Making our worksites safe during lockdown

6 April 2020

Ensuring more than 600 worksites around Wellington are safe is a big task being pulled off by a small but dedicated team.

There are more than 600 work sites around Wellington that need to be kept safe.

There are more than 600 work sites around Wellington that need to be kept safe.

About 20 essential Council staff are visiting every shut-down construction worksite impacting on the road corridors around the city, ensuring each location is safe for the public while the country is in lockdown.

Transport Assets Manager Brad Singh says the hardworking Make City Safe team is a new essential services group set up by the Council as a direct response to the Covid-19 Level 4 shutdown.

Operating under Council’s Transport and Infrastructure unit, the team is visiting shutdown worksites where there has been traffic management in place, such as building construction sites or worksites related to roading, footpaths or cycleways.

Their role has been to check that there is no non-essential work happening and that these sites have all been shut down safely.

The work is about coordinating and ensuring the transport network is safe and accessible so essential services and the general public can move around the city unhindered.

“We’re looking at all the 600-plus worksites in the city,” says Singh.

“They range from Council sites such as roadwork, resurfacing, and street lighting worksites, and then sites managed by third parties, including telecommunication companies and sites like where building strengthening is going on where works may be blocking off footpaths.”

Singh says when the lockdown was first announced, the team set out to make the council sites safe, and then contacted third parties before visiting their sites to ensure they were safe as well.

“The staff only leave these sites when things are good and the general public can safely navigate their way around it.”

The Make City Safe project has two phases. The first, to make sure all sites are safe. The second, to ensure they stay that way.

“We don’t know how long the lockdown is going to last for. These sites could be made unsafe by a wind or a storm event, so they will continuously be monitored by our team.”

Each team member will be given a number of suburbs in their local area to keep an eye on each day.

“This is to make sure nothing unsafe has popped up and that the sites that we have deemed safe, remain safe.”

Singh says it didn’t take much to get his team on board.

“When I put the call out, every single person just volunteered themselves. It didn’t take a lot to try and convince people to help out at a time like this.”

The Transport Assets group, which includes Downer and Fulton Hogan contractors, will continue to deliver essential services throughout the national lockdown.

These services also include managing the street cleaning, cleaning up illegal dumping, responding to issues like surface flooding, and resolving hazards such as pot holes and broken footpaths.