Like many others, Scottish Woodlands Ltd have adjusted our normal work arrangements in response to the rapidly developing Coronavirus pandemic. Our objectives in this regard are to protect our staff, their families, and everyone we work with; to support the national response for slowing the spread of the virus and to maintain service for our clients and customers and to play our part in providing essential raw materials for the production of key goods for the general public.
The UK Government through DEFRA has recognised the importance of our industry in supplying wood for key goods stating:
“Those involved in the supply chain of wood for key goods (including, but not limited to pallets, heating, packaging, tissue paper, timber harvesting, sawmills) should be considered key workers.”
Most if not all of UK industry relies on wood-based products to keep the economy moving, as almost all goods, equipment and machines are packed and transported on wooden pallets or in wooden boxes. Pallets and wooden packaging are essential to ensure the security of food supply, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment and to maintain supply chain integrity.
Biomass energy provides electricity for the national grid and heat for hospitals, care-homes, communities and much more.
Wood fibre also provides packaging for food and medicines as well as for animal bedding products.
Strategically important timber harvesting activity is being maintained on this basis.
Other field-based activity has generally resumed where home working is not possible and where a risk assessment process has determined that government guidance on site hygiene, infection control and social distancing can be reliably implemented and where that work is considered to be sufficiently low risk such that no additional burden is likely to be placed on emergency services. Scottish Woodlands have contributed to the development of forest industry sector guidance for safe work practice and will be operating in accordance with these standards.
A copy of our current Office risk assessment in relation to Covid-19 is also available here.
This position is consistent with current UK and Scottish Government guidance.
All Scottish Woodlands staff are technically equipped for home working and have access to all our corporate IT systems. Staff responsible for supervising health and safety operational aspects will continue to visit active work sites, observing additional hygiene and social distancing protocols.
Contact by phone or email with offices and staff remains unaffected. Phones have been diverted where local requirements dictate this.
Where operations have been stopped or curtailed in response to government control measures, certain staff have been given temporary leave of absence from work under furlough arrangements. Contact in such cases should be directed to the branch office.
Branch offices are generally closed with occasional attendance by the minimal number of staff as may be required to manage certain business critical processes. Mail will continue to be collected. Visits to branch offices are strictly by appointment only. Video phone conferencing arrangements are preferred, and additional hygiene measures will be employed where office visits are judged to be business critical.
Our approach to this rapidly developing situation remains under continuous review and we will post further updates on social media and on our website as necessary.
Scottish Woodlands Ltd
29 May 2020