Following the government lockdown announcement, the marina’s engineering operation was split into two teams working on a rota basis to protect staff and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. This, along with strict social distancing rules, worked well but after a week it became apparent that the supply chain issues meant the engineers could not continue to operate. Working with an already reduced team due to some staff having to self-isolate, the decision was made to furlough the remaining engineering team.
Staff who are placed onto the government’s furlough scheme have to be furloughed for a minimum of three weeks and the company planned to use this time to take stock and risk assess the operation in order to get staff back to work as soon as safely possible.
“Which is what we are now doing,” says Marina and Operations Director, Phil Langley.
“We looked at our engineering schedule to assess the workload and what was deliverable, we also then took into account employees’ personal situations and risk assessed who were higher and lower risk. The main reason we have chosen three team members to return at this time is because this number allows us to safely monitor and implement safe systems of work on a manageable scale.
“Now strict social distancing rules have been put in place and the engineers will be working alone. We have also closed all shared areas such as the engineers welfare building (brew room). And staff are to bring their own food and drinks which is to be consumed in isolation.
“We have new specific COVID-19 related risk assessments which has helped to reduce the risk for staff. All the engineers have their own sets of PPE which, as per normal rules, isn’t to be shared, and they have all been given hand sanitiser to use and carry around with them. Staff have been asked to wash their hands more regularly and government hand washing advice posters have been put up in the toilets. Disinfectant spray is also supplied for cleaning door handles etc. across the site and staff are encouraged to use this.
“We are extremely fortunate to have a fantastic team at the marina and all the staff have been very understanding during these times. The engineers are indeed pleased to be back at work and back to some form of normality during these uncertain times. As a leisure business we have qualified for a full rates relief, Cheshire East were very quick to implement our application. The furlough scheme was easy to apply for and paid out promptly, the bank was responsive to our request to put the loan repayments to interest only for three months.”