In France, Colas began restarting projects in April. By May 11, and before the lockdown ended, more than 80% were underway again, in line with projections. “We have come up with our own set of health rules in parallel to those developed by the OPPBTP, the construction industry’s health and safety organization,” notes Thierry Méline, CEO France. “The procedures are roughly the same, but ours are stricter in certain areas, notably concerning the wearing of a mask, which we have made mandatory at all times on the worksites. Masks are also required in our offices and at our industrial sites.”
Colas donated a portion of its stock of masks to hospitals when the lockdown was announced. More had to be ordered, and the Purchasing department quickly identified suppliers in China. Logistics operations were stepped up to supply all the regional branches. A paint plant also began producing hand sanitizer for Colas’ French sites.
In the event of a medical or security emergency in the international operations, a system was set up to evacuate employees by air in less than six hours. Colas also made a point of keeping its employees well-informed. An InfoCovid19 email address was created so that employees anywhere in the world could ask questions or make requests. Continual benchmarking was done with 47 major French and European groups of the processes implemented and the decisions made in response to the crisis. Fourteen sources of information around the world (private, governmental, and international institutions) were drawn on to compile updates on the pandemic and its impact on activities.