Impact on the local community
It was recognised that the company has a big influence on, and therefore has a major responsibility to, the local community - being the direct employer of nearly 10% of the local population. Tradespeople were provided to support the transformation of local authority facilities such as health centres etc. to make them COVID compliant in accordance with recommended government guidelines, i.e. desk screens, Portakabin waiting rooms, etc.
Where opportunities were identified to release PPE, e.g. coveralls and masks, these items were passed on to the NHS.
Application to plant operations
With regard to plant, it was desirable to put it into a safe state for minimum staffing.
Each facility manager shutdown their plant and reviewed the maintenance schedule to determine the minimum that was required and what could be suspended. A short term reduced regulatory monitoring and reporting regime to reduce onsite personnel requirements. One day a week was then designated as a maintenance day when necessary minimum inspection and maintenance was carried out.
Based upon the performed review, 2m distancing arrangements and one-way systems were put in place for all operational equipment and plant with face coverings provided to all operating staff. Access to plant was restricted until these provisions had been put in place.
Furthermore, key operational groups were identified and placed into protected ‘bubbles’ to ensure retention of resilience. Onsite staff numbers were gradually enhanced as precautions were put in place to achieve approximately 40% site staffing compared with pre-COVID operations. Home working remains the norm for all office workers who can work that way.
Key learnings from this power sector case study are:
- Staff who could work remotely were supported to do so requiring the roll-out of the, largely IT-related, infrastructure needed to support such activity.
- Onsite trades persons were redeployed to support the transformation of local community facilities to be compliant with government guidelines on COVID-19.
- Arrangements were put in place to develop minimum staffing arrangements, distancing arrangements, one way systems and other safe working measures for equipment and plant operations. This included development of protected ‘bubbles‘ of groups of operational staff to provide resilience.