Customisation in times of crisis
Ballast Nedam's COVID-19 crisis team can switch quickly because it has built up a large communication network. In addition, the team has translated the measures taken by the government into a model that can be applied to all construction sites. In the meantime, we work in permanent teams, the number of external visitors is limited and the importance of keeping your distance and washing hands is frequently repeated. Yet a gray area remains inevitable, Martijn Smitt explains: "There are always activities where you think: how are we going to solve this with these new rules? That is why we have written a protocol for twenty common activities, which systematically indicates how the corona measures can be applied. We apply customization to all activities that remain and form a gray area."
IXAS follows the corona policy of the "mothers", including Ballast Nedam, but has also started additional measures. Wilfried Lips: "With the work we carry out, there is no excuse for not complying with the rules." He has emphasized a number of measures on this project from the policy of Ballast Nedam and RIVM. "For example, we speak to each other if colleagues do not keep a distance of five feet. Corridors have been made in the corridors of the construction chain so that people wait when they encounter oncoming traffic and finally, mouth masks are worn when two or more people are in one car."
The work on the A9 Gaasperdammerweg is part of the Schiphol-Amsterdam-Almere (SAA) road expansion. Just after the announcement of the extra measures, an auxiliary bridge - which lay across the construction site - was removed to make way for a large ovond on the roof of the Gaasperdammertunnel. A big milestone. Wilfried Lips: "Let's say it is difficult. But it does not ruin the atmosphere, because everyone knows that we all have an interest in complying with the measures. It contributes to the 'we' feeling: we have to get it together, in a safe way. I absolutely experience that feeling here."
At the start of the corona crisis, Ballast Nedam was one of the first in the construction sector to be geared towards working safely within the new frameworks. Our COVID-19 crisis team has now been set up in such a way that it can quickly have positively tested colleagues quarantined and carry out the source and contact investigation themselves. This method allows our crisis team to intervene quickly and prevent an outbreak.
Martijn Smitt explains: “Until now, contamination on our construction sites has been limited and we have always been able to take quick measures. It has usually always been someone who has contracted an infection in his private time." Until May 1, 2021, all colleagues will work from home as much as possible and visits to the construction sites will be limited. Only the people who have vital functions and who are important for managing and carrying out the work on the projects are at the work locations.
Wilfried Lips also experiences the urgency of the tightened measures: "I have indicated to all construction site employees at IXAS that it is about our safety, our health. In addition, work can be stopped for fourteen days if we do not comply with the measures and if contamination occurs at the location. And that's exactly what we don't want."