AGS Members vs COVID-19

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In the face of adversity, it is uplifting to hear that during these unusual times created by the COVID-19 constraints many AGS members have adopted new and innovative ways to continue their work. For some members, the reality is the need to adapt to survive but for most it is the adeptness to change behaviour and attitude. Whatever the reason, it is a true sign of how our industry remains flexible and resilient and why it will emerge from this

Members have made widespread changes to how their normally office-based workers can continue to play an active part in the company activities or just simply carry out their normal work activities. In response to the ‘Stay Home Stay Safe Protect the NHS’ guidelines, many have set up home offices which have included some innovative woodwork solutions to create desk space or just a take-over of the family dining table. Some have decided to spice it up by moving around the house each day. We hear about daily and weekly virtual meetings and the words ‘Teams’ and ‘Zoom’ have now become part of everyday language. We are now used to seeing our colleagues with headsets on. Oh! and the long hair.

The site-based activities have seen the largest disruption, change of processes and attitude. Whilst some sites have secured everything and literally closed the gates others have developed new working methods to keep them active. New policies and procedures have been developed with enhanced social distancing, hygiene, security, isolation, travel and transport aspects to cover COVID-19 requirements. Access to sites other than the critical workers have been reduced or banned. Site meetings have been taking place in the compound and we have all seen images of everybody standing 2m apart or walking around the sites 2m apart. Strange images which highlight what a truly unusual time this is.

We have also seen collaboration, not a common sight in our industry, which has resulted in innovative solutions and significant changes in working practices and behaviour. Other controls have also been implemented such as exclusion zones and new manual handling aids. Many of these changes could lead to a better and safer way of working well after COVID-19 has been supressed.

Training has also been greatly affected by the travel restrictions and social distancing requirements which rapidly made face to face training impossible. Although the delivery of the training has been affected the need is still there with members contacting the industry training providers on a daily basis for remote or on-line accessible courses. In response, the industry training specialists have started to deliver remote training. Equipe and LQM are now delivering remote training with live trainers for their Non-Licensed Work with Asbestos in Soils courses. Equipe are also due to launch their GEO Academy which will be a state of the art on-demand learning platform for geotechnical professionals and site operatives.

So is the industry laughing in the face of adversity or merely smiling. Well I’ll take a smile at this time as I know this will help us focus on the positives of which there are many. With a positive attitude, the industry will not only survive but be in a better place when we eventually return to ‘normal’ times.

Article provided by Julian Lovell, AGS Chair, Managing Director, Equipe Group