While the UK is currently under lockdown in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, you might have noticed that our teams are still hard at work.
Quite understandably, we’ve faced some criticism for this on social media, but our team of civil engineers at Minster Group are classed as key workers as they do play an essential role in helping to keep the country running.
We’re certainly not saying we’re as important as those working in the NHS who are putting their lives at risk to save thousands, but we do play a role in keeping our road and freight transport system working and we also support the Ministry of Defence.
This means that, like delivery drivers, supermarket staff, journalists, lawyers and religious staff, we need to keep on working and doing our best despite the challenging circumstances.
Maintaining the roads
One of the most noticeable roles we’re carrying out is in maintaining the roads in several areas of the UK.
While tasks like pothole repair might not seem like a priority at a time when lives are at stake, faults in the road can be dangerous.
Potholes, for instance, can damage vehicles and cause accidents so it’s important that we continue to maintain the roads so that other key workers – particularly our emergency services – can continue to operate safely.
Supporting freight infrastructure
At Minster Group, we’re regularly contracted by British ports to maintain access roads, car parks, laybys and service areas.
Ports play a crucial role in freight and logistics, helping to keep key sectors, services and industries supplied with goods from overseas, as well as households and businesses.
With freight shipments being in high demand right now and with many being vital for public services, we’re proud to be playing our role in helping ports to stay open, operating and serving the country.
Ministry of Defence
It’s a sad fact that although people around the world are making sacrifices for the greater good in combating the spread of coronavirus, there are still individuals and organisations which seek to do us harm.
It’s therefore crucial that the Ministry of Defence is able to continue to operate despite the lockdown so we need to meet our responsibilities to the brave men and women who serve our country.
Minster Group works at RAF and British Army sites across the country. One of the roles we specialise in is carrying out works on airfields and runways for the RAF and this can range from full resurfacing works and upgrades to landing lights to routine maintenance. We also operate a 24/7 runway patch repair service at RAF Brize Norton.
Protecting our people
As our teams are working during the lockdown, we’re making sure that we’re doing everything we can to keep them space and prevent coronavirus from being spread to others.
This is why we’ve made several changes to the way we work, making sure that our team members are always at least two metres away from each other and from any clients or members of the public they encounter. This includes when we’re traveling to and from sites, with all workers travelling in separate vehicles or sitting a suitable distance apart.
You may have heard about our sustainable approach to civil engineering and our ability to recycle road material, reduce waste and reduce our reliance on oil extraction and quarrying. But one unexpected advantage of these systems is that the machinery we use to produce our recycled material can be operated by just one person.
This means our team members can work as they would do in normal circumstances while still maintaining more than two metres of space between each other, which wouldn’t be the case for companies using more traditional materials and techniques.
While thorough hand washing is the simplest and most effective way to prevent the spread of germs and viruses, it’s not always possible for our workers to wash their hands on site. Fortunately, our workers always wear gloves as part of their PPE and we’ve provided them with liberal quantities of hand sanitiser which they’re encouraged to use regularly.
We’re always vigilant against coronavirus and we all look out for the typical symptoms of a cough and high temperature/fever in ourselves and each other and we’re encouraging (and even making) team members go home and self-isolate as is required.
We’re all in this together
The coronavirus pandemic is transforming our whole society and it’s causing terrible anguish for many families.
While many people are adapting to a lifestyle of working remotely, there aren’t many in our organisation who are able to do this.
For key workers like us who have to work on-site, it can be difficult, it can be daunting and it can be nerve-wracking. We’re all worried about catching coronavirus and passing it on to others – particularly our own families and loved ones.
I can assure you that we are doing everything we can to prevent the spread of the disease while still carrying out our essential work, but we know that there is still a risk.
We aren’t the healthcare workers in the NHS who – frankly- are heroes, but we are doing our bit.
I couldn’t be more proud of each and every one of our team members and I’d like to thank them for the incredible job they’re doing during this exceptionally difficult time.
We can get through this and we will recover!