It has almost been one year, since COVID-19 hit the island of Ireland. On the 26th of February 2020, the country knew that things were not looking positive, when the significant 6 nations rugby match between Ireland and Italy was called off due to COVID-19. By this time, Ireland watched on in shock as the Coronavirus spread at a rapid rate through Italy with the country being forced to enter a national lockdown. As news circulated, the Irish public were warned that it was likely that there could be a confirmed case in Ireland soon. Fears became a reality on February 27th, when the first positive coronavirus case was confirmed in Northern Ireland. The whole situation soon began to deteriorate.
In late March 2020, Jamestown Manufacturing Ltd, along with the rest of Ireland were advised by the Irish Government, “to stay at home, with only specific listed exemptions”. After the announcement, Jamestown implemented a full company lockdown with a complete site wide shut down. All production ceased and all staff remained at home.
Manufacturing is an integral part of Ireland’s economy and luckily a lot of work that needed to be completed at Jamestown Manufacturing was deemed ‘essential’ and so employees began to slowly return to work at staggered dates. In order, for the workplace to remain safe and production to run smoothly, new measures had to be put in place making life at work different for everyone on their return to Jamestown.
Training and becoming COVID-19 compliant:
Training and becoming COVID-19 compliant and knowledgeable, was top of the list on the return to work to ensure smooth sailing. Two employees at Jamestown, are now trained COVID-19 Compliance officers, having completed their training online with Nationwide Safety Training. Competing this training was an essential part of ensuring that the right measures are constantly in place and all of the employees understand the procedures when coming to work during the pandemic.
On their return to Jamestown, each employee was given an individual toolbox talk around COVID-19 which involved learning about how the virus spreads, how to prevent the spread, what they should do if they feel unwell prior to reporting for work or feeling ill in work and the importance of keeping the two – metre distance from other employees.
New measures put in place in Jamestown to ensure smooth sailing
As a way of stopping the spread of COVID-19 and ensuring all employees felt safe in the workplace, a series of changes were implemented and new guidelines introduced throughout the workplace.
• Signs were put up around the site advising employees, visitors and contractors to adhere to the 2 metre social distancing rule advised by the HSE.
• Snoods and Facemasks were issued to all employees on their return to work and they were advised to wear them at all times.
• Sanitisation points were set up at various locations around the site, such as entrances to the buildings, clock in machines and at reception.
• The canteen layout was altered. Chairs were removed from the canteen and one chair was left at each table, with a sticker on each table advising employees that only one person per table is permitted.
• Face to face meetings were cancelled and instead employees were advised to schedule meetings online via Microsoft teams.
• The use of the finger-print ID clock in machine was ceased and clock in cards that punch the time of start/finish were implemented instead.
• Employees temperatures are checked regularly during the working week.
• Employees are advised to stay at home and seek medical advice if they feel unwell.
• Those with underlying health conditions, that puts them at a higher risk continue to work from home.
Remaining COVID-19 free
Thankfully, Jamestown Manufacturing has remained COVID free and essential work has continued. Working under the Government’s current COVID-19 Level 5 Restrictions, Jamestown is once again challenged to maintain a safe working environment whilst we carry out essential work permitted by the Government’s Guidelines including works for Dublin Airport, the Agricultural Sector and complex Crane Structures for Sea Shipment. Mark Lawlor, Environmental Health and Safety Advisor at Jamestown said;
“COVID-19, has rocked the country and the entire world. It has changed the way we live and the way we work. The number of cases and the number of deaths in the country and around the globe continue to grow. I know it has not been easy for anyone, but we would like to thank and give appreciation to all of our employees for their continued efforts during these difficult times. Together we will get through this”.
Jamestown’s Weathering Steel Solves a Watery Problem
Situated in a prestigious site in London’s Docklands, the new Heron Quays Pavilion building at Middle Dock posed special challenges for the developers Canary Wharf Contractors and architects, Jun Aoki Associates.
Ireland’s only oil refinery is located at Whitegate in County Cork. The refinery was built on Corkbeg Island, on one side of the bay, and it processes low-sulphur crude oil, which is delivered to its docks in tankers from the North Sea and West Africa. Once refined, the gasoline, diesel and kerosene are distributed across Ireland and Europe.
When J. Murphy & Sons Ltd. won the Network Rail contract for replacing the single span underbridge at Brindle Chapel with a stronger structure, they looked for the best in steel beams, and so turned to Jamestown.
It was a challenging task. The bridge carries the Blackpool to Preston line over a public road, and the work needed to be completed in fifty-two hours, which included the removal of the existing superstructure and its replacement with steel billet decks on reinforced concrete cill beams.
When it comes to upgrading rail services, particularly for electrification and the modernisation of old railway tracks, those entrusted with this work look for the best in materials.
This is why the upgrading of two major road bridges in Cossington and Loughborough in Leicestershire required the very best steel available, and the contractors turned to Jamestown to provide the steel beams for this project. Syston Road in Cossington required forty-two-tonne beams, and Station Road in Loughborough, fifty-five.
Conor is the son of Gabriel O’Brien who in 1981 founded the crane hire company that bears his name.
Conor attended St.Peter’s School in Dunboyne, after which, following his father’s passion for the construction industry, he studied at Dundalk Institute of Technology, where he attained a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. He completed his studies at Liverpool John Moores University, with a further Civil Engineering qualification.