Interview with Martial PARMENTIER, QHSE France & Benelux manager
For several months now, the health crisis has been shaking the world. Companies are trying to cope and make the right decisions for their employees. This is one of the many missions of a QHSE department.
ATALIAN, like many companies, has had to act quickly. How did the Group’s QHSE department deal with the crisis?
In January, at the beginning of the epidemic on French territory, our role was to inform and raise awareness among our employees and our customers. But very quickly it became clear to us that we had to prepare for an unprecedented situation. We set up a crisis unit, in synergy with the Performance Department and the Human Resources Department: a short and effective decision-making process.
Since February, we have been making inventories of stocks of hydroalcoholic gel and masks and placing orders with the Purchasing Department. And we were right: COVID has grown, government directives have become stricter.
At the beginning of March, we sent all our Operational Departments a communication package presenting ATALIAN’s approach to the COVID issue.
The main difficulty was to react quickly to the government’s various announcements, but ATALIAN once again showed the extent of its agility and adaptability.
In mid-March, priority was given, as always, to the health of our employees. As soon as the confinement was announced, the Group immediately reacted and massively deployed working from home for its employees, maintaining all the Group’s strategic and operational functions. From then on, we had to focus on the future recovery of the business. We prepared Business Recovery Plans (BRPs) adapted to national, regional, and customer sites.
On 2 June, the activity restarted. We updated these BRPs to adapt them to the new government measures. When the wearing of masks became a requirement at the beginning of September, we were pleased to have already made it obligatory in traffic within the Group for several weeks.
The last few months have also been a source of anxiety for our customers. The QHSE department has also responded to their problems?
Indeed, ATALIAN’s QHSE department has a twofold mission: the safety of its employees, of course, but also the response to its customers’ challenges. Many of them were serving the public interest and have not stopped their activities. I’m thinking of hospitals, clinics and nursing homes in particular and supermarkets and sites such as parcel centres. We had to meet their expectations. In our communication package, we answered our customers’ questions.
Even before the health crisis, we were in close daily contact with our customers. We were already answering their questions and requirements efficiently. Preparedness is a strength of ATALIAN’s QHSE department.
Does this mean that you continue to carry out the daily tasks of the QHSE department in parallel with the crisis?
Yes, it does. We have not stopped our other day-to-day missions: monitoring health and safety at work, of course, and the critical certification aspect, accident management, the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), and all the Group’s CSR actions.
We are proud to have succeeded in managing COVID-related actions in parallel with our daily missions.
I would be lying if I said it was easy every day. But the ATALIAN Group is dependable, structured and reactive. The synergy between the different support departments, the short decision chain and the professionalism of each one, have enabled us to be efficient at all levels.
Even today we continue to act, every day, and to anticipate health developments. We remain very vigilant to stay efficient.