It has been roughly 80 days since the UK entered full lockdown, which in all honesty, seems like it has been a lot longer! Professionally, so much has happened since lockdown came in to place. It has been a time that has not been experienced by anyone, in any form of industry before. We have had to learn, adapt, review, learn again and review again. Every day, week, month has been a learning curve and the learning continues.
During this time of having to adapt we have had to look at ways of improving how our sites operate. As Principal Contractor, we have had to ensure that our sites are as safe as possible to ensure the well-being of all our project teams, operatives, sub-contractors, visitors, and the public.
As our sites start to reopen or new projects start-up it has been imperative to ensure that we have as many safe systems of works and best practices in place to maintain the safest possible environments.
Firstly, I think it is important to thank not only our fantastic project teams, head office team and operatives who have been truly fantastic and professional throughout this pandemic, but also our incredible pool of sub-contractors. Who throughout this, have fully collaborated with us and made this journey as effortless as possible for us. At every stage when we have asked more of them, they have delivered and without them this journey would have been an unimaginable task. So, from all of us at Gaysha, thank you!
So, what have we put into place to ensure that everyone that attends a Gaysha site is not only safe, but also educated on what Covid-19 is and how can we best influence limiting the spread of the virus?
One of the first things we decided to do was put in a Covid-19 manager who would be responsible for overseeing the installation of new safe systems and best practices. Having one person designated to this roll allows us to continually improve what we are doing, review what we have done and to have direct communication with our sub-contractors. Due to having experience in an operations manager role it was decided that I would fill that position. Alongside installing the Covid-19 Manager role we also put together a Covid-19 Committee that has people of all roles across the company coming together weekly to review, plan and innovate new ideas. It really has been team effort to get us to where we are today, and we will continue to hard work done so far.
I would personally like to thank everyone that has been involved in this journey so far.
Covid-19 Presentation and Test
I am a true believer that without educating people you cannot expect them to complete a task properly. Without involving people about the journey, we are taking you cannot expect them to reach the same destination. Therefore, from early on we created a site specific Covid-19 presentation for our Commercial project based in central London. This allowed us to educate and involve all operatives and sub-contractors working on this project. Since then, we have adapted that presentation in to a Covid-19 test that ALL operatives and sub-contractors are required to sit before they can work on site. A Covid-19 presentation and test is now present on all Gaysha sites and has proved to be a great success.
During this time, we have had to work towards providing the best welfares while ensuring social distancing is at the forefront of our daily routines. Luckily, in some cases the nice weather has allowed our operatives to eat outside which we promote has it safer for the operatives during this pandemic.
However, our focus on welfare was our central London welfare that was within a basement in Victoria. We highlighted that due to the location and size of this welfare it was not a viable option for us to expect our operatives to use this welfare. We are pleased to say that by working alongside our client and landlord we sourced a new welfare for our operatives which is triple the size of the previous welfare with better toilets, kitchen and changing area.
Social Distancing Marshals
On our Commercial site in central London we asked all sub-contractors to nominate a ‘Social Distancing Marshal’ to represent their teams when on site. The idea behind this was to have a clear line of communication for all the sub-contractor teams when on site. This allows us to have one person to communicate with when rolling out new systems or updating on Government guidelines or to give feedback to on team performance on site. Thank you to all those who have taken on that role and worked with us so far.
Like anything you do professionally, there is no point putting multiple systems or practices in if you do review performance. Therefore, as of recently we have introduced a weekly auditing system that all our sites will do to ensure we are managing Covid-19 and social distance to the highest possible standard. This is not something we can take a step back from and assume everything is happening and we will continue to order sites for as long as needed.
As one of the three symptoms is an increased temperature, we now ensure that all people attending site record their temperature before entering. Anyone who registers above 37.8 degrees will be refused entry for that site. We believe this a safeguard to all those who are also attending site.
Colour Coded Teams
While social distancing is one of our hottest focus areas, we know that at times operatives will have to work within 2m for 15 minutes or within a close proximity of each other. To ensure easy management of this we decided to colour code our respective teams, this allows them to work closely together while our site team identifying that they are in the same team. The colour code system also allows us to stagger breaks of each time to ensure that social distancing is promoted.
At the beginning we did this through an arm band system but after reviewing this system this week, we will now be going to different coloured hi vis on some sites from next week to help improve the system.
Traffic Light Systems
Obviously, we look to ensure that people are social distancing throughout all our sites, but in some areas, this just is not possible due to natural bottlenecks or narrow walkways. To combat these areas where people cannot be 2m apart we have installed a traffic light system. In these areas there will be a traffic light sign reminding people to stop and look before entering these narrow areas. Alongside some of these signs will be a give way sign. This informs the person that should someone be coming from the opposite direction it is their duty to step in to the allocated ‘give way zone’ highlighted on the floor, in doing this is allows people to pass from safe distance.
On some sites, we have also installed mirrors in areas of blind corners to increase peoples visibility and not bumping into each other.
Even during more normal times mental well-being is something that we feel passionately about at Gaysha, which is reflected in the mental health programme we developed in 2018-2019. Now even more than ever it is important that all operatives are made aware of not only how to manage their mental well-being but of those around them. It is a time where people may have lost loved ones, been isolating away from family and friends or had financial burdens like they have never had before, so it is imperative that we make people aware of the support not only from Gaysha, but the many amazing external support groups that they can talk to.
So, these are just some of the things we have been working on so far. We have a long way to go to complete eradicate this virus and a lot of hard work to do. But I am confident with the professionalism and determination shown by our Gaysha team and our subcontractors so far, we will come through this together strongly and look to build for the future. So again from myself, thank you to all those involved along the way so far!