Site working in the UK and COVID-19

As of July 2021, Covid-19 restrictions will be being eased across the UK. These relaxations are specific to each nation:

England (latest guidance here)

  • From 19 July, remaining legal restrictions, including social distancing requirements, will be ralaxed as the Government moves to 'stage 4' of its national plan. Existing guidance on safe working from the CLC will cease to be formally supported.

Northern Ireland (latest guidance here)

  • The Northern Irish Government has expressed its intention to change its guidance on July 26th, keeping some social distancing restictions. The CLC Site Operating Procedures and COVID-19 Working Advice can be adapted to support this: 

Wales (latest guidance here)

  • Restrictions are being relaxed across Wales from 17 July, but guidance on working outdoors and construction are still in effect and the CLC Site Operating Procedures and COVID-19 Working Advice will be updated to support the revised restrictions.

Scotland (latest guidance here)

  • COVID-19 working advice in Scotland has not changed, despite all areas being moved to 'level zero' from 19 July, with various relaxations to regulations at this point.

Republic of Ireland (latest guidance here)

  • Changes due to be brought in on 19 July will not impact guidance on construction. 


CIfA is monitoring the situation regarding site safety and is in close contact with Prospect Archaeologists branch. 

We recommend that CIfA members and Registered Organisations ensure that safety procedures are in place on work sites and are assiduously followed to ensure safety.

The UK Government previously produced 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 specifically for your sector, forexample by trade associations or trades unions. To this end, CIfA has endorsed Prospect's guidelines on UK site working. We are also working with Registered Organisations to share good practice examples with the intention of helping to define common standards across the industry.

The Industry Working Group issued a statement on Promoting a Safe Working Environment on Construction Sites during the COVID-19 Pandemic on 4 May 2020. CIfA will be continuing to work with Industry Working Group colleagues to examine evidence of site working practices and reflect on the application of guidance and where there is need for improvments and is currently looking to update the endorsement of Prospect's latest guidance.

Archaeological contractors may also find this Coronavirus site safety checklist from FASET useful. The checklist is designed for you to ask clients to complete to ensure that appropriate precautions have been taken to ensure safety on site. We recommend that CIfA members and ROs make use of this.

CIfA will continue to work with FAME and Prospect to identify how we can best support the sector at this time. If you are a member or a Registered Organisation and have concerns about the safety of work environments you are exposed to, please let us know. All accredited members and Registered Organisations have a duty of care to employees, colleagues and volunteers under Principle 5 of the Code of conduct. Any member who find themselves in an ethical dilemma where they are confronted by competing loyalties, responsibilities or duties should act in accordance with the Principles of the Code.  

CIfA members are also encouraged to read this FAQ on COVID-19 from the Protect advice service. CIfA membership grants access to the Protect service and members can call for free, confidential whistleblowing advice. We recommend that if you are being asked to work in unsafe conditions that you consult this advice and to contact CIfA for informal and anonymous advice

More information about COVID-19 can be found on CIfA's coronavirus advice webpage.