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The coronavirus has forced us to rethink our approach to health and safety at Aliaxis. After all, a global pandemic isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when you consider health and safety in the workplace. Still, many of us working in this area of our business have received crisis management training that we have now put to good use.

Since the onset of the pandemic, our priority has been to adapt our processes and workspaces to protect our people. Doing so has required close collaboration and on-going communication on a global scale. Together we have identified and addressed risks and needs, and have developed initiatives that respond directly to the pandemic. The latest of these initiatives, which is a part of a broader scope of coronavirus-related activities I have been involved in as Aliaxis EMEA’s Health and Safety Manager, is the Safe Restart project.

As its name suggests, the project aims to ensure our workplaces are made safe in a structured way for those returning to them following various degrees of lockdown around the world. Moreover, we want our people to personally feel our commitment to care and be confident in the fact that Aliaxis is doing everything possible to manage risks.

There have been two main drivers guiding the Safe Restart project: we need to be confident that infection risks are effectively managed at all Aliaxis facilities and we need to restart activities in a planned, structured and safe way. With this in mind, we set out to create simple but effective tools that are flexible enough to be applied in different local contexts, ensuring clear expectations are understood and supported by a continuously growing catalogue of example site practices.

The coronavirus has dealt the world so many new challenges, so there’s been a lot of learning as we go. This is why I must point out that each site deserves the credit for bringing this initiative to life. The proactive and attentive approach taken at the local site level and the subsequent sharing of learnings in a collaborative way has been key.

As you might know, activities have recommenced at many of our facilities across the world. I’m happy to say that this has occurred without any COVID-19 transmissions within our sites and without an increase in incidents. We have achieved very high levels of site compliance and implementation of the expected control measures. We still have a lot of work ahead of us but are well positioned to continue managing the situation moving forward.

We all wish this pandemic could have been avoided entirely. However, there are some positives that have come out of the experience that will benefit the way we work and treat health and safety at Aliaxis, now and in the future. The initiative being successfully managed remotely across many regions and roles, as well as the expanding of my own professional network over the course of the pandemic, have made me realise that One Aliaxis is not only possible, but also something we should keep striving towards. Moreover, I believe the incredible way in which local teams have reacted has strengthened overall risk management skills, which can only bolster the way we live our commitment to care value going forward. We are now better-aligned and equipped to achieve our health and safety goals while identifying new ones.

By Rob Matthews
Head of Health & Safety EMEA