Thanks to the sterling efforts of our colleagues, we’ve successfully managed to keep our operations safely running while protecting our employees, suppliers, contractors and visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Running an integrated steelmaking business is complex so we’ve needed to take a thorough and diligent approach to set in place a strategy to address potential risks posed by the coronavirus.

Our initial cross-functional taskforce was set up in January 2020 to closely monitor the progress of the virus and manage our early response, guided by the UK Government and Public Health England.

Our Health & Safety team led on developing and completing our Comprehensive Risk Assessment, which documents the control measures we’ve successfully implemented over the last few months. These measures are detailed in our Business Health and Safety Instruction 2020 – Protecting Employees COVID-19, which is based on official Government advice prepared by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) with input from firms, unions, industry bodies and the devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Measures implemented to minimise risk include but are not limited to:

  • Appropriate use of PPE and face masks
  • Rigorous cleaning routines including regular cleaning for designated “clean” rooms
  • Social distancing wherever possible (2m)
  • Reminder of maintaining work area and personal hygiene e.g. regular handwashing
  • Temperature checks
  • Wide availability of hand sanitisers, including production of our own hand-sanitiser gel
  • Elimination of non-essential activities
  • Elimination of business travel and face-to-face meetings
  • Reduced occupancy of vehicles and implementation of social distancing
  • Reduced rotation of people within a workgroup
  • Staggered breaks, showers and shift change handovers
  • Implementation of exclusion zones in office and reception areas
  • Implementation of physical barriers
  • Increased natural ventilation in enclosed spaces

CEO Ron Deelen said: “During this challenging period, we’ve embraced technology to continue running our activities as smoothly as possible. Many of our employees started working from home prior to the introduction of UK lockdown measures, at which time we also implemented extended self-isolation in the event of symptoms.

“At the current time, as many colleagues as possible continue to work from home, working with customers and suppliers to achieve as normal a supply chain as possible. Last month saw our first ‘virtual’ international sales conference under our new ownership, where we connected our extended global network of colleagues to help work together to support customers around the world.

“We continue to support market needs while carefully managing our production levels across the business to meet customers’ needs. We hope our closely controlled activities will help support economic recovery as the UK, and further afield, strives to regain some normality.”

The commitment of our new owners, the multi-industrial company Jingye Group, has been much appreciated with the provision of individual care packs for employees and critical PPE to health and care workers in our local communities in North Lincolnshire and the Tees Valley, UK.

Our expert Occupational Health team has been invaluable in issuing guidance and support to our employees, ensuring our approach aligns with UK Government guidelines. This hasn’t been limited to addressing the physical symptoms and management of the virus, it also extends to supporting employees’ mental health and wellbeing during these exceptional circumstances.

We’re confident the steps we’ve taken coupled with our ongoing review activities comply to the UK Government’s guidance and as such, we are COVID-19 secure:

  • We have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and shared the results with our workforce
  • We have cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures in line with guidance
  • We have taken all reasonable steps to help people work from home
  • We have taken all reasonable steps to maintain a 2m distance in the workplace
  • Where people cannot be 2m apart, we have done everything practical to manage transmission risk

For further information regarding our Risk Assessment, please contact David Blake, Occupational Safety Manager.

We remain committed to maintaining a safe workplace and will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and the latest guidance. We will adapt our instruction and risk assessment should Government guidance or business operations require us to do so. Our priority continues to look after the wellbeing of our colleagues by taking every step reasonably practicable.

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