Gray & Adams

Coping with Covid: Creating a safe working environment during the Covid-19 crisis

As a business operating over four sites across the UK, and with a team of over 700 staff, shutting down facilities due to Covid-19 was no small task.  

Having closed its doors on 24 March, in line with UK Government guidanceduringthe Covid-19 pandemic, the Gray & Adams management team were tasked withcloseexamination of existing operational practices to redefineandinnovate new ways of working and operating safely, in the new normal.

Gray & Adams is proud to supportfront lineservices through workwith customers inthe food service and pharmaceutical industries, it wasthereforeessential torespondswiftly and decisively, withclear and cohesive plan across theGroup.Initial input from several key members of the Fraserburgh team was required to co-ordinate strategic planning of the processes for the Group, including James Gray, Tony Jones, James Hendry, Davy Smith and Gordon Harper – it was a real team effort to get everything in place. 

Tony Jones, Group HSE Manager at Gray & Adams, explained. 

“We began byspeaking to our managers aboutcreating an action plan forhow we could best run each departmentsafely andwith a reduced workforce.This led to the creation andimplementationofone-waysystemsincluding marked-out floor areas with tape, clear signage and arrows.We developedback to work risk assessment processes and procedures, such as temperature checks for all staff and contracted staff. We also designeda controlled movement process, which focused on ensuring each department was secure and supported as a stand-alone area, with restricted staff movement between departments. This means that, if someone is required in a different department, there are several processes to go through in order to grant access for this movementto take place. 

At Fraserburgh, we installedhand sanitiser dispensers andhand basins in every department to ensure that there was sufficient access for handwashing throughout. In line with UK Government guidance, the first and last thing to be done by staff on entering their department or completing their shift is to wash their hands. The installation of toilets across the site was also undertaken to ensure sufficient staff access to bathrooms, with no need to share facilities between departments.   

With safety at the forefront of everyforensically planneddecision,PPEis providedto all staff, includinghigh-vis vests featuring social distancing messaging,disposable gloves,masks, visors and goggles. With some close proximity work unavoidable,Gray & Adams is also able to offer its staff air-fed hoods as a further precautionary safety measure. 

Another consideration was for enhanced site security. Space was made for additional staff parking to ensure that personnel could remain on site and accounted for, for the duration of their shift.This was done inconjunction with clear guidance for staff on what to bring to work, for example bringing food and drink required for the day with them to site, with all canteens and communal areas, such as locker rooms, closed.It is clearthrough theconductofthestaffwho have already returned to work,thatthe teamhave embraced the new environment created, whilst focusing on delivering the quality products and services whichGray & Adams is renowned for.

The first phase of staffwasbrought backto workin early May, beginning with panel and chassis builders, then a furtherphase of stafftobegin construction of trailerswhich enabledmanufacturing to resumeataround 50% capacityacross the Group. With continuous monitoring to ensure safe working,in Juneit was possible to increase staffnumbers again,allowingthe businessto run at around75% capacityandwithplans to continue incremental phased returnof staff,andshift workto ensureall safety measures and social distancing canbe maintained.

This shift required 100% commitment from all Gray & Adams staff to successfully implement and adhere to new, socially distant, working practices.We were absolutely delighted with the way our team supported the business in this regard. Despite an entirely new way of working, we have seen our staff adapt, keep each other safeand wear the correct PPE throughout.In someinstances,we have even found greater efficiency of performancein the new environment, partlythroughstringentlycontrolled movementaround our sites. This has also beengood to see, as it points towards an engaged and determined team.We couldn’t be more pleased with theiradaptability,conduct andperformanceat a hugely challenging time.” 

Latest News