As entities and companies gear up to return to working from their offices in line with current directives, precautions and preventative measures become all the more important for ensuring the health and safety of staff in all sectors.
While remote work and stay-at-home procedures were implemented at a rate of 100% in various entities, workers and field employees at operational facilities continued to work around the clock, from their workplaces around the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, to ensure uninterrupted supplies at all times, which, in turn, helped ensure business continuity for vital sectors that serve citizens and residents in the emirate.
The Department fulfils a pioneering role in leading the energy sector in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and working to ensure secure, uninterrupted supplies at all times and under any circumstances, including crises and emergencies.
The energy sector demonstrated tremendous competence and efficiency during the COVID-19 outbreak, maintaining an uninterrupted supply of water and electricity to residential and commercial establishments in the emirate. This, in turn, reflects the DoE’s commitment to ensuring business continuity at water and electricity facilities, and prioritising workers’ safety.
Eng. Abdul Rahman Alalawi, HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) Director at the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy, asserted that the DoE is collaborating with all operating companies and licensed businesses in the sector to come up with optimal solutions and processes to meet health, safety, and environmental standards and comply with the DoE’s objectives to ensure uninterrupted supplies of electricity and water, and make sure the sector is prepared for any developments.
“The Abu Dhabi Department of Energy has been working since the onset of the current crisis to strengthen security and safety procedures and controls for all energy sector workers. Their dedication and hard work are the backbone of this industry,” Alalawi noted. “In collaboration with licensed entities in the emirate, energy sector companies performed nearly 10,281 precautionary medical check-ups to detect any COVID-19 cases among workers. The objective has always been to limit the spread of the virus and ensure workers’ safety, as well as business continuity. Furthermore, 371 sanitisation points were set up across various facilities.”
“As further precautions, companies in the energy sector distributed 538,027 protective equipment to more than 16,000 workers in key energy and water facilities to prevent against COVID-19,” he added. “Moreover, the DoE instructed companies to establish isolation rooms for staff who show symptoms or have been in contact with infected individuals, before transferring them to the competent authorities.”
Alalawi explained that the Department of Energy sought to boost its precautionary measures, issuing directives to all licensed entities to distribute protective gloves and masks in the workplace to prevent the spread of the virus.
The DoE is also working to raise awareness among employees and workers in an effort to ensure their safety from outbreaks, he explained, citing the 11 awareness campaigns that were conducted in March and April 2020 for workers in energy facilities. The objective from the campaigns was to encourage workers to comply with health and safety standards. Additionally, ongoing meetings were held remotely to follow up on operations, make sure companies are meeting their requirements, and support them to overcome the challenges facing the sector.
The Abu Dhabi Department of Energy has taken many precautions since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis to enhance safety, security, and environmental procedures in the energy sector, which eventually boosted the sector’s readiness to deal with crises and emergencies. Moreover, all meetings and events were cancelled and replaced by remote videoconferences.
“The Department of Energy has published a manual about preventative measures for the COVID-19 pandemic for all licensed entities in the Abu Dhabi energy sector, in an effort to better prepare them to face the novel Coronavirus outbreak, implement the procedures and controls stipulated by the Abu Dhabi Government, and adhere to international best practices,” Eng. Alalawi commented. “As part of its contribution to protecting the community, the DoE directed distribution companies to upgrade all their online services and allow customers to complete all of their transactions remotely instead of physically going to service centres.”
Incident Reporting System
The Abu Dhabi Department of Energy strives to efficiency implement health and safety standards in the energy sector around the emirate, in addition to monitoring compliance with these guidelines. Reports are classified into three main categories: operational incidents, health and safety incidents, and environmental incidents.