By Sid Miah, Senior Engineer, CENTIEL UK

As a service and maintenance engineer for leading uninterruptible power supply (UPS) manufacturer CENTIEL, it has been necessary to put extra safety measures in place during the Pandemic. It’s important to keep our staff and customers safe and so we’ve introduced a new risk assessment relating to COVID-19 which is completed in advance of site visits.

Each site is different and the risks vary from place to place, so this has to be taken into account. We usually work in plant or comms rooms and so keeping to social distancing rules is critical. Previously, comms managers or IT staff or other electrical engineers may have been working alongside us on site but now, we are usually given access by a security manager and then in our small teams of just one or two people, we get on with replacement or maintenance of the UPS alone in the comms room.

The safety of our customers and colleagues is our main priority so naturally, we have disposable PPE including facemasks, gloves and carry hand sanitiser in our tool kits and in our vehicles. We also pre-arrange temperature checks on arrival with the customer. There have been some customers who have not been able to accommodate their scheduled maintenance visits or have concerns due to the pandemic. This is to be expected, as an organisation, we are working together to do our best to support our customers’ needs during this time. This sometimes involves rearranging visits or attending sites outside of normal working hours.

Because many people are still working from home, keeping to the safety guidelines set out by the Government has been relatively straightforward. However, there have been some changes to our normal working practices to ensure social guidelines are met. As a team, we have worked together to agree on alternative solutions to ensure everyone remains safe. We recently completed a battery replacement project at a financial institution. Normally two engineers would work on removing and replacing one string of batteries at a time. However, with social distancing, it was necessary for us each to work on separate strings.

We are often working in medical facilities, so staying alert to the risks involved is even more important. Throughout the pandemic we have been working night and day to support our clients in the medical sector. It’s really satisfying to know we’ve been able to play a small part in supporting our NHS during the crisis.

While some industries have seen a reduction in the demand for their services due to the pandemic, our services were recognised as being “key”, as ensuring the reliability of the country’s critical power infrastructure became a focus. The increase in transactional data and the need for remote working has meant businesses need servers to be efficient and backed up by power protection. M many organisations have replaced aging batteries and capacitors and some have brought forwards normal maintenance checks. Some have upgraded or replaced their UPS to ensure systems are supported with the most reliable technology.

From our customers’ point of view, CENTIEL’s CumulusPower UPS is a ‘truly’ modular system, meaning if one component fails the other modules take over the load so there is no single point of failure and the power remains protected at all times. Replacement of the modules takes just a matter of minutes. This means we can be as efficient as possible while on site, minimising contact.

I think as people return to their normal working environments, then more protocols will need to be put in place to protect clients and staff. As a company I know we will be ready to adapt and ensure all the extra measures are in place to keep our staff and our customers safe during these testing times.

Originally featured in FM UK Magazine July 2020.

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