The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is an unprecedented and a rapidly changing situation.
As we continue to manage the challenges posed by COVID-19, our primary concern remains the health and safety of our colleagues and their families and the local communities in which we operate. We continue to follow the UK government guidance, as we adapt to the daily changing landscape. We also continue to discuss with our customers how the current position is impacting them and how we can support.
Customer and Supplier update
Our Working Practices
We have been reviewing our working practices throughout the pandemic to reduce the risk of infection from COVID-19 at work. We held a number of in person and electronic briefings for those who are continuing to work on site to follow the Public Health England guidance on social distancing (including, where possible, maintaining a 2 metre distance from others), and hygiene (washing hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds). We discussed and consulted with colleagues on the steps we were taking to make our facilities as safe as reasonably possible and committed that we would continue to review these and any updated guidance and to consider any other adjustments that we can make.
The guidance issued from the government earlier in the month on working safely during coronavirus COVID-19 gave us a very helpful additional practical framework to review and think about anything else we could be doing to continue working safely at Omega, or ahead of us restarting operations at Signal.
We have carried out formal risk assessments against the guidelines and we are working with our employee health and safety representatives to ensure that the results of these are implemented at both Omega and Signal. We have completed a series of further health and safety briefings with colleagues, to make sure they understand the guidelines, the restrictions involved in the new ways of working, and their own role in ensuring their own health and safety, and that of others. We have shared our action plan from our risk assessments and the results with all colleagues.
Some of the key measures we have introduced include:
- Controlled entry and exits with welfare check for all colleagues or any visitors coming on site
- Introduction of staggered start, finish and break times with fixed teams or shift groups to reduce the number of contacts each colleague has
- Hand sanitiser and cleaning stations installed in multiple locations across sites; with reminders to wash hands frequently including on entry and shift start/end of breaks
- Cleaning frequency increased in all areas and across all sites
- Production and assembly areas rearranged to comply to social distancing guidelines and barriers, or screens installed where appropriate
- 2-meter demarcation in production, warehouse, and office spaces
- Introduction of one-way systems, where possible, and red marked “high risk” areas where it is difficult to maintain a one-way system
- Where safe to do so, roller or internal doors left open to improve ventilation
- Regular touch point wipe down and reduced shared equipment usage
- Capacity limits for each office space
- Increased use of video calls even for internal meetings where colleagues are in the same building
- No meetings or toolbox talks of more than 4 people, only nominated meeting areas to be used, floor markings on where to stand and a time limit of 15 minutes
- We have focussed on identifying and designing out risk from our working patterns where possible and only relying on the use of PPE where that is not possible or as a secondary measure; facemasks, gloves and other PPE provided and to be worn in line with company’s risk assessment
- Visuals and posters to remind colleagues of the importance of hygiene and social distancing including new high visibility vests with a strong visual reminder on social distancing
- Daily video calls for those colleagues working remotely to maintain contact and increased focus on mental health of all colleagues (whether on site, remote or on furlough leave) during pandemic
- Any travel to be authorised by a director and only essential visitors and agreed contractors on site
In complying with the government’s guidance, we have cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures in place; we have taken all reasonable steps to help people work from home to keep numbers down on site; we have taken all reasonable steps to maintain a 2m distance in the workplace, and where people cannot be 2m apart, and we have done everything practical to manage the risk. We are happy that as an employer we have complied with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19 and the five steps to safer working together and we are displaying the “Staying COVID-19 Secure in 2020” poster at both of our sites.
Importantly, this is not a box ticking exercise for us. This is about practically making both sites as safe as we can but recognising, unfortunately we cannot lock out the virus. We will continue to assess the risk and make any further changes or improvements to working practices that we can. We will also add the items from our COVID-19 risk assessments to our existing layered audit to check compliance as well carry out regular COVID-19 measures audits at both sites to ensure all colleagues are following and adhering to the guidelines and measures we have put in place.
We also want to continue to hear any feedback that our colleagues have as part of this process, as they are best placed to understand the risks and will have an important view on how we work safely. We are happy to share our working practices with any customers and suppliers and are keen to hear from them on any other best practice ideas that we may be able to implement.
If you would like any further details a copy of the detailed results of our risk assessment please contact us.