Frontline engineers provide personal accounts

As a temporary power and temperature supplier to around 100 critical COVID-19 projects UK-wide, Aggreko says it has recently adapted its business to enable 50 per cent of its staff to deliver equipment ‘to remarkably tight deadlines’ on the ‘frontline’. Among the facilities the business is supplying are a number of temporary hospitals and mortuaries. Measures it has implemented ‘to help during such unprecedented times’ include offering 1,300 of its generators free of charge to COVID-19 testing sites, prioritising its fleet for critical sectors, and ‘putting its people first’. It said: “The dedication and camaraderie displayed by the engineers is ensuring we can to go above and beyond at this challenging time.”

Field delivery engineer, Neil Fitzpatrick, has been installing a series of generators at a temporary hospital. His team was asked to deliver 8 MW of power via eight generators ‘within a matter of a few days,’  a task it would usually allow two weeks for. He said: What’s remarkable is the sense of calm on these sites – everyone is there to get the job done. It’s definitely presenting a new set of challenges, as working in tight spaces to get cables connected could certainly compromise social distancing rules, but everyone’s professionalism has ensured this doesn’t happen.”

Aggreko says technology is playing a major role in its ability to support such projects; in recent years it has invested ‘millions of pounds’ into new systems, which are now ‘coming to the fore’ – including remote monitoring, so that remote teams can track equipment performance and reduce engineers site visits. While it would usually charge for this service, it is currently not doing so, ‘to prioritise equipment uptime and employee welfare’ across all 100 critical projects. 

Malcolm Shearer, a Service Centre manager, manages a team of four engineers ,recently called upon to deliver eight 500kVA generators across two temporary mortuaries. During the quotation period, two of the engineers were required to self-isolate, presenting an immediate team challenge. Malcolm explains: “We’re fortunate to have a business full of people who put their personal lives on hold for our critical work. As soon they heard two of my team were self-isolating, a number of colleagues stepped forward before even being asked. Here we needed to carry out two similar jobs with the same crew, and the same completion deadline. Everyone rallying together, making critical decisions on the spot, and pulling delivery slots into the weekend, saw the work completed ahead of deadline.”

Chris Rason, Aggreko’s MD, is particularly keen to recognising each individual ‘working on the frontline’. He added: “Our people are our priority. From providing face masks for peace of mind, and ensuring that we have mental health first-aiders readily available, to ensuring their job security – by putting them first – we are creating a culture that aims to go above and beyond their day job. I thank each and every one of them.”