Working Safely During Coronavirus (Part 4)
Whilst many businesses prepare to reopen for the first time since restrictions were introduced at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, for DW Windsor it’s business as usual. As documented through our #MakeLifeWork blog series, DW Windsor has remained operational throughout COVID-19 thanks to the hard work and dedication of our staff. And whilst the virus has presented new challenges, a core team of employees has been working tirelessly to ensure the company can operate safely, both from home and as we migrate back to the office, protecting our staff and minimising the impact on customers.
For the final instalments in our #MakeLifeWork series, we’re highlighting the extraordinary efforts of our staff, who have kept DW Windsor operating under the most challenging of circumstances. Told through a set of five interviews, the series discusses DW Windsor’s response to coronavirus, the impact it has had on the lighting industry and lessons we have learned from the experience.
Today we’re talking to Chris, discussing the measures taken to ensure a safe working environment in our factory, allowing production to continue during COVID-19.
(This is part four of a five-part series, you can read the previous posts here, here and here)
How did coronavirus impact the factory at DW Windsor?
DW Windsor’s COVID Action Group did an amazing job in assessing the potential risks coronavirus posed to staff in our fabrication and assembly areas. As a manufacturing facility with orders to fulfil, reducing the impact of the virus on the business was important, but the health and safety of our workers always comes first.
Implementing social distancing measures and improving hygiene practices were key steps to getting the team back online. Fortunately, this was identified very early on and we were able to implement new procedures quickly which resulted in no downtime for the factory.
Chris Guacci, Assembly Manager
Chris has worked for DW Windsor for more than 20 years. He has spent the last four years as Assembly Manager, overseeing all aspects of the manufacturing process. Chris and his team define procedures and have overall responsibility for cost efficiency, quality and safety.
As a British manufacturing facility with orders to fulfil, reducing the impact coronavirus could have on our business was important, but the health and safety of our workers always comes first.
What measures were put in place to protect factory staff and visitors?
To safeguard our employees, we adapted our work patterns, splitting the workforce between two shifts, with a half-hour period between to allow staff to leave and arrive with no cross over. Staff were also assigned to fixed workstations and we added additional outdoor seating to support social distancing during breaks.
To minimise virus transmission between employees, cleaning stations were introduced, with all workers required to sanitise their hands before starting their shift. Equipment and surfaces were wiped down regularly, and where appropriate, staff were issued with their own tools.
As a factory, we have to manage daily deliveries and collections. To diminish cross-contamination of the site and risk to our staff, these were reduced down to essentials only and drivers were not allowed inside our buildings. Instead, we created facilities for them to use away from the main factory areas.
What impact will the pandemic have on future manufacturing at DW Windsor?
At DW Windsor, we’re proud members of the Made In Britain organisation, which means not only are our products designed and manufactured in the UK, but at least 80% of our value chain is also within Great Britain.
Over the past few months, we’ve invested in additional stock to support future projects and reduce lead times. We believe this puts us in a strong position to manage any future impact from coronavirus, allowing us to continue delivering products to our customers, both here and abroad.
The pandemic has also allowed us to examine some of our internal assembly procedures which will have a positive impact on future production, including the automation of certain repetitive tasks.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learnt?
I’m very proud of our company's response to COVID-19 and in particular, how well the manufacturing team has adjusted to the changes despite the challenges faced. It shows just how quickly we can adapt when needed. Outside of work, lockdown has reminded me to enjoy the simple things in life, no matter how big or small.