In parallel with the extensive precautionary measures taken by Abu Dhabi Waste Management Center (Tadweer) to prevent the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Abu Dhabi, Tadweer has adopted a well-coordinated plan to ensure the safety of all workers, whose health and wellbeing is a top priority for the Center.
The Environment, Health and Safety Department at Tadweer has put in place effective programs to closely monitor the health and safety of the Center’s approximately 9,000 workers and contractors as the nature of their work requires around the clock response to ensure the cleanliness of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The team is carrying out a thorough washing and disinfection drive across all public and vital facilities as well as managing both general and medical waste related to Novel Coronavirus treatment from the emirate’s hospitals and healthcare centers.
Protection of workforce and continued guidance for staff
Given the significant role of its workers in protecting the environment of Abu Dhabi, Tadweer’s Environment, Health and Safety Department has taken a host of precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of its specialized team of engineers, technicians, supervisors, inspectors and workers tasked to carry out daily disinfection, cleaning, waste collection and pest control operations. It has issued 5 circulars containing official instructions and guidelines for all workers in the waste management sector, detailing preventive instructions, precautionary measures and guidelines that must be followed to ensure their health and safety.
Comprehensive measures to keep team healthy
The environment, health and safety department at Tadweer developed an action plan that allowed workers to learn about relevant precautionary measures and carry out cleaning and disinfection work at their workplaces and accommodations. Furthermore, workers were provided with valuable information on monitoring their health condition, using personal protection equipment, ensuring social distancing, and quarantine and isolation procedures. The plan was implemented with the active participation of all safety managers and 50 safety officers working on various Tadweer projects.
Awareness most effective tool to prevent COVID-19 outbreak
The close collaboration between the environment, health and safety department and awareness and communication department helped Tadweer to elevate awareness and prevent the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus among Tadweer workers. Tadweer also distributed health bulletins approved by the competent authorities, which helped create awareness among all employees in different languages.
Preventive measures also included daily cleaning of surfaces, floors, work sites, vehicles, equipment and waste bins using disinfectants safe for both humans and environment and approved by relevant local and international authorities. These products were used as a part of the ongoing national disinfection drive throughout the emirate.
Monitoring workers’ health condition
As part of the stringent policy adopted by the health and safety team at Tadweer, it stepped up daily monitoring of workers' health conditions through installing thermal cameras at the entrances of offices and high-density areas. In addition, it used hand-held devices to monitor workers temperature and other symptoms related to respiratory diseases. Effective measures were put in place to ensure the immediate isolation of cases that suffer from any symptoms and necessary tests were conducted to ensure that cases are timely contained. Such proactive measures helped prevent the spread of the disease among Tadweer workers.
Tadweer’s Environment, Health and Safety Department has adhered to the highest international standards and specifications for personal protection equipment and such information has been shared with all environmental services providers in the waste management sector. This ensured those handling waste related to Coronavirus disease use appropriate personal protection equipment such as gloves, masks and sanitizers .
To adhere to the government’s directives on social distancing, various departments at Tadweer have taken several measures including the adoption of remote working for Tadweer’s in-house staff and service providers according to the nature of their work. Furthermore, it reduced the number of workers using transportation by 50%, as well as the number of workers in accommodations provided by Tadweer and its contractors.
Successful planning minimizes risks
Engineer Hani Hosni, Director of Environment, Health and Safety Department at Tadweer said: “The coordinated and comprehensive plan adopted by Tadweer to prevent the spread of Novel Coronavirus has achieved positive results in protecting workers and society from risks associated with medical waste at a time when the use of preventive equipment and supplies increased as part of various precautionary measures taken by the Center.”
Hosni revealed that there were no Novel Coronavirus cases reported among Tadweer employees thanks to the Center’s efforts to strictly follow the directives and procedures taken by relevant authorities. He also applauded the role of experts and specialists across Tadweer’s different departments and divisions in preventing any cases, and successfully implementing the prevention plan to protect society, preserve the environment and keep the emirate healthy and safe.
Hosni added: “Tadweer formed a committee to coordinate efforts between senior management and all departments working on the ground, and to identify any challenges and difficulties experienced by various teams. The committee seeks to find prompt solutions and ensures efficient workflow in line with the action plan put in place since the beginning of the novel Coronavirus crisis. In addition, the Center's staff has been trained to work on alternative plans during emergencies, and maintain normal functioning of the Center despite the current circumstances.”
Hosni also assured the Abu Dhabi community of Tadweer’s continued commitment to appropriately handling all the medical waste related to Coronavirus treatment, noting that Tadweer’s specialized teams operate according to the latest treatment methods and the best international practices to prevent any risks posed by their operations. All hospitals, drive through testing centers and quarantine and isolation facilities across the Emirate are staffed with highly trained and qualified field teams who use all necessary personal protection equipment to ensure the safety of the emirate’s community in the fight against Novel Coronavirus.