As a company who are still operating on site it is important to recognise social distancing and how we can incorporate this, not only at home but when at work too.

Social distancing practices are changes in behaviour that help in stopping the spread of infections, in particular the Coronavirus. The current two metre social distancing guideline will  assist in keeping you and those around you as safe as possible.

As an individual you can reduce the risk of infection by reducing your rate of contact with other people, but how can this be done whilst out and about on site?

To provide clarity Vince Casamassa has shared his tips and advice, as well as some examples of how others have been adapting to this new way of work.

Travelling to and from work

This is a key concern for a lot of engineers as they are having to come in to contact with members of the public on a daily basis. Therefore, how are our engineers able to remain safe and practice social distancing whilst travelling to and from work?

There have been many alterations to the way our engineers are travelling to and from work. One of the biggest changes we have seen has been the use of personal vehicles to commute to and from site. This is the safest way to travel as it eliminates any contact with people on public transport. Alongside this, some members of staff have even been cycling in to work. Not only will this help them to keep fitness levels up, but it will mean that our team are having limited to no contact with other members of the public.

In addition, Hemlow have adapted their working hours to enable engineers to avoid travelling to and from work during peak times. Using off peak hours ensures that the tubes and trains are quieter and  therefore reduce the risk of being in contact with others.

No matter which way you decide to get to work, our aim is to ensure that everyone feels comfortable and safe. Flexibility is key and we are working closely with our engineers to ensure risk is kept to a minimum.

Emergency Jobs

Please can you provide some information on how to manage emergency jobs now that we are operating differently.

The way we are managing emergency jobs is no different to the usual out of hours callout process. However, social distancing is being implemented within all aspects of this to ensure the safety of all those involved. The process is to assess all key areas before entering, for example ensuring that we are able to social distance and that the property itself is safe for us to enter. Only if the answer is yes will we go into the building to make the immediate fault safe.

The majority of the time this can be done with one person so social distancing is something which can be adhered to. For example, it only takes one person to isolate a valve or you may only have one person up in the ceiling. However if a job does require two people then it is a case of keeping two metres apart at all times following the basic procedures.

Working with subcontractors

Some subcontractors are still continuing to work as normal as they are deemed as an essential service. How are Hemlow continuing to work alongside essential subcontractors to provide services?

It is important to remember that subcontractors are in the same situation as us and following the social distancing rules also. We have found that a lot of companies are postponing all maintenance and repair works that require two people and currently only covering emergencies with one man attendance.

Companies which are taking the business as usual approach are mostly fire safety and water hygiene specialists, Security gates/doors contractors, as well as our supporting pump and motor specialists in cases of leaking/faulty equipment requiring urgent repair.

Dealing with clients

How have clients been helping to keep everyone safe during these times?

On the whole, clients have been extremely helpful during this time. They have been proactively informing us when there have been cases of COVID-19 in the building, as they understand the importance of keeping people safe as much as we do. This enables us to inform our engineers to avoid particular sites or affected areas of the site until it has received a full deep clean and been signed off to reopen.  Once we receive confirmation our engineers are then informed that safe entry to the property/floor can be reinstated, providing them with the assurance that they can work in a safe environment.

Clients have also been extremely understanding in the way we have been separating emergency/statutory tasks with non-statutory. Anything that falls under health and safety, or if not completed may void insurance, is still being completed. However, where tasks cannot be safely completed, clients are being extremely flexible and allowing us to pick up non-statutory tasks at a later date.

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