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Safety is the priority

R. Jayakanthan, Director - People, Systems & Strategy, Elgi Equipments shares the steps that the company is taking towards maintaining safety standards.

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Safety, R. Jayakanthan, Director - People, Systems & Strategy, Elgi Equipments, WHO, •	Preventive and periodic maintenance, COVID-19, COVID-19 awareness program, Business travel, Social distancing, Hazards and Prevention of COVID-19 at the Workplace

Please tell us about your company’s approach towards safety.
At ELGi, we care deeply about our customers, employees and the community at large. During the pandemic, we’ve taken several measures to ensure business continuity and availability to serve our customers, while we aim to protect the well-being of our employees –

• For one, we strengthened our employee communications globally, disseminating regular guidelines to help employees cope better with the pandemic; in addition, our HR teams across the world personally checked in on every employee’s wellbeing during the lockdown.

• Our leadership team has endeavoured to consistently address all employees and provide directives to ensure everyone stays safe and is well apprised of developments, during this unprecedented situation.

• All of our employees were immediately encouraged to work from home if and where possible

• While our service experts were available, during the lockdown, to assist customers with restarting operations and ensuring optimal efficiency of their compressed air system, we ensured we instituted policies and practices following guidance from the CDC, WHO and local public health authorities. This comprised of the necessary hygiene and health checks, no-contact service and self-declaration protocols. Now that the lockdowns are lifting across regions, similar protocols are adhered to by both our sales and service teams.

• Preventive and periodic maintenance was also carried out, across all plants and machinery, factory and office buildings during the lockdown. This helped us to ensure a seamless, hassle-free restart and provided a safe environment for employees to resume work.

• As we begin resuming work, post lockdown, we’re ensuring we implement robust safety and social distancing protocols, to help support a safe and healthy environment across our facilities.

How has the pandemic changed the safety regulations in your company?
As detailed earlier, the safety of all our employees across the world continues to be a key priority for us. Prior to the resumption of work across all our facilities -

• All areas across all of our facilities, units, company vehicles and material have been disinfected with the use of approved disinfectants.

• We’d developed a global re-occupation manual to provide guidance with resuming operations at every manufacturing unit/office, while aiming to prevent the chain of COVID-19 transmission. The guidance re-emphasized that essential functions can be safely resumed post pandemic, given the implementation of several mitigation strategies, such as social distancing, increased hygiene and other similar approaches. The precautionary measures and guidance detailed in the document provided broad guidelines and mandatory measures that were to be implemented at every unit/office to ensure the safety of all employees, trainees, vendor representatives, suppliers, customers, contract workers, consultants, and all visitors.

• Appropriate (PPE) personal protective equipment such as face masks, goggles, gloves, aprons as well as the appropriate disinfecting agents such as, sanitisers, hand wash liquids etc. have been made available at all manufacturing sites and office locations.

• Touch free hand wash and sanitizer stations were installed at all our units.

Resumption of work
• Post resumption of work, social distancing protocols have been mandated across all of our units/facilities. Temperature checks are being carried out at all entry points using touch free infrared thermometers.

• A COVID-19 awareness program was conducted by our medical officers for our employees, dealers and suppliers. Based on our in-house physician's review of our employees medical history, employees who are prone to illness and those aged 55 years and more were asked to stay at home in India.

• We have also discouraged visitors across our facilities; however, any business critical visitors are requested to adhere to precautionary measures with respect to screening at entry, social distancing and proactive disclosure.

• Business travel has been restricted and employees have been advised to replace the same with telephonic discussions and virtual communication.

• And of course, our sales and service staff are well versed with the safety and social distancing protocol and have been ensuring they adhere to the same while serving our customers.

Besides normal safety gears, what additional investments has your company done to ensure safety regulations?
• During the lock down period, there were surfeit of misinformation floating around several communication channels. Should you wear a face mask? Can you catch the virus from your dog? How should you wash your hands effectively? And while the information over-dose we have been receiving was quite overwhelming, we questioned how much do we really know about the enemy?  With so much news about the virus, it was hard to distinguish between fact and fiction.

• We felt that possessing the knowledge of “what to do” and “what not to do” is key to staying safe and minimizing transmission. We wanted to ensure each of our employees has access to reliable information on how to prevent and stop Covid-19. With this view in mind, we ensured every employee has access to a comprehensive training program – ‘Hazards and Prevention of COVID-19 at the Workplace’ and online assessment, to test knowledge levels and ascertain that every employee was well equipped with the basic knowledge to prevent the spread of coronavirus at the workplace.

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