We are all aware of the outbreak and spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) over the last two and a half months and the significant impact that it has had on people and communities across the world. As a global business, and with safety our No. 1 value, Element Materials Technology (including BM TRADA, FIRA International and Warringtonfire) has recognized the importance of responding in a systemic, consistent and proportionate way to ensure the safety and well being of our colleagues and their families, our customers, our suppliers and the communities in which we operate. At the time of writing, we can confirm that there are no cases of COVID-19 across our 6,700 colleagues.

What steps Element has taken

We have taken the following steps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our people, our operations and by extension our customers.

  • Colleagues – we have reinforced with all our teams the need for good personal hygiene and have advised colleagues who feel ill or have flu-like symptoms to stay at home and seek medical advice 
  • Countries most affected by COVID-19 – we are providing full support to those countries most seriously affected by the outbreak, including guidance to managers on business continuity, HR matters and protocols on the appropriate actions to take locally 
  • Visitors to our locations – we have advised our teams to pro-actively engage with customers, suppliers and other stakeholders to review the origin of any planned visits to our laboratories and offices and, if they originate from a geography that has imposed travel restrictions, to ask the customer to postpone their visit and/or agree alternative means to communicate remotely, e.g. video/audio conferencing, remote witnessing International transfer of samples – where customers send samples internationally to be tested in one of our laboratories, we are implementing an operating procedure to ensure safe handling of samples received from high-risk regions/countries 
  • Laboratory operations – we will make every effort to continue to serve our customers’ needs where practicable.  In certain circumstances, we may choose to close a laboratory temporarily.  Where this decision is taken, we will advise the customers of the relevant laboratory and provide guidance on the likely impact on completion of testing, inspection and certification work, as required  
  • Business travel – we have imposed widespread restrictions on business travel across the organization and advised our teams that Executive team approval is required for any exceptions

What we ask of our valued customers

I am sure that your business is responding in a very similar way to the outbreak. Where you have a visit to one of our laboratories or offices planned, please work with your usual contacts to agree whether, under the circumstances, this should go ahead or it should be postponed. If it does go ahead, we ask you to ensure no visitor from your organization has travelled to one of the affected regions/countries within a period of 14 days prior to their proposed visit to one of our locations.Where it is appropriate for us to suspend all visitors to one of our facilities for a period of time, I am sure that you will recognize the benefit to all involved of taking such a step. We will write to you if we do this.In respect of materials, products and samples that you may send to one of our laboratories, we ask that you take steps to mitigate the risk of the virus being potentially transferred in this way.

Next steps

We continue to monitor what is a fluid and difficult situation and we are reviewing all advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO), national governments and other relevant authorities. Our priority remains to minimize risk to our colleagues, their families, and our customers. If changing circumstances mean that our response to COVID-19 materially changes, we will update you accordingly. 

In the meantime, if you have immediate questions, please get in touch with your usual contact.