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Contractors urged to donate PPE for healthcare

27 March 2020

Construction firms have been called on by the Chartered Institute of Building to donate personal protective equipment (PPE) to their local healthcare communities amid international shortages.

For healthcare workers providing treatment to Covid-19 patients, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a medical mask, gown, gloves and eye protection, but there is an international shortage of PPE, particularly masks and respirators. 

The UK government has already appealed to the automotive industry to divert resources and begin manufacturing respirators, while in Europe, luxury goods firms have begun producing surgical masks. In the US, contractors are starting to donate respiratory masks, with professions such as dentistry also donating supplies. 

The CIOB said it also wanted to hear any stories from members who have already successfully loaned or donated protective equipment to local NHS workers. 

Caroline Gumble, CEO of the CIOB, said: “As some construction sites temporarily close their doors around the world and adapt the way that they’re working, many items of personal protective equipment are becoming available. With healthcare providers experiencing an international shortage in such crucial times, this is an opportunity for the industry to step up and do their part. I know that many CIOB members are already doing this and that, as a community, they are always willing to collaborate, act responsibility and support their wider communities.” 

The CIOB has been working closely with many other industry bodies, including the Construction Leadership Council and Build UK, to offer consistent and timely advice during the coronavirus crisis. Daily updates can be found on the Build UK web site and via the CIOB magazine’s website, Construction Manager. The latest daily update includes further advice on donating PPE.

Contractors’ PPE appeal campaign launches

Meanwhile, two contractors have set up an organisation to help channel spare PPE from construction companies to frontline services fighting the coronavirus.

Demolition specialists Cantillon and DeGroup have pooled their resources and are reaching out to the wider industry for excess masks, overalls, glasses and gloves.

“We have contacts within the NHS and Emergency Services who have already said this equipment would be gratefully received,” said Paul Cluskey, managing director, Cantillon. “They may use it themselves or indeed direct us to the vulnerable groups. The fact is, it can do a lot of good, but not while it sits on our shelves gathering dust. 

“This is a free-of-charge donation, it’s giving back in an hour of real need. We can manage collection and distribution and your contribution will make a huge difference and potentially save many lives.”

Further information is on the appeal website.

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