Safety group has developed this guidance in anticipation of a general return to site to carry out geotechnical, contaminated land and other ground investigation activities.  It will be reviewed and revised in the coming weeks in line with government and industry advice.  Readers are encouraged to make comments, offer suggestions and send in photographs of site work that can be added to the document.

 Any suggestions for modifications to equipment need to have been fully risk assessed for any risks they introduce. For instance, screens fitted to rigs reduce the ability to hear each other and Perspex scratches very easily and also goes opaque quite rapidly, reducing visibility. Likewise lifting “extensions” can introduce additional manual handling risks.

 This guidance is based on UK Government and CLC advice. The Government issued generic guidance on 11 May 2020: Working safely during COVID-19 in construction and other outdoor work: Guidance for employers, employees and the self-employed.  Other restrictions and advice may apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland however this guidance is intended to apply throughout the UK.  The Construction Leadership Council (CLC), on 19 May 2020, issued Site Operating Procedures (SOP) version 4 based on this Government guidance.  The key premise of this guidance is to stick as close as possible to the CLC v4 guidance as possible noting the CLC reminder to comply with the latest Government advice on Coronavirus (Covid-19) at all times.

The guidance can be downloaded here.

If you have any comments or suggestions for the guidance, please email