Veolia has introduced a compliant way of safely collecting, containing and treating potentially contaminated personal protective equipment (PPE) used by key workers during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Designed to maintain health and safety requirements and protect workers, the new service will be able to securely manage the growing quantities of gloves, safety goggles, masks, overalls, clothes and textiles and hard hats used during this pandemic.
Veolia's service was developed by redesigning existing operations and manages the complete process for discarded items from the workers' home using dedicated disposal boxes. This includes safe double-bagged storage for 72 hours at a secure location followed by collection and transport to an appropriate treatment facility. The process is managed by Veolia's specialist team supported by its dedicated help desk.
Many companies have workforces, such as maintenance engineers or cleaning operatives, providing key services to support communities and industry, and this solution is particularly targeted at these remote workers who travel between customer sites without returning to a central location. These teams are now required to adopt different procedures for reuse of PPE and wear additional Covid-19 related safety wear. For example, an engineering team of 200 could typically need collection and treatment services for 2,000 pieces of PPE a week.
Although often made from recyclable material the form and quantity collected in this way is often too low or too complex to recycle alongside other materials, and potential contamination with coronavirus means the equipment needs to be treated by a compliant disposal. This is carried out using Veolia's UK network of 10 energy recovery facilities, ERF, which ensures that items are handled correctly. Energy recovered from the process, in turn, feeds the National Grid and supplies heat for communities through district heating schemes.
30 April 2020
Wates Group has helped to boost the number of hospital beds available at the Royal London Hospital for patients with Covid-19.
Operatives from its construction arm and specialist engineering business SES Engineering Services began work on-site in late March, supported by subcontractors and key suppliers, working around the clock to complete the project within six weeks.
The group was awarded the emergency project by the NHS to redevelop two dormant floors at the hospital in Whitechapel. The space had been left empty when the hospital was opened in 2012 to allow for service expansion.
Over the following weeks, the team installed ceilings and floors, cubicles, toilets, plumbing and ventilation, as well as all utilities, electrical and fire protection systems.
Paul Chandler, group managing director of Wates Construction Group, said: “The scale of the national response needed to tackle Covid-19 is immense and we must all do what we can to play our part. For this project, we are drawing on a range of in-house expertise from across the Wates Group, from our fitout and building services specialists in Wates Construction, to our engineering, electrical and plumbing experts in SES. Combined with our key supply chain partners, who have dropped everything to join us, we are determined to complete this project as soon as possible.
28 April 2020
Sodexo has signed the C-19 Business Pledge created by former cabinet minister Justine Greening and financial services entrepreneur David Harrison.
The national scheme encourages businesses to join the coronavirus effort by pledging to help their employees, customers and communities during this crisis.
Signatory groups give backing to the three main objectives of the pledge, which are built around employees, customers and communities.
Sodexo said it is committed to guaranteeing the health, safety and wellbeing of these three groups and has been part of the industry-wide response to Covid-19 in the UK from the early stages.
At the end of January Sodexo mobilised within 48 hours the catering, concierge and security services for the first British coronavirus evacuees returning from Wuhan, China. Working with the NHS team, Public Health England, the local authority, and the police, its teams provided services for the guests 24 hours a day during their 14-quarantine at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside.
Sodexo has confirmed its support for all its employees and continues to redeploy teams to support the NHS during the Covid-19 outbreak including at drive-through Covid-19 testing centres.
As a partner to the Department for Health and Social Care, Sodexo has been working with Boots and Deloitte to set up the drive-through testing centres for NHS and other key workers. The centres provide vital testing on an appointment-only basis for self-isolating NHS and key workers, or symptomatic members of their families. Individual NHS trusts are selecting and contacting their workers to arrange appointments.
This week the company began supporting one of the new Nightingale Hospitals and will continue to explore more ways that it, as part of the wider FM industry, can work with the Department for Health & Social to fight Covid-19.
Sean Haley, regional chair of Sodexo UK & Ireland, said: “It has never been more apparent that our business lives and breathes its values. I applaud colleagues for moving across to use their skills in a hospital or other healthcare environments that urgently needs their help right now. Today, we are all working together to help in the effort to fight Covid-19. We stand ready to respond to further requests for support as the pandemic unfolds.”
Justine Greening said: “With the future of many employers hanging in the balance and incredibly tough times unfolding in sectors across the UK, businesses face many incredibly difficult decisions. But those organisations who are able to, can have a huge role in battling the impact of coronavirus and make a real difference in these uniquely challenging times.
“The C-19 Business Pledge is all about encouraging as many businesses and universities as possible to get involved and then helping them do that faster and better by sharing all the great work that’s already been done."
At least 250 organisations, collectively employing almost three million people, have signed the pledge. More information can be found here.
21 April 2020
Contract caterer Elior UK has teamed up with food redistribution company OLIO to donate surplus food to vulnerable local communities and reduce food waste during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The partnership launched last month and together with its companies Taylor Shaw and Lexington, Elior has donated 32,564 portions of food, or 15,504 meals to people in need.
Charlotte Wright, CSR manager at Elior UK, said: “Our partnership with OLIO is getting vital supplies to people in need who are either unable to get to supermarkets or visit food banks due to their vulnerability or social isolation.”
There are currently 30 sites from across the UK involved in the initiative, with more expected to join as the partnership continues to roll out.
20 April 2020
The Student Living by Sodexo team has launched its residential living programme as a virtual service for those in Sodexo-managed university student accommodation sites across the UK.
Building on Sodexo’s existing Residency Living programme, this new service has been developed to help students maintain their mental well-being and offer them the chance to learn new skills while movement and socialising opportunities are restricted.
In normal time Sodexo would be looking after more than 10,000 students across university and private accommodation. Because of the Covid-19 outbreak many students returned home to their families, but a large number of students are still in residence and Sodexo’s team said it is committed to supporting them as much as possible.
The virtual service includes live Facebook Q&A sessions with the Sodexo team, online exercise classes and a series of lessons ranging from Spanish and cookery to salsa dancing. Students can also visit the student living website, where they can read about how to manage stress, sleep hygiene and much more.
Students can also visit the website to find out how to cope during self-isolation and the importance of staying connected. Sodexo’s Student Living team, using apps such as Zoom and House Party, has also helped to encourage residents to reconnect.
Tom Martin, head of residency living at the company, said: “We have had some really positive feedback from students so far and we are continuing to look at ways we can develop more activities to keep our residents and supported entertained, while also ensuring their safety, during the coronavirus lockdown.”
15 April 2020
Sitemark, the independent benchmarking service for the facilities management industry, has launched a workplace hygiene programme in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The programme has been developed to enable businesses to maintain clean and hygienic buildings so that building users remain safe and healthy.
Unlike traditional cleaning specifications, which focus almost entirely on visual standards of cleanliness, this programme will help to identify and control those areas where additional hygiene standards are required. This will minimise the risk of workplace contamination for those key sites that are still occupied and will support those managing empty buildings as they gradually become reoccupied.
The essence of the programme is to identify all areas of a building where the risk of contamination to building users is high, highlight them and then clean them at a frequency that is appropriate to the area they are in. This includes common areas, door handles, lifts and stairway railings.
The highly visual system positively drives the behaviours of building users, cleaning operatives and facilities managers, and is based on the use of ‘high-intensity touch point’ indicators. These will remind building users to wash their hands after passing through a high-risk area, and prompt cleaning staff to pay additional attention to deep cleans of these areas.
The programme is suitable for all types of sites, can be used in conjunction with an existing cleaning specification and can be adapted over time as building use changes. Implementing the system is a three-stage process:
• step 1: Categorise every area type within your building;
• step 2: Determine the ‘touch point’ cleaning frequency for every area type; and
• step 3: Apply the ‘touch point’ indicators at appropriate locations.
The programme can be self-managed or independently audited by Sitemark to demonstrate that best practice is met. The programme includes the provision of:
• complete workplace risk assessment tool (available to download free of charge);
• programme control document;
• hygiene cleaning specification;
• pictogram-based method statements (routine/swab testing/deep clean);
• wall-mounted guide
• high-intensity ‘touch point’ indicators;
• audit protocol and score sheet (optional); and
• independent 'best practice' certification.
See here for more information.
8 April 2020
PHS Group has launched an emergency-response cleaning service for organisations affected by coronavirus.
The group says its cleaning division, Interclean, can deep clean premises that have had coronavirus cases within 24 to 48 hours of commission.
David Taylor-Smith, CEO of PHS Group, said: “With a specialist cleaning division, our own line of hygiene and air purification products, we understand the crucial role we can play in sanitisation. Our message to businesses who are continuing to offer essential services to the public and to businesses who are seeking to re-open soon is clear, we are by your side and we can help.”
8 April 2020
Compass Group UK & Ireland has joined businesses from across the UK in an initiative to help Britain and its most vulnerable citizens to pull through the coronavirus pandemic.
The national scheme encourages employers to join the coronavirus effort by pledging to help their employees, customers and communities during this crisis.
Employers who sign up to the pledge give their backing to three main objectives built around employees, customers and communities. These are:
- Support own employees throughout and beyond this challenging time;
- Publish clear and simple advice for customers; and
- Help communities in Britain through the epidemic.
Examples of the work Compass is doing includes:
- Foodbuy, Compass’s procurement business, is providing 10,000 free food boxes for its employees.
- It is awarding a bonus in the range of 8 to 17 per cent additional pay to 7,800 colleagues supporting the NHS as ward hosts, hospital porters or cleaners.
- It is donating £500,000 of food to Fareshare as well as ensuring that surplus food continues to go to support food banks and other charity and community providers.
- It is launching an internal nurse helpline, designed to support medical queries and concerns of employees and reduce the burden on the NHS.
Donna Catley, chief people officer at Compass Group UK & Ireland, said: “We are really proud of our frontline colleagues who are going above and beyond supporting the NHS and other critical services, facing adversity always seems to bring out the best in our people and it is no different on this occasion. I’m looking forward to collaborating with other businesses signed up to the C-19 Business Pledge as undoubtedly together we’re stronger.”
07 April 2020
Moneypenny has launched a free digital switchboard service for facilities managers to help keep communications flowing throughout the coronavirus crisis.
The offer will be particularly valuable to FMs operating in buildings where reception teams can no longer be office-based or they do not have the technology to manage the switchboard remotely.
Joanna Swash, Moneypenny’s CEO, said: “We want to help companies during this challenging time, so we’re offering our digital switchboard services for free. Many are struggling to deal with the shift in call volumes due to the rapid switch to home working, and we’re on hand to make sure we can provide solutions to help maintain exceptional customer service.”
Simon Burlison, the company’s business development manager, added: “Many facilities managers have assisted with putting remote working plans in place in record time. Understandably, a lot of that focus has been on providing laptops and shared access to files, rather than the logistics of call handling and telephony. However, call handling is a business-critical activity. Businesses must remain accessible for clients and prospects, and for remote teams to be able to work productively. This is an unprecedented offer from Moneypenny, and one that will help facilities managers face the challenges of the next few months.”
06 April 2020
The Building Engineering Association (BESA) has said that “employers should prepare for a likely surge in mental health problems during the current lockdown”.
The association carried out a poll and found 41 per cent of respondents reported that their mental health was worse than normal as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions – including 5 per cent who said it was much worse. Consequently, BESA is concerned that long periods of enforced physical isolation could lead to a serious mental health epidemic.
Emily Pearson, managing director of Our Minds Work, said: “We need to treat mental health with the same seriousness as physical health.
“Action needs to be taken during the lockdown if someone is having significant problems – just as you would if they had broken their leg.
“We are all experiencing greater anxiety and we know that there was a steep increase in people reporting mental health worries on the day the prime minister announced the lockdown.”
BESA has “urged employers” to maintain regular contact with both working and furloughed staff amid concern that the latter would simply be left to their own devices for the duration of the crisis.
A recent joint survey by BESA and the ECA found that nine out of 10 small business owners were suffering from stress and other serious mental health conditions.
David Frise, chief executive of the BESA said: “Mental health was already a serious problem in our sector before the current Covid-19 crisis. The industry has made major progress on the physical safety of its workforce, but continues to struggle with mental health issues, which are just as important.
“Employers must be mindful of the impact uncertainty and isolation can have on their staff who will also be worrying about their job security. We are also urging banks to be mindful of the particular pressure on small business owners applying for financial support through the government’s emergency schemes.”
03 April 2020
Thomson FM and Anabas have launched coronavirus support services.
Thomson has started on a building management strategy to ensure that all fabric, mechanical and electrical systems are reviewed and risk assessed in order to minimise the risks to clients’ buildings, assets and occupants.
Their approach will target key areas of maintenance activity, depending on the building type, and will be tailored to the needs of each customer’s estate.
The support focuses on several key areas where they can provide support remotely, including:
• reducing the risk of Covid-19 transmission;
• new maintenance strategy;
• water management;
• passenger and goods lifts;
• fire risk
• protecting asset life cycle
Anabas has started an employee assistance programme (EAP) for its staff via webinar, to begin with immediate effect.
The EAP provides a confidential 24/7, 365-day helpline and provides advice and support on legal, financial, medical and other personal issues for staff who may be struggling in such times of uncertainty. Anabas staff and their families can have personal counselling sessions, and there is unlimited access to online information including podcasts and downloads covering a wide variety of health-related topics.
Anabas is also running a range of e-learning programmes about cleaning and hygiene to support staff in staying safe and well during the pandemic.
Alistair Craig, managing director at Anabas, said: “Our staff are our biggest asset and their safety and well-being is absolutely paramount. One of Anabas’s main focuses for 2020 is employee physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, and we have been working on developing a new employee welfare package for some time. It was critical that we accelerated the go-live to support our staff when they need it most.”
02 April 2020
The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has produced new guidance on the employment issues raised by the coronavirus crisis.
The document provides the industry with information it needs to know on how to place staff on furlough, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and the Self-employed Income Support Scheme.
A series of in-depth FAQs are also included in the guidance for the two major employment schemes that are designed to protect jobs while the economy is in partial suspension.
Chair of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) Andy Mitchell said: “This resource will be invaluable to any company operating along the construction supply chain. These schemes are fundamental to protecting jobs and the future of the construction sector. Therefore we hope that this guidance will inform and encourage more to take up these unprecedented offers of support from the government.”
Hannah Vickers, chief executive of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), said: “We will all have to work together if we are to emerge unscathed from this crisis. Sharing this guidance is just one way we are helping the whole industry rise to the challenges we’re currently facing.”
The guidance can be freely downloaded from the CLC’s website.
31 March 2020
The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) has created a database for organisations in urgent need of supply chain resources to guarantee that the UK is able to respond to the coronavirus crisis.
The database has been compiled from industry information following CILT’s call to action for cross-sector collaboration. CILT said that more than 500 individuals and organisations have responded to its initial call to action so far. The information provided is being uploaded into the public, non-editable resource database.
The database provides a service that matches organisations together so that those who have capacity can help those organisations in urgent need – such as the NHS and the grocery retail sector – by making available staff, vehicles, warehouse space and expertise to support the supply chain.
Kevin Richardson, chief executive of CILT, said: “We have seen a rapid pivot in operational needs, with demands on the logistics sector soaring as home delivery and pharmaceutical supply chains are put under pressure.
“Conversely, as homeworking grows, so demand for public transport has fallen. We believe as a profession we can work together to meet this challenge.”
The database can be accessed here.
26 March 2020
Trade union Unite is calling upon the government to reclassify many of the UK's five million insecure workers as employees to guarantee that they can be covered by the job retention scheme.
Unite is making the call ahead of the chancellor’s expected package of measures, set to be revealed later today, to assist insecure and self-employed workers during the economic and health emergency.
By removing the insecure status of employment for many of the one in six UK workers in that category – some five million workers – the government would make them eligible to apply for 80 per cent of their estimated earnings.
Although Unite recognises that not all of the five million precarious workers could be defined as employees, in sectors like construction, cleaning and hospitality in which workers have a clear tie to an employer the change in status could have an immediate and positive impact.
The union is also calling for the government to do more to increase pressure on employers to ‘do the right thing' and use the jobs protection scheme to avert a collapse in wages and employment, further jeopardising the UK's ability to stage an economic recovery when the covid-19 pandemic has been beaten.
25 March 2020
Rentokil Specialist Hygiene has announced that it is offering a range of disinfection services to assist with containment and control of coronavirus.
The cleaning and disinfection services specialist said its technicians are equipped with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), respiratory protective equipment (RPE) and specialist disinfection equipment to provide cleaning and disinfection services safely and effectively.
The first service option is provided in the event of a confirmed or suspected case of Covid-19 on premises within 72 hours of the case being reported, where the site needs to be up and running quickly. Technicians will implement tough risk-assessed infection control measures that go beyond minimum World Health Organisation guidance.
All waste generated as part of the disinfection process is segregated on site and is disposed of in a safe and legally compliant way to eliminate cross-contamination. Waste can be handled as clinical waste during segregation, transportation and disposal, in line with Covid-19 infection prevention guidance set out by Public Health England.
Government guidance states that under most circumstances the amount of infectious virus on any contaminated surface is likely to have significantly decreased within 72 hours. If there is a suspected case of Covid-19 at a building that has been closed for 72 hours, Rentokil can disinfect the premises.
Technicians wearing full PPE and RPE will manually disinfect main touch points –such as door handles and kitchen surfaces – using a high-level surface disinfectant to help minimise the risk of infection. ULV disinfection fogging will also be carried out to make sure that all necessary areas are disinfected. Rentokil Specialist Hygiene will then remove all waste from the site in accordance with the law.
Jamie Woodhall, technical and innovations manager at Rentokil Specialist Hygiene, said: “Preventing the spread of the Covid-19 must be the number one priority for all employers and employees, and a proactive approach to health and hygiene is the key to achieving this.
“If you have had a confirmed or suspected case of the Covid-19 virus on your premises, then it is vital to consult disinfection experts swiftly. They are qualified to advise on the appropriate action that needs to be taken, can conduct a thorough deep clean and dispose of the resulting waste safely to help prevent cross contamination. They will also be able to get these essential businesses and services back up and running as quickly as possible, and in a safe and professional manner.”
24 March 2020
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has appealed to the prime minister to clear up the confusion about who can be at work and how insecure and self-employed workers will be supported economically.
He warns that the lack of clarity and absence of financial support for insecure workers are at odds with the national emergency. His appeal follows media images this morning from London – epicentre of the UK’s Covid-19 pandemic – of packed construction sites and Tube trains as workers continue to head to work.
McCluskey also urged the government to work more closely with trade unions to get the correct measures in place for working people.
He said: “The government must work with trade unions to define the tougher isolation rules because we understand the reality of the workplace. Had the government talked to us beforehand, for example, we would have been able to spell out to them how their new measures would be met by workers in construction and its supply chain.
“So I appeal to the prime minister and his government – please work with us in order to keep your promise to do whatever it takes. Waste no more time before putting in place adequate incomes support and be very clear with employers about how you will support them to do the right thing by their workforce.”
23 March 2020
Last week chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a further package of measures to help workers as the government ordered the shutdown of entertainment, hospitality, leisure and other facilities.
He outlined the unprecedented set of measures to protect millions of people’s jobs and incomes as part of the national effort in response to coronavirus.
A Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be set up to help to pay people’s wages. Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages of their workforce who remain on payroll but are temporarily not working during the coronavirus outbreak. Any employer in the country – small or large, charitable or non-profit – will be eligible for the scheme.
Universal Credit and tax credits will also be increased as part of an almost £7 billion welfare boost.
In other news, the IWFM published a Covid-19 guidance resource.
Outsourced NHS workers working for companies such as Serco and Interserve in the meantime have been granted full pay if sick.
Others, such as energy and utility staff, are still calling for recognition as key workers.