It is hard to believe that life as we knew it changed so dramatically a year ago. Or that the pandemic is continuing well into 2021, as we all have become experts on sanitizing our spaces at work and home, washing our hands, wearing our face masks, and, yes, social distancing.
At MTC our dedication to serving our clients while preventing the spread of COVID-19 will stand firm for as long as necessary to defeat this virus that is invading our lives and our everyday welfare.
The safety and well-being of our team, stakeholders, and the public have always been and will continue to be the paramount priority through the COVID-19 pandemic. We use a combination of engineering and administrative controls to prevent the spread of the SAR-CoV-2 virus.
Our staff members minimize face-to-face interactions but maintain business continuity by working remotely and communicating, coordinating, and reviewing information through various online applications.
We minimize exposure by daily screening of all staff and visitors to our offices for COVID-19 related symptoms and contacts. While many of our employees are working from home to avoid unnecessary exposure, those who are manning our offices adhere to strict cleaning and sanitizing procedures to protect themselves and visitors.
According to Curt Weaver, Construction Materials Testing (CMT) Field Development Manager, the pandemic has changed how we operate internally and externally on most, if not all, project sites.
“As a company, we have made great progress in this area and adapted well,” Weaver notes. “As for the work and project sites, we are wearing masks as directed and all other PPE has been provided to stay safe with the addition of face shields and cleaning products as needed.”
Employees are not allowed to work with cold or flu-like symptoms. As for those who are ill, they are pulled from the schedule until they are symptom-free for a minimum of 24 hours. All employees fill out a daily COVID-19 form, answering a standard set of questions. Those who have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 follow proper protocols as well.
“Technicians no longer come to the shop to hang out in-between jobs or to work on shop items together,” Weaver continues. “These items are now scheduled to minimize cross-contamination inside the shop areas. Each department has done a better job of communicating and we have had many technicians in CMT float to other departments to allow MTC to keep its commitments to its clients and continue to find a way to cover the work.”
Weaver notes our company is very fortunate to be as busy as we were last season and that it is undoubtedly a testament to how everyone has adjusted to pandemic-related changes, from top management down.
“COVID has played a role like none other this past season and we have seen how crazy things could have gotten had we not taken the proper protocols and followed the guidelines as directed,” explained Weaver. “I think our team approach was the biggest thing that helped as a whole. With Jessica VanTimmeren in Human Resources at the forefront of our policy changes and clearing up the tough questions on benefits, we were able to work through it.”
A few years ago the CMT Department moved to a mobile reporting platform, allowing technicians to literally create reports while on a project site. Weaver also credits MTC’s addition of chat in Microsoft Teams with all employees being able to communicate with each other instantaneously.
“There are a few things we did a year ago that set us up for success in handling COVID-19,” agrees VanTimmeren, Human Resources Supervisor. “Early on all managers met every day at 7:45 a.m. to discuss department trends and staffing. The use of Microsoft Teams was, and still is, critical for us to keep up communication between staff members.”
These changes have been highly beneficial to ensure project needs are fully met and addressed during the pandemic.
“We have maintained a strict COVID policy, and I believe this is a major reason why we have had so few cases within MTC and our sister company, MATECO Drilling,” stated VanTimmeren. “The few positive cases we have had were caught outside of the workplace and we have had ZERO internal transmissions in the 12 months that we have been dealing with COVID-19. I think this is incredible and a huge credit needs to be given to everyone at MTC and MATECO for their commitment to keeping our workplace safe and healthy.”
Allan Howland, Safety Officer for MTC, concludes, “A small effort of wearing masks, social distancing and minimizing contact time consistently applied continually by each team member on the job and off the job keeps COVID-19 from diminishing our business continuity.”