Operations during the COVID-19 pandemic

14.05.2020

Comment by Frederic Aubet, managing director CRH Ukraine

— CRH Ukraine’s operational sites started implementing preventive measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 as far back as February. For example, starting from the second half of February, all international business trips were limited, and the employees who visited the countries where outbreaks of the new coronavirus had been recorded were quarantined for two weeks. At the end of February, sanitizers with an alcohol-based antiseptic were installed at the plants, and on the first days of March, temperature monitoring with non-contact thermometers was introduced for all employees and visitors of the plants.
Since March 17, all employees whose work is not connected with a mandatory presence on site have been working from home, all meetings have been switched to the online mode, and business trips have been banned. Owing to the fact that since 2018, the company has been using Microsoft Office 365, and the Microsoft Teams application was integrated in March, the transition to remote work caused no significant difficulties.
The number of employees in shifts was also reduced, and access to the locker rooms was restricted — it was prohibited for two shifts to be in the locker room at the same time.
High-risk employees were identified — if they couldn’t work remotely online, they were told to stay home their salaries maintained.
Health and Safety is the core value of CRH, and today it is true more than ever. Potential risks are continuously monitored at the plants, and various measures are introduced to eliminate them. In order to keep social distancing, the canteens have been closed, offline meetings have been banned, the number of buses for corporate transport of employees has been increased, markings have been made to keep distance, and benches have been removed from smoking and rest areas.
Since the beginning of March, the plants have strengthened disinfection and hygiene measures. All customer drivers are required to use their own personal protective equipment and separate restrooms, access of all visitors to the employees is limited, and the use of face masks by drivers on the premises is a mandatory requirement. All employees are required to use face masks or respirators if they are not alone in a room, as well as on corporate buses. During the quarantine, the use of common landline phones is prohibited — for this, additional individual mobile phones have been purchased for the plants. The frequency of cleaning at the plants has been increased. A requirement was introduced for the mandatory disinfection of the workplace and mobile equipment after the end of each shift.
The management of CRH Ukraine is aware that the most important prerequisite for the effectiveness of the implemented measures is that each individual should abide by them and that the employees are engaged. That is why, at the end of February, a communication campaign was launched at the Group’s locations in Ukraine aimed at informing the employees about the risks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the requirements for preventive measures at the plants and recommendations for following them outside the sites.
In order to monitor all measures aimed at preventing the spread of the new coronavirus, CRH has developed a number of procedures/practical guidelines: workplace audit, guidelines for drivers, risk assessment procedure, and many others. Today, the OneCRH principle in the activities of the Group is more invaluable than ever. All locations share their best practices, which allows us to identify a higher number of possible risks, as well as apply the best solutions.
One more important focus for CRH Ukraine is supporting the communities where the company operates. During the first half of April 2020, CRH Ukraine’s operational sites provided support to the medical institutions and local communities in the Khmelnytsky region, in the city of Odesa, in Mykolaiv district of Lviv region, and the town of Korosten in Zhytomyr region.
For customers, the plants operate in a normal mode today despite the measures introduced. The management of CRH Ukraine is taking every possible effort to ensure the smooth operation of the plants and supply customers with products, but most importantly, create a safe working environment for the employees.

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