How Has Millbrook Changed Since COVID-19?
An Interview with Sally Turner, Manager - Health and Safety
The past few months have seen some major changes across all of our sites at Millbrook, from the way we work to the practices and procedures we follow. The COVID-19 outbreak has seen us adapt, come together and achieve things that we should be extremely proud of. Not only have we remained open and COVID-secure since the start of the pandemic, but we are working more safely and efficiently than ever before. We spoke to our Health and Safety Manager, Sally Turner, about the changes we have implemented.
"Although it has been a difficult time for us all, it’s shown how resilient, innovative and professional we are when faced with adverse challenges, and I’m extremely proud of everyone for what we have achieved."
How did Millbrook initially react to the pandemic?
It’s probably not difficult to imagine that we’ve have had a busy few months! As soon as we heard about lockdown situations in other countries, the Incident Management Team sprang into action to assess the risks involved in terms of employee and customer safety, and business continuity.
We had an idea of what stage 1 of lockdown in the UK might look like, and began preparing for this to happen. A big part of this was working with our Facilities Management and IT teams, which did a brilliant job in ensuring the increased demands of cleaning were met and that our virtual private network system would be able to cope with more people working remotely.
What safety measures have been put in place across Millbrook?
Once social distancing and lockdown measures started being applied by the government, it was really encouraging that everyone worked together to implement new measures. We had to consider methods for keeping safe across all our sites, including in Finland and the USA who work to different guidelines. We learnt what worked and coordinated actions across regions. General preventative measures were put in place such as: Perspex screening; one way systems; catering provisions and the rearrangement of offices.
We are also currently trialing a new temperature screening process at our site in Leyland. If successful, this could be rolled out to our other locations to replace the handheld digital thermometers that we currently use.
Was it possible for Millbrook staff to work remotely?
For some job roles, switching to working from home was a relatively easy process. We encouraged everyone to become more accustomed to video conferencing tools, and digitised several procedures. This has allowed tasks to be completed remotely and increased efficiency.
For other job roles, working remotely wasn’t a sustainable option, and we had to assess how we could continue to offer the best customer service possible while keeping all parties involved safe. Each department assessed the level of risk depending on the type of work being conducted and implemented appropriate measures. We made sure we listened to feedback, both positive and negative, to ensure employees and customers felt safe and happy with the new working processes. Without the help from everyone across the business, we wouldn’t have achieved what we have. We’ve all worked together to apply some really innovative solutions to stay operational from the start of the pandemic and we continue to do so.
Has the pandemic had any positive impacts for Millbrook?
From a health and safety perspective, I’m delighted with the way the whole business has reacted and worked together, and for that I’m very grateful. Our health and safety statistics provide a positive story with accident, incidents and absence rates reducing. This is partly due to health and safety now being so essential to every aspect of our lives, but also our increased focus on training and communication. I was already in the process of converting physical training sessions to e-learning, and COVID-19 pushed me to implement this more quickly. This has proven to be a really good asset.
In terms of wellbeing, we have made sure to reach out to our employees throughout this difficult time. I am very passionate about supporting others with their mental health queries, so I am pleased to have seen people become more open about their wellbeing.
The pandemic put us in a position in which we had to review and refine our processes. Although it has been a difficult time for us all, it’s shown how resilient, innovative and professional we are when faced with adverse challenges, and I’m extremely proud of everyone for what we have achieved. Working relationships have been made stronger and I’ve found myself more connected to a wider range of colleagues than ever before.