Gary Escott is the co-founder of SiteZone Safety, he has worked in the field of mobile plant safety for 15 years and has worked on the introduction of technology based safety products across other sectors. His goal is reducing the risk of collisions between vehicles and vulnerable persons using innovative products and technology.
2020, the year that changed all the rules
As we approach the end of 2020, one might well breathe a long sigh of relief while waving farewell to this very strange and tough year. All over the world our lives changed in ways we had never foreseen because of the global pandemic. We've had to learn how to work and live very differently, accepting isolation from one another, worrying about the survival of our businesses, becoming home-schoolers, mask wearers, remote managers and more. Of course, the greatest worry was whether we or our loved ones would succumb to COVID-19. Health and safety are never such high priorities in our lifetime as now. The pandemic might have separated us physically, but it has brought us together in a much more profound way.
From the business point of view, I think the one word that truly sums up the SiteZone Safety experience of working under these conditions is “resilience”. There's a lot to be said for hitting the ground running when faced with an unavoidable crisis. I feel proud when I reflect on how myself and my team adapted successfully, even though we were wrenched from the familiar office environment and its dynamic. And oddly, knowing that we weren’t the only company going through this, was comforting.
We were able to rise to the challenge of remote working and we even kept the flow of innovation alive and launched a brand new product – albeit inspired by COVID-19. When the chips were down, and our services sought, we were able to deliver and do our part to continue to keep workers safe. It just happened to be a completely different view of safety that we’ve never faced before. Normally, we keep workers safely distanced from machines and vehicles. We never thought that we would have to use technology to create a tool that separated people from each other- a wholly unnatural state of affairs that has become what is commonly known as the ‘new normal’.
Despite this, our clients in essential sectors who had to keep working, still relied on us to keep their teams safe from personnel/vehicle collision risk. While the home fires were burning in construction and waste sectors, SiteZone was right there, sounding and flashing the alert in digger cabs and on hard hats, so no one got struck while doing their jobs.
Scientists predict that we will face another global pandemic of this nature in approximately a decade. I hope that the lessons we have learned this time round will make us better prepared should a similar situation arise again. It has shown me the real importance of maintaining supply chains, professional relationships, using technology, and being thoroughly IT ready. The experience has also revealed how to adapt management skills when separated from one’s team on a long term basis.
When the coronavirus saga began in spring 2020 and we embarked on our first quarantine, I'm sure we all thought this would be only two months of isolation and then we could return to normal. Here we are coming up to Christmas and we are still in the grip of the pandemic as numbers continue to rise. The most important glimmer of hope is the vaccine, which thankfully, is being rolled out.
I think what we will take away from all of this is an appreciation of each other, whether it's family or work colleagues. We have probably developed a new-found respect for everyday technology which has kept us connected not only domestically but internationally. It has helped to feed the continued endurance of many businesses in a compromised economy.
So, I look forward to 2021 where we begin our recovery, whether that is physical, mental or economic - we've taken a battering on all fronts.
I'll see you in the new year and until then, have a happy, safe and healthy Christmas holiday. I'd like to thank my team, partners, clients and collaborators for their support through 2020. Together we'll keep going forward and upward during 2021.
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