Plastics manufacturer, Renolit, is being hailed as example of best practice in the North East for its response to the coronavirus pandemic, and its plans to ensure employees are kept safe on their return to the workplace.
Clear communication has been central to the firm's success, with managing director, Dave Hall, ensuring employees, suppliers and customers were kept fully informed of the company's approach every step of the way.
Renolit furloughed approximately 98% of it's staff, with eight team members continuing to work for the business to maintain communications with employees and stakeholders, and importantly, plan for re-start.
A regular COVID-19 staff newsletter was introduced to keep all employees updated on the situation. As well as providing organisatoinal updates, it also signposted employees to additional help and support they could access through services like the Employee Assistance Programme, which helps employees deal with personal and professional problems that might adversely impact their work performance, home life, health, and wellbeing.
It also featured a 'frequently asked questions' section to address concerns and feedback from members of staff.
Return to work
Renolit adopted a phased approach to the reopening of its Cramlington site. It began by consulting with the Health and Safety Executive on the measures it was putting in place to ensure employees would be kept safe in the workplae.
This included a detailed risk assessment, as well as significant changes to both the office and manufacturing areas of the business, including:
- Clear signage reinforcing the latest guidance
- Door safety devices
- Access to hand sanitiser
- Floor markings to allow for social distancing
- Cleaning stations
- Dedicated passing points
- Plastic screens
- Provision of PPE equipment
- New cleaning routines.
Phase two saw the team contact major customers, look at demand from key accounts, and monitor supplier chains. Renolit also met with union and safety representatives to consult them on the reopening of the business and the new measure they had put in place.
Phase three of the business' reopening saw the staggered return of some staff members to prepare for the full return of the workforce. The re-start team comprised of engineers, process managers, process leaders, safety, watehouse, planning, customer care, finance and more, who helped ensure Renolit was fully compliant with the health and safety guidelines issued by Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive.
A 'new normal'
Renolit's full workforce returned on Monday 4 May and the organisation has been hailed an example of best practice in ensuring a safe working environment for its employees.
Renolit worked in partnership with trade unions, trade bodies and safety groups to adopt a new way of working that ensures the company's commercial success, but importantly protects the health and wellbeing of its staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
For advice and guidance on how to ensure your business operates safely during the coronavirus pandemic, visit gov.uk to access guides covering a range of different work environments.