Performing temperature checks on people entering sites
Stuart Cariss is AGL’s Renewables Operations Manager, and a member of the GOPWG. He explains some of the changes, measures, and contingencies that have had to be brought rapidly online to deal with the risk of an outbreak of an infection at site.
‘Keeping up with the changing external environment has been a challenge,’ Stuart said.
‘We have established a daily rhythm of dedicated meetings and communications for the quick sharing of information and for escalation of any issues, but this is particularly challenging without as much face-to-face contact and the nature of our geographically diverse teams.
‘The last few weeks have been fairly hectic but establishing this daily rhythm has assisted us to setup and plan for a safe and successful day the following day in dealing with what is a rapidly changing environment.’
Entirely new ways of working had to be developed, Stuart said. In particular, teams and rosters have been segregated from one another as a way to stop a potential spread – which means no more face-to-face handovers.
‘Implementing workforce segregation plans and the new health screening processes has been one of the other challenges the team has faced, but the effective separation of our critical working groups has been well received and understood to be integral in continuing to provide our essential services and keeping the lights on,’ he said.
‘Additionally, we triggered our Renewables Dispatch Centre BCP early in preparation for a Melbourne office closure and the Renewable Dispatch Operations was split in two teams working from two separate geographical locations within Victoria.’
Power dispatch is handled centrally from a control room in AGL’s Melbourne Bourke St office.
‘One of the best things I have seen to come out of these unprecedented times is literally seeing AGL’s values in action,’ Stuart said.
‘The offers for help have been many. We have seen many individuals go out of their way to take on extra work and support teams outside of their normal operating areas.
‘The response to segregation and continuity plans has also been one of a supportive ‘can-do’ approach - some employees are even living away from the community in which they live to support our continuity plans.
‘The continual review of our controls and their effectiveness is also front and centre with many feeling safe to speak up to challenge, tweak and improve initial control measures.’
Getting in depth
COVID-19 has affected almost every aspect of work on our sites as we try to isolate them from the virus. For example, extensive freight restrictions have been brought in at AGL Loy Yang to ensure that inbound freight has been completely sanitised and/or quarantined.
Freight entry is completely restricted for all personnel – internal and external. For vehicles, only one is allowed onsite for unloading at a time, and the driver must remain within the vehicle cab at all times while unloading occurs.