Back to Work Safety

Managing a safe return to work for our employees, supply chain and customers 22-07-2020

As lockdown is eased, I can sense an understandable almost palpable relief amongst the AVK UK workforce. This relief is matched by a recognition that we are taking only the first steps on the journey back to what has been referred to as a ‘new normal’. The goal is to ensure that our employees, supply chain partners and the customers we interact with, both directly and indirectly, arrive at the ‘new normal’ safe and in good health.

During lockdown, AVK UK has continued to supply and support the UK’s essential water and gas utilities. This was facilitated by the swift implementation of a comprehensive home working strategy that enabled over 170 members of the AVK UK team to deliver support services from home.

I have outlined below just some of the measures we have put in place to ensure the health and safety of everyone at AVK UK, whether they are on furlough, working from home or returning to our offices, factories or project sites. We are also working closely with customers and supply chain partners to ensure we collectively reduce and mitigate the risks of COVID-19.

AVK UK’s HR and QHSE teams, led by Lee Foxall, Head of HR and Organisational Performance and Lisa Shelton, Group Director, have completed a detailed risk assessment in line with UK Government guidelines. The teams have subsequently implemented all the actions arising from that assessment.

These include:
Inductions that incorporate updated procedures, rules and guidelines
Hand sanitising stations
One-way systems in place for high traffic areas 
Staggered return to work to facilitate familiarisation with the new measures in place.
Staggered start and finish times and staggered breaks to limit the number of employees in offices and factories at any one time.
Barriers put in place to delineate shared areas such as reception. 
Physical office reorganisation to ensure all work areas comply with the 2m social distancing guidelines.
Clear guidelines for essential site deliveries.
Control and implementation of social distancing measures for visitors.
Simple and effective controls around the use of on site facilities.
Home working flexibility. 
Control of office locations, with partitions and agreed footfall.
Sanitisation routines for work spaces including machinery.

As employees begin the return to work they will notice the many changes that have been implemented to protect them and their co-workers. To reassure those who, quite understandably, may still have concerns we have documented the new measures in the form of a short video. 
As an organisation AVK UK thrives on creativity, innovation and individual initiative. However, to be effective, the plans of action we have issued relating to COVID-19 are mandatory: they must be followed. 

It has been a difficult few months for all industries. In the utility sector we should take pride from the fact that, collectively, we have risen to the challenge and ensured there is water in the taps and heat and energy for the home.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our employees, supply chain and customers for their continued support at this extraordinary time. 

Paul Hubbard 

 

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