Responding to the coronavirus pandemic is very clearly a global challenge and for an international organization like Element, it reaches into all corners of our world. Our teams have been demonstrating a huge amount of resilience in the way in which they are responding to a situation that is constantly evolving and bringing uncertainty to the way in which we must now live and work.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. In a small number of cases, we have had to temporarily close a laboratory, however in the past few weeks we have been able to reopen a number of them and support customers again.Our colleagues have rapidly adapted to new circumstances and ways of supporting each other and our customers in these challenging times. You can watch a short film here that was created by Element colleagues and shows how they have been responding across the globe.

Supporting national efforts

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

Health Sciences colleagues continue to work 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.

Supporting local communities

In a number of locations across our global network, colleagues – often supported by family members – are producing 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.

In the UK, a FIRA service technician has cut 2000m of material to help make scrubs for the NHS. FIRA International has also been supporting the new NHS Nightingale hospitals by providing free flammability testing for client Rivertex who is supplying 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.