Evoenergy is committed to supporting the community during lockdown. We understand that a safe and reliable electricity supply is essential at all times, and especially during lockdown. We have teams on standby 24/7 to respond to any unplanned outages on the network and we are continuing with essential work to keep the network as safe and reliable as possible. Learn more about the essential work we’re doing during lockdown.
We have a very diverse workforce comprising of line workers, electricians, machinery operators, engineers, technicians, and office-based support staff. Although we’re normally co-located at our depot, during lockdown we’ve divided our staff into geographically separated teams to minimise the risk of exposure and spread of COVID within our business and the community. We have set up temporary depots for each team so they can operate independent of one another, and all our office-based staff that can work from home are working from home.
We are working hard to keep our teams safe and healthy, so they can continue to do their essential work for the ACT community, and there are a number of things we do to stay safe.
At every job, big or small, we take the time to assess safety risks before we start work. Working with electricity and gas can be dangerous and performing a job risk assessment at the start of every job is a key part of ensuring our workers and the community stay safe. When necessary, we deenergise sections of the network to allow work to proceed safely.
Earlier this year we adapted our processes to introduce a new COVID-safe job risk assessment that is completed electronically by all workers for all work we do, including pre-start checks for symptoms, exposure risk, and proof of residency/exemption to work in the ACT. During the assessment, if we determine that for any reason the work can’t be done safely, it will not proceed. Each assessment provides a time and location stamp for all workers on that job to also help with contact tracing if required.
When we’re travelling between sites in our trucks and vehicles, we wipe down all surfaces with disinfectant wipes, including steering wheel, radio, gear stick, park-brake and handles before and after use. Generally, our workers travel in their own work vehicle, but if they’re sharing, we have maximum of two people per vehicle, and ensure we wear masks for the duration of the journey.
As part of our role to support connection of power supply to new developments and customers, we regularly attend construction sites and interact with construction workers. Our workers always follow Evoenergy’s COVID safety procedures as a minimum when performing construction work on the network.
When we work on construction sites, we must sign-on to access the site and follow the COVID safety plan of the principal contractor, because under safety law they are in control of the site.
When we’re out in the community we wear masks, follow social distancing guidelines to stay at least 1.5 metres away from others, we sanitise our equipment and avoid direct public contact as much as possible.
We plan and sequence our work to minimise working across teams and to ensure workers do not come within safe distances, and we allow time separation before entering sites and buildings where different teams have been present. This includes where we have one crew preparing a site and leaving ahead of another crew coming in to carry out another stage of a job.
When we’re working, we install additional barriers to maintain safe distances to other people and we have water and soap facilities fitted to trucks so we easily sanitise hands and equipment before and after work.
If we need to attend to faults and emergencies, such as fallen powerlines from a storm, we may have multiple crews on site to repair and make the network safe. Sometimes there may also be emergencies services agencies on site. We have processes to ensure we do this work in our small teams across different areas and maintain safe distances between staff to avoid contact across our workforce.
If we need to visit a home or business, we will knock on the door and stand back at least two metres and keep interactions to a minimum. If a lengthier conversation is required, we ask customers to call our general enquiries line on 13 23 86.
All Evoenergy office-based staff that can work from home are working from home. We have couriers to transport office equipment to employees so they don’t need to visit the office, and we offer virtual support to ensure our staff are set-up to work ergonomically and effectively at home.
Promoting mental health across our entire business is really important to us, especially during lockdown. We use video conference to conduct business and hold meetings, but we also use it as a way to stay connected and support one another. We recognise that our diverse workforce means that the challenges our staff experience during lockdown are also diverse, and we’re checking in regularly and working flexibly to ensure our mental and physical health, and quality time with our loved ones and families remains a top priority.
We have professional assistance available for staff that are doing it tough, and our partnership with ‘MATES in Energy’ provides direct support to staff to connect individuals to emotional and mental health support and resources when they need it the most.
Although the majority of our office-based staff are working from home, a small number of essential support staff, such as our contact centre workers, network controllers and systems engineers, have been granted an exemption to work in our offices. This is due to the equipment and resources they need to do their job effectively which prevents them from working from home.
Staff working in our offices follow social distancing guidelines and stay at least 1.5 metres from others, with chairs and desks spaced appropriately, and conduct all meetings with other staff across the business via video conference.
Each of our workers attending the office is restricted to a single building or office, and required to regularly wash and sanitise hands, maintain a clean work station and regularly wipe down with disinfectant wipes. We have a cleaning service that attends our sites at scheduled times during the day and week to clean our facilities. We have also installed Check-in CBR QR Codes across all of our offices and zone substations to support contact tracing if an Evoenergy worker becomes a close contact or confirmed COVID case.
We regularly check the list of COVID exposure locations and follow ACT Health directions about getting tested, isolation and quarantine, and for some types of work our staff can work effectively while in home isolation or quarantine.