Ground Control Coronavirus Response and Guidance

Ground Control follows all Government advice as we continue to deliver support services to our customers including electricity, gas, water and data utilities providers, food retailers, government bodies and care services. This includes always maintaining 2m distance at all times, including when travelling, and following enhanced hygiene advice. This means our Field Teams must travel to and from work and to sites in separate vehicles unless specially approved to share with controls in place. All of our office-based staff work from home where this is possible. All staff who are in vulnerable groups or live with vulnerable groups are being protected.

Latest Update 22/09/20 – updates to working from home and field based

In light of the recent rise in cases, please ensure you are following all safety guidance at all times when working for Ground Control and in your personal lives.

It is important we all follow these simple rules:

  • you must continue to work from home
  • limit contact with other people
  • maintain 2m social distancing
  • wash your hands regularly
  • do not work or meet in groups larger than six people without Director approval

As well as the above, we ask everyone to follow all government advice, which also included;

  • Anyone who has or lives with someone who develops a cough or fever or a loss or changed sense of normal smell or taste (anosmia) must self-isolate
  • Avoid non-essential travel, and do not use public transport unless absolutely necessary
  • Only use the NHS when you really need to

Q&A

Can I go to work?  Yes, if your work is outdoors and you can follow social distancing (2 metres) and maintain good hygiene. Field team owners must ensure the workplace is COVID Secure – for guidance see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Colleagues must travel to and from work and between sites in separate vehicles unless they have a permit to vehicle share.  In addition, each job undertaken must be individually assessed to ensure all operatives can work safely maintaining a 2m distance.

I am or live with a vulnerable person, can I go to work? If you cannot work from home, please call HR on 01277 315310 to arrange a “passport” to return to field based work which will involve a risk assessment to ensure you can do so safely.

What happens if I get ill? If you are sick, you should stay at home until you are well. Even if you do not have Coronavirus or its symptoms, going out to work when you are unwell may put you at increased risk of picking up a virus, and will do the same for your colleagues. You should let us know by calling 01277 315310.

When must I self-isolate? If you or anyone you live with develops Coronavirus symptoms – fever, cough or loss or changed sense of normal smell or taste (anosmia) – then you must stay at home and self-isolate. You should let us know by calling 01277 315310. You can find the government guidance for households who need to isolate here.

When can I come out of self-isolation? You can end self-isolation when:

  • You have had symptoms and have been self-isolating for at least 10 days, and have been symptom free for at least 48 hours.
  • You have been self-isolating for 14 days and have not developed symptoms.
  • You and anyone you live with who has had symptoms has been tested and received a negative result.

Can I get tested for Coronavirus? Yes, anyone can now be tested if they have symptoms.

Apply online here: https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/test-type. Do not visit a test centre until you have a confirmed booking.

Do I have to isolate if someone in my household has been asked to isolate (i.e. because they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive)? No, however you should be considerate of the risk and self-isolate immediately if they develop any symptoms.

Can I still work if I am showing symptoms or have tested positive? Yes if you are able to work at home and are well enough to do so, but you must self-isolate as described above.

Declaration – COVID-19 Secure

Local Restrictions and Local Lockdown

Following rising cases of COVID-19 across the UK, restrictions have been introduced in some areas. The areas are ever changing therefore, you must ensure that you stay aware of Local restrictions in your areas.

If you are based in an area affected by LOCAL RESTRICTIONS OR LOCKDOWN you should follow the local rules and consider increasing your safety processes, e.g. increased cleaning, reducing cohort size and reducing or removing vehicle sharing. You can find out more about Local Restrictions here.

Avoiding spreading viruses is the most important thing we can do:

  • wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Please speak to your line manager on next steps, and also please let HR know by calling 01277 315310. You will be paid if you are unable to work due to sickness or because you need to isolate if you are unable to work, however we would expect employees who are able to work, to work from home.

Field teams will be able to reclaim the cost of SSP for any employees unable to work from the government.

Travel and Quarantine

We recommend that you do not go abroad if you don’t need to. Whilst we do not wish to stop colleagues from going on holiday, we must bear in mind that quarantine rules can change rapidly. If you do choose to go abroad, please consider carefully:

  • your destination – how safe is it currently and is there a “travel corridor” with the UK?
  • what happens if you or your family members fall ill abroad?
  • what happens if quarantine rules change? Your trip may require you to take an extra two weeks off work.

If you do travel abroad, you must review travel corridors with the UK and quarantine at home for 14 days if required. You can find more information about travel corridors here.

Advice for Office Based GC Employees

  • All office based employees must work from home

Advice for Field Based GC Employees & Teams

  • You have a reduced risk when working outside separately from the public
  • Employ social distancing – remain at least 2 metres from people you do not live with wherever practicable
  • Keep cohorts working together, rather than mixing crew members on different days, and max 6 people per cohort
  • You may want to consider how you structure your day so you avoid busy periods and locations, and so you can eat and use facilities at home
  • Carry all food and drink with you, avoid popping into shops daily for lunch and drinks
  • Wear gloves as much as possible, change them or wash them regularly and never touch your face when wearing them
  • Please carry and use antibacterial gel where regular hand washing is not an option
  • You must wear a face-covering whenever you are inside an enclosed public space, e.g. when in welfare units, signing in and out of stores, using bathrooms.
  • Do not visit GC offices

You should continue to sign in and out of sites unless advised otherwise, however please keep yourselves safe when doing so:

  • only one person on each team should go into a site office / store
  • avoid waiting if it’s busy, go away and come back later
  • please carry your own pen rather than using the one on site
  • ask our customer for their name and sign on their behalf, do not handover your device

You can find more advice on staying safe outside your home on the government website here.

Advice for vehicles

  • Only one person should travel in each vehicle unless you have received a permit approving you to share a vehicle (see below).
  • Regularly sanitise all contact points in the vehicle, including keys, door handles (inside and out), window controls, seat adjusters, steering wheel and steering wheel height adjuster, parking brake, gear lever, indicator and wiper stalks and light controls.
  • Avoid direct contact with fuel pumps and/or air pressure pumps at the petrol station. Wherever possible use the disposable gloves which are commonly available. Use contactless payment methods.
  • Keep tissues in the car and a bin bag to dispose of any rubbish once or twice a day.
  • If anyone else has been in your vehicle, e.g. if it has been into the garage, make sure you thoroughly disinfect.

We have implemented a Permit to vehicle share process throughout the organisation. You must apply prior to vehicle sharing. Apply here.

  • In order to vehicle share you must ensure that you remain in a “bubble” with your teams by not rotating team members to minimise contact.
  • You must work to all safety guidance that will be sent to you once you apply via our HSQE team.
  • You must all wear face coverings at all times within the vehicle.
  • You must notify us if anyone is shielding or lives with someone who is shielding.

You must not enter a vehicle or go to work if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 and notify the GC Manager

Managers – please ensure all cases of illness for staff or field teams are reported to HR as quickly as possible including details of what is wrong, what steps the individual has taken and whether they are continuing to work from home. Please also let HR know if any employees are returning from abroad. Please call Amanda Manning on 01277 315310.

Below are several other websites which contain information related to COVID-19:

NHS (UK): Health advice on Coronavirus

Government advice on Coronavirus, including;

Staying safe and alert

Staying at home if you think you have coronavirus (Self-isolating)

How to protect extremely vulnerable people (Shielding)

BBC Advice on protecting your mental health

World Health Organization (WHO) advice on Coronavirus

HSE Guidance on working during Coronavirus

We continue to deliver services to our customers during this time, we are working with our clients to ensure that client specific controls are adhered to. Ground Control have taken all reasonable steps to ensure that controls are in place across all operations.  We have implemented a full suite of safety guidance that has been cascaded to all employees.   If you have any questions or concerns regarding any guidance please contact: safetyteam@ground-control.co.uk.

Questions should be directed to:

·    Contact ·    Contact Details
·    HSQE ·    Angelina Sooren – angelina.sooren@ground-control.co.uk – 07961 047790
·    HR ·    Tanya Meah – tanya.meah@ground-control.co.uk – 07850 723470
·    ICT ·    Sim Hassall – sim.hassall@ground-control.co.uk – 07782 209993

Ground Control Response to Coronavirus

Ground Control has no immediate concerns over our ability to deliver services to their usual standard whilst following all government guidance, and where we cannot do so safely we will discuss with customers alternatives to ensure that any impact is reduced. Ground Control is a naturally resilient company as the vast majority of our work is done remotely and does not require coming into a central yard or office, thus naturally reducing exposure risks. Ground Control has conducted extensive resilience testing across every department and are perfectly positioned to meet any challenge the Coronavirus or indeed any other significant challenges that may occur in the future, e.g. fire, flood or terrorism.

Well-resourced business continuity plans are in place, and the following actions have been undertaken:

  • All works are risk assessed to ensure they can be completed whilst maintaining 2m distancing between operatives. Where this cannot be achieved, works will not go ahead.
  • Regular communication by email and text message with all employees to update on the latest advice.
  • Ground Control has a robust IT infrastructure and employees can access business systems and communications platforms remotely.
  • Implementing enhanced preventive hygiene controls, including increased cleaning and provision of sanitisers etc.

Customer FAQ

Have your systems and processes been tested?  Good news, our systems and processes have undergone extensive resilience testing and we are superbly positioned to cope with any eventuality resulting from the threat of Coronavirus. Ground Control has made extensive investments into our systems and is ahead of the curve in terms of preparedness.  All of our office based staff have home working capability, and in an effort to support the UK in minimising the spread of the virus, Ground Control has proactively moved to home working for all office based staff with zero negative impact to our customers experience. Ground Control’s Senior Management response team has been meeting daily since 3rd March to review processes and data from our operations, clients and systems as well as the latest UK Government guidance to ensure that we continue to stay ahead of this moving situation.

Does Ground Control have any confirmed cases of Coronavirus?  We have had a very low number of confirmed cases which have all been quickly isolated.

What is your process around handling anyone that does have a confirmed case of Coronavirus?  We continue to adhere to and monitor the UK Government guidelines around managing any confirmed or suspected cases of Coronavirus. We are ensuring anyone working with Ground Control with any cold or flu like symptoms is able to self-isolate at home.

Is your supply chain robust enough to manage any issues that may arise?  Is everything sourced from the UK?  Yes, we have reviewed our supply chain and we are confident that we have provisions in place to mitigate any foreseeable challenges.  We have a number of staff isolating at home, however this is having no significant impact on delivery at present. We will of course continue to monitor this and will take proactive steps to ensure that we stay well placed and well equipped to support our clients.

How are your field team operatives being supported and kept safe?  We are working with our clients to limit human to human contact where possible for our field based employees. We have supplied our field teams with the very latest guidance on how best to manage the threat of the Coronavirus and we continue to communicate with them as we navigate through this moving situation.

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