Alternative water provision during the COVID-19 pandemic
Water Direct update 18 May 2021
We’d like to offer our reassurance that Water Direct continues to remain operational. We’re here and available as normal to help with alternative water supplies. We have taken all appropriate precautions in line with government advice to ensure we’re keeping everyone safe whilst operating effectively. To date there has been no impact on the provision of our products and services and we would like to assure our customers of our continued preparedness for any eventuality.
We have taken measures to enable ‘work from home’ for staff where appropriate. When undertaking physical operations for our customers our team are travelling and working within the Government guidelines for social distancing. Having now worked in this manner for the duration of the pandemic, we’re reassured of the systems we have in place being adequate to enable service delivery to our normal standards.
Our key staff are Field Technicians / Lorry Drivers. We have determined that whilst operating tankers or palletised goods delivery vehicles, they are essentially ‘lone working’ in an environment which they are in control of. When not involved in active tasks, as opposed to congregating at their respective deployment depots, they will remain at home on standby throughout their shift to further reduce any risk from unnecessary interpersonal contact. Again, since this system was put in place, we’ve found no change to our service delivery or meeting service level agreement (SLA) targets.
Our Duty Management team work on opposing shifts which will prevent direct contact between them, further reducing the risk they may become affected. Secondary to this, experienced managers are prepared to take over the Duty Management role should the primary Duty Managers become unable to work. The management team and other staff are working separately to each other (where operational efficiency allows) to ensure a team member becoming compromised doesn’t risk other team members also – those whose presence is required on our sites are social distanced from their colleagues through a modified seating plan.
All but the most essential visitors and meetings (e.g. for safety critical inspections / training) remain cancelled for the foreseeable future to reduce risk from face to face contact. Remote meetings are still being held on a regular basis both with internal and external stakeholders, ensuring we can maintain great working relationships with our customers.
Water Direct staff are determined as ‘Key Workers’ as designated by the UK Government. This ensures most specifically that our staff providing front line service delivery, such as Tankering and Bottled Water are able to continue working provided that they remain physically capable of doing so.
All staff are reminded on a daily basis of the measures we are taking as a company, and that the services we provide are critical to national infrastructure; thus we must follow all reasonable guidelines to ensure the safety and wellbeing of each other, as well as our customers and their dependants.
Prior to restrictions being increased across the country, we took measures to secure additional small vans and personnel transport vehicles to enable our relief drivers and Asset Technicians to travel to work sites without having to share cabs whenever this is practicable. This will further reduce unnecessary interpersonal contact in what are relatively confined spaces.
Our HGV fleet is less than 3 years old, with current service and maintenance contracts remaining unaffected at present. MOT extensions apply to the majority of our fleet with arrangements being made to ensure they remain compliant within the new deadlines. All other planned maintenance and safety checks are continuing as normal to ensure our equipment is ready to deploy around the clock as usual.
All Field Technicians, Asset Technicians and HGV Drivers have been provided with their own personal hygiene packs, replenished on a weekly basis. These packs aid them in maintaining a clean and disinfected working environment within their vehicle cabs, further minimising risk due to surface contamination.
All vehicles are equipped with Sleeper Cabs, reducing our reliance on hotel availability. Hotel offerings have improved and during several active incidents we’ve worked as normal with relief drivers able to remain in the area overnight local to the incident.