Although restrictions are starting to ease, responding to the coronavirus pandemic clearly remains a global challenge, and our teams continue to demonstrate a huge amount of resilience in the way in which they are adapting to a situation that is constantly evolving and bringing new complexities to the way in which we live and work.

The variations in government, state and regional measures in the geographies where Element operates remain complex, but our response is, as always, driven by ensuring our people can work safely and return to their families. We remain focused on the actions we need to take to keep our people and our laboratories safe, and where we can, we are remaining open – especially where we carry out work supporting critical industries. In all cases, we have implemented appropriate distancing and hygiene measures, ensuring our teams can work safely at all times, and where work can be performed from home, our colleagues are doing so.

Customers are being regularly updated on our services to limit any potential disruption to their supply chain, and we are continuing to comply with any extra measures they request. The vast majority of our locations have remained open throughout the crisis, and soon every Element location will be open for business again – a good milestone in our journey through the pandemic.

Our colleagues have rapidly adapted to new circumstances and ways of supporting each other and our customers in these challenging times. You can watch two short films created by Element colleagues showing how they have been responding across the globe here, and their inspiring community and charity efforts since the crisis began here.

Supporting national efforts

Our laboratories continue to contribute directly to the fight against coronavirus, and in the UK and the US, we continue to provide our expertise, free of charge, to test rapidly-manufactured ventilators to ensure that they are safe for use in hospitals. Read about our work in the UK, and in the US.

Health Sciences colleagues worked on the testing of components of potential vaccines; drugs to combat side effects in patients who have been ventilated; and feasibility work on hydrogen peroxide sterilized face masks so they can be re-used and not thrown away.

Working with customers

We have further developed our ability to offer remote witnessing of tests, given the current lockdown restrictions restricting site visits. In conjunction with our IT and digitalisation teams, our Energy sector has rapidly developed capability for customers to conduct remote witnessing which you can read about here. Our global Warringtonfire laboratories are also able to offer remote witnessing of sample preparation, installation and live tests – you can watch our film to learn more here.

In the UK, our occupational hygiene experts have developed an independent assurance scheme to give reassurance to our customers’ stakeholders that their pandemic measures can be verified – watch our video about CV19 Secure here.

After a customer’s own facilities were on lockdown, colleagues in Cincinnati, US ensured we could host and run a lung simulation testing program on the client’s equipment by transferring it into our laboratory.

Supporting local communities

Our people have really been living our values throughout the pandemic. In a number of locations across our global network, colleagues – often supported by family members – have produced facemasks and face shields, using their own 3D printers and sewing materials, for use in local hospitals and for distribution to colleagues at other Element locations. They have also been donating to foodbanks and delivering essential groceries and medicines to vulnerable people in their local communities.

In the UK, a FIRA service technician cut 2000m of material to help make scrubs for the NHS. FIRA International also supported the NHS Nightingale hospitals by providing free flammability testing for client Rivertex who supply material for medical mattresses. Read about it here.

In Singapore with all workers from overseas in total lockdown, the HR team at our Admaterials laboratory quickly arranged and delivered regular daily meals, masks and care packages for the 30+ affected team members, as well as making sure these colleagues could keep in regular contact with their families back at home. Its general manager has also been active in his local community, supporting mask distribution to residents.

A US-based colleague who contracted the virus, and thankfully made a full recovery and returned to work, selflessly made a plasma donation, which will provide some of the antibodies needed for other patients fighting the virus in local hospitals.

Element remains committed to supporting all our stakeholders and we will continue to provide regular updates on the impact of coronavirus and our evolving response to the pandemic.