As major groundworks contractors, how are we coping with Coronavirus?

Tree groundworks contractors, Gristwood & Toms, along with most who work in the arboriculture industry, have been able to carry out their business throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. This has enabled them to meet client demands, fulfil ongoing groundworks contracts and provide a 24 hour emergency service to all customers. But it hasn’t quite been ‘business as normal’. Not entirely. The company has put in place a number of new working systems and restrictions to ensure the wellbeing of all staff and anyone who may have cause to be in or around the working vicinity.

Of course the company is complying fully with all government directives, but as Mark Lovejoy, head of the company’s arboricultural groundworks division, states: “From the outset we wanted to provide an environment that was not only safe for our workers, but also one where they felt safe.” Mark continues “Admin and office staff now work on a rota system, which means there are fewer people in the building at any given time. We have created a one-way system in the office so staff enter through the front of the building and leave via the back so people never pass on corridors or stairwells. In addition to these common sense moves, the larger, lesser-used areas of the building have been taped off to ensure there are no communal gathering spaces.”

As far as the tree workers are concerned, the company’s showering facilities are currently out of use and additional vehicles are available to avoid truck and van sharing to and from sites of work. A staggered start system is also in place to ensure that workers don’t all arrive at the yard at the same time and staff are regularly reminded about being sensible and avoiding risks at all times, in or out of work. “Of course, we will continue to follow government guidelines.” says Mark. “Some of these enforced changes are not popular. Our teams are a social lot and would much prefer to work and socialise together like they did before, but for now we all recognise our responsibilities and I’m proud of the way the staff at Gristwood & Toms have stepped up to the mark.”