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Code of practice for BNL's federated companies regarding entry quarantine and work

The code of practice is based on the regulation of infection control measures etc. during the corona pandemic and advice from the health authorities.

Code of practice for BNL's federated companies regarding entry quarantine and work.

KPMG has translated Byggenæringens landsforening’s (BNL) code of practice for companies regarding entry quarantine and work. Please visit www.bnl.no for more information, and see original document/code of practice via link here.

Byggenæringens landsforening (the national association of the construction industry), hereafter referred to as BNF, has a code of practice that has been drawn up in accordance with the Norwegian government's policy to combine infection control and the maintenance of continuous running of business activities. The code of practice is based on the regulation of infection control measures etc. during the corona pandemic (the covid-19 regulation) and advice from the health authorities.

This code of practice describes exceptions from quarantine in cases of testing and advice on how entry quarantine, given certain conditions, may be combined with the performing work.

It is emphasized that infection control measures during quarantine must be complied with in accordance with BNL's code of practice regarding infection control (Covid 19 - Part 1: Specification of infection control at building and construction sites – Byggenæringens Landsforening (BNL)) and that more in-depth practical adjustments must be considered for each single workplace.

1. Generally on entry quarantine

The regulation of infection control etc. during the corona pandemic (the covid-19 regulation), regulates who are comprised by the entry quarantine: "individuals arriving in Norway from an area with quarantine duty as specified in appendix A, shall be in quarantine for 10 days."

The requirements for quarantine detention is governed by the Covid-19 regulation, section 5:

"Individuals who are in infection or entry quarantine, shall stay in their own homes or in another suited place of residence, and may only venture outside the home or place of residence if they can avoid close contact with other people they do not reside with. During the quarantine period, the person may be present at his/her workplace/…/, where other people are present. It is strictly forbidden to make use of public transportation."

With "close contact" is meant contact with other people with less than two meters apart for more than 15 minutes, or direct physical contact, or direct contact with secretions from other individuals, cf, Covid-19 regulation section 3.

During quarantine, it is not allowed to use public transportation. The only exception is the journey from the place of arrival to the place of quarantine, where public transportation may be used if one uses a mask. One can travel by private car, and it is possible to make short stops, such as stops for refueling, without breaking the rules.

2. Work and entry quarantine

It is possible to make exceptions from the quarantine duty depending on which country in Europe the employee is from. The list of exceptions can be found in the regulation's appendix B. The column in the middle contains the countries that the exception from testing applies to, and the left column contains the countries the exception does not apply to.

In section no. 3, there is a description on the use of testing after entry to Norway in order to get an exception from the quarantine during work hours. We offer advice on how to implement the entry quarantine in combination with carrying out work in section no. 4. In section no. 5, we address the rules that apply to commuters that cross the borders to Norway from Sweden and Finland.

3. Exception from entry quarantine in case of negative test results

The exception can only be used by individuals arriving in Norway who are to carry out work or assignments from countries that have an infection level that is below the EU's red zone limit. The list of these countries can be found in the middle column in appendix B to the Covid-19 regulation. Individuals from these areas can be exempted from compulsory quarantine during work hours if they have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 after arrival in Norway. The work may commence after the first negative test result is ready. BNL recommends that the test is taken as soon as possible at the airport or the border station. The employer in Norway is responsible for organization, implementation and financing of the testing.

In order to have an exception from entry quarantine, one must in addition have tested negative in order for the following conditions to be met:

  • the employee in quarantine must be tested every three days, a total of 3 tests in 10 days after the arrival in Norway
  • the employee must have access to a private room/bedroom that meets the conditions of a suitable place of residence

The exception from the quarantine applies during working hours. For the first 10 days there is a quarantine duty. If the test is positive, the person must immediately be placed in isolation, cf. the regulation section 7, and the employer must notify the municipal in order to implement the tracing of infection.

During the time until receiving the first test result, the person in quarantine must comply the reinforced demands for distancing in the following way:

  • no close contact with others
  • use a mask when venturing outside one's own bedroom
  • consume meals in one's own room

In the case of sharing a kitchen, there may be arranged shifts in order to ensure that the kitchen is not used by several people at the same time. Contact surfaces in common areas such as toilet/bathroom and kitchen must be disinfected frequently.

Work may be commenced when the first test result is negative, but the employee will be in quarantine on his/her spare time.

The employer is responsible for informing of the quarantine restrictions for spare time quarantine that among other things includes:

  • No use of public transportation
  • No participation in social activities and no visitors
  • Only necessary shopping in stores or pharmacy
  • Hiking activities may be carried out when the requirement for 1 meter distance to others can be met

Please note that the exception that applies in cases of negative test results may not be used by those who arrive to Norway from countries with infection rates that are above EU's red zones. The exception does not apply for individuals that, during the last 10 days, have resided in one of these red zone countries. A complete list of countries that are comprised by the quarantine duty and that are not included by the exception from quarantine may be found in appendix B to the Covid-19 regulation.

4. Quarantine arrangements at the workplace

BNL bases its theory on the fact that the construction site/workplace may be a "suitable place of residence" for an individual in quarantine. In cases where no one else is present at the workplace, it may be possible to arrange for the quarantine situation to be combined with the performing of work when the following conditions are met:

a) Prior to commencing work, it must be planned how the stay and the work can be carried out in order to ensure compliance with the requirements for quarantine and necessary infection control.

b) The employer must inform personnel of the infection control rules and the limitations that must be complied with during the quarantine period. During the entry quarantine of 10 days, the person in quarantine must stay, as much as possible, at the accommodation quarters and avoid public places where it is difficult to avoid close contact with others, for example in stores, pharmacies and coffee shops and restaurants.

c) A group of employees with mutual residence and working facilities in Norway and that travel together between a native country and Norway, will constitute a "cohort" and may therefore have mutual quarantine.

Quarantine may be combined with the performing work in the following cases:

a) Work on construction site

Sections a) to c) comes in addition to the recommendations in this paragraph.

Quarantine may be combined with work when it is possible to arrange for personnel in quarantine to administer the workplace alone. In this way, a work team can carry out work without interacting with other personnel during the quarantine period.

If personnel in quarantine completes their work or leaves the construction site to others before the quarantine period is over, one must disinfect all contact surfaces connected to public equipment, rest rooms and eating/resting barracks.

A terminal for receiving goods should be defined in order to avoid direct contact between the supplier and the quarantine group. The extension of the quarantine area and lock for delivery of goods should appear from a rigging plan.

When personnel in quarantine must travel by car between the living quarter and the construction site, this must be carried out without any close contact with others, cf. the Covid-19 regulation section 5.

a) Electricians and service technicians on assignment in Norway

Sections a) to c) comes in addition to the recommendations in this paragraph.

Individuals arriving in Norway to carry out work or who are on assignments, are bound by entry quarantine if they come from countries that are listed in Appendix A in the Covid-19 regulation. During the border control, it may be a request to present documentation on planned residence during the quarantine period. If the individuals are coming from countries that have infection numbers that are below EU's red zone (Appendix B, center column), exceptions during the testing in section 3 may be made.

The employer is required to implement measures to prevent exposure hazard and perilous work for the contractor and own employees. This must be carried out by the contractor or the employer.

Installation, repairs and maintenance of machines may be carried out most efficiently and easy by letting the personnel in entry quarantine perform work at hours when there are no other workers present at the workplace. Alternatively, the execution of work must be planned, in order for the quarantined service personnel working in limited areas are separated from other personnel.

The employer must facilitate for the carrying out of work by drawing up a plan that includes:

  • Contact person for carrying out service work
  • Assignment description with reference to the employer for possible border controls
  • Implementation of travel, accommodation, food and drink in order to keep a distance of 2 meters
  • Arrange for the planned work having the necessary equipment etc. including possible measures resulting in a secure job analysis

5. Work commuting from Sweden and Finland

Workers who frequently arrive in Norway from areas in Sweden or Finland with compulsory quarantine as a part in the travel between the place of work and place of residence, are exempt from quarantine during work hours if they are tested for SARS-CoV-2 in Norway at least every seventh day. The quarantine duty still applies during the off-hours.

The Norwegian employer is responsible for organization, implementation and financing of the testing.

The exception applies to both individuals who cross the borders on a daily basis and those who travel to Norway for longer periods of time, for example weekly commuters and those who work on other fixed rotations.

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