Emma has worked as the Somerville Health and Safety Manager since 2017. She brings passion to the role and above all, is highly motivated to making a difference in the workplace - striving to improve and influence positive health and safety culture.
Emma discusses how Somerville reacted to the impending pandemic and explains the measures we undertook and continue to implement, as we adapt to our new way of living and working.
“At the end of 2019, the world as we knew it turned upside down. People and companies were affected by the global pandemic and while it was new territory for everyone, as a company we had to act fast to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff.”
When the UK went into full lockdown in March 2020, Emma was instrumental in making sure the team were kept up to date with government guidelines and ensured everyone was aware of the facts, and more importantly, didn’t get caught up in the media frenzy.
When planning a return-to-work strategy, Emma and the HR team worked together to carry out Covid-19 Risk Assessments for the workshop, office, and all live sites.
“The staff were involved at every step of the way, ensuring all controls against Covid-19 were understood and implemented. Informative literature was distributed and presented to employees via online meetings and toolbox talks.”
“Daily temperature checks were put in place and regular hand sanitation was the new norm. We wanted to ease people back to work gently, so rotas were created for office and canteen facilities, allowing a more socially distanced work environment. Even though people were gradually making their way back to the office, face to face meetings were still scaled back and online meeting were standard practice.”
“For the first time ever, we carried out an ISO audit via teams this year. While this was an unusual practice, we were delighted to pass again. We’ve also launched an online training campaign for our Site Managers to refresh and up-skill in areas of Health & Safety, including Risk Assessment and Working at Height.”
On site and in the workshop, temperature checks, sanitation stations, face coverings and social distancing were all requirements. Sub-contractors were needed to carry out pre-screening checks and fogging on site took place. Emma visited sites to ensure controls were understood and being implemented. We are in now in the process of introducing non-mandatory lateral flow testing to all staff members who wish to be tested at home or in the workplace.
Emma concluded “As we continue to navigate through this pandemic, we have learned a great deal about our health, wellbeing, and the importance of gaining work life balance. I am proud of our staff for their input; and striving to improve their health and wellbeing, especially in these challenging working conditions”
Somerville Shopfitting Ltd are in receipt of Selective Financial Assistance grant for SFA - Capital July 2018 from Invest NI. This project is part funded by European Regional Development fund under the Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020.
The funding enabled us to procure essential machinery to develop our manufacturing output, and continue delivering quality furniture to our clients.