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Tag: #vaccine

Covid 19 at the front line with the Gallowglass Security head of Health and Safety – Petar Petrov

There can be few events in living memory that have brought the importance of effective health and safety measures for business into sharper focus than the current Covid 19 pandemic. In order to ensure safe systems of work and to engender confidence amongst our work force and clients, this is an approach that we implemented at the outset of the crisis, and at a level that exceeded mandated official advice and guidelines. This evolving process has been achieved under the inspiring and informed leadership of our head of Health and Safety, Petar Petrov.

Petar’s  journey from teaching graduate in his native Bulgaria, through to Gallowglass Security guard before progressing to become our head of Health and Safety has been a particularly fascinating one. His epiphany moment came when deployed to man guard a super prime construction development in central London where he came to keenly appreciate workplace hazards, and sought to apply his intellect and academic background in a way to secure safe systems of working.

From there he studiously applied himself resulting in his achieving a full gamut of NEBOSH qualifications and culminated in his securing through BSI lead auditor status in ISO 45001 (managing occupational Health and Safety at work). Currently he awaits his results of his second degree in Business Studies where he hopes to secure a 1st class honours degree, and from there he anticipates going on to secure a PhD in the wellness aspect of H&S.

Having suffered Covid himself in the infancy of the pandemic, Petar understood that this virus was more serious than other respiratory diseases such as the common cold and flu, and that immediate stringent control measures were required to minimise the risk of Covid transmission at all Gallowglass sites including head office.

With alacrity, and before recommended by public authorities, rigorous Covid 19 risk assessments were undertaken at head office, and at all sites where our guard force are deployed together with PPE distribution; with the effect that immediate control measures were introduced to ensure safe systems of work for all Gallowglass Security staff and affected stakeholders. Petar fully appreciated that a generic approach to this task would be wholly insufficient to address the risks posed by the virus and that a nuanced approach was required by him, to reflect the particular and specific risks posed to each of our service sectors.

This was a considerable undertaking as it included hotels accommodating rough sleepers on behalf of the GLA, the City of Westminster, the London Boroughs of Havering and Waltham Forrest and the renowned homeless charities, St Mungo’s and Crisis. All this together with our fixed ongoing commitments in the public and private sectors requiring both security and front of house cover. Additionally both our street patrol teams as well as our VPI and mobile response teams were similarly assessed, with the correct measures being introduced to safeguard their well-being.

Petar took the view that the measures introduced, would only be effective with ongoing tool box training amongst all Gallowglass Security staff. With this mind he formulated Covid specific awareness training which he delivered at each site and in person. Included in the training syllabus were measures borne of his own research into American medical case studies, which revealed, prior to the knowledge being in the public domain for example, that the loss of taste and smell was a potential symptom of the virus.

As society’s response to the virus has evolved, so has Petar’s. With the introduction of mass testing and vaccination sites, so has there been the resulting demand for our SIA manned guarding and Covid Marshalls of these centers, such as the ones rolled out by the London Borough of Lambeth at various sites. In turn the formulation and introduction of specific Covid 19 safety measures have been necessary to meet the unique demands of this vital work.

It is not enough for Petar to introduce these vital and effective measures, he is determined to ensure that they are fit for purpose at all times. In particular he records and analyses the clusters self isolation and Covid transmission data amongst Gallowglass Security staff to establish whether patterns are emerging as this helps in turn to determine the efficacy of the control measures, and whether or not revision is required.

Whilst the future is unclear, what remains a constant is that the Gallowglass Security H&S approach under Petar’s leadership to the risks posed by the virus, will be relentless and unremitting.

The Managing Partner of Gallowglass Security, Giles Turnbull says “ From the outset of the pandemic I have been hugely impressed by the bold initiative taken by Petar to introduce the necessary measures required to safeguard our highly valued guard force In the vital work they undertake for the benefit of society. What is particularly impressive is that regardless of his impressive range of H&S training credentials , that he has used his own intellect and judgment to introduce a range of measures that are unique and effective, and that elevate H&S beyond a tick box exercise”

Gallowglass Security Partners LLP’s support for rough sleepers during the Covid 19 crisis

The unfolding Covid 19 crisis highlighted the perilous predicament facing rough sleepers from the heightened risk of Covid transmission. This being on account of a myriad of factors, notably; that many have chronic physical and mental health problems which are often heightened by substance misuse, the inability to self isolate, the absence of basic hygiene facilities, together with a peripatetic lifestyle.

We believe that the leadership of the Greater London Authority (GLA) deserve immense credit for being relentless in raising this issue in the public and political consciousness at a very early stage of the emerging pandemic. All this as well as maintaining it in the public profile, and providing the political impetus and means to ensure that relief was provided in the form of accommodating this highly vulnerable group at various London hotels.

The admirable and highly committed St Mungo’s charity, were commissioned to provide rough sleeping services at the hotels, and throughout the pandemic been at the vanguard in providing a variety of essential and invaluable outreach support to those being temporarily housed in hotels across the capitol.

We were invited by the GLA to provide security support at hotels under their responsibility, an invitation that we had no hesitation in accepting despite the challenges and uncertainty brought about by the pandemic. Ultimately we reacted as we always do, with alacrity, and deployed carefully selected and well briefed teams of guards at various locations, with the tasks of ensuring the safety of the residents, outreach workers and hotel staff as well as enacting any and all special instructions received on site.

As the pandemic worsened, we were assigned to provide security regimes for more hotels under the aegis of the GLA; as well as expanding our involvement into the London Boroughs of Westminster, Havering, Waltham Forest and most recently, on behalf of the long standing and renowned homeless charity Crisis.

For Gallowglass this assignment represented a paradigm shift from the range of services we are accustomed to providing, not least because of the absence of any formal guidance on security provision at the front line amongst a demographic profile of persons at a high risk of Covid transmission.

Undaunted though, our guard force was carefully selected on the grounds of their skillset and aptitude for this work, and were comprehensively briefed and rapidly deployed. Despite national shortages of PPE at the time of initial deployment, we were able to procure it, and equip all guards with it. Simultaneously all sites were rigoursly and critically risk assessed so establish safe systems of work for them.

Drawing on advice and subsequent updates from bodies such as Public Health England and the NHS, our H&S Manager assimilated the scientific advice and then distilled and adapted it in the form of a series of highly unique security relevant training syllabus’s. These Covid specific training modules have been, and continue to be updated and delivered on site on a one to one basis in the form of toolbox training.

We believe that this highly considered approach has been instrumental in building awareness and understanding of the very specific challenges posed, and has  ultimately cultivated the necessary skill sets and understanding that has contributed to our guards excelling in such a unique environment.

As with all, it is our hope that oncoming vaccines mark the beginning of the end of this pandemic. Until vaccines are clearly entrenched throughout the population and their efficacy thereby established, rough sleepers will continue to require the support that local government provides along with dedicated and skilful charities. We remain on hand to assist whenever and wherever required, especially over the Christmas period.

Managing Partner Giles Turnbull says.

“This is and remains a remarkable project, and one that we regard ourselves as privileged to be involved in on account of its inestimable social value. It’s successful delivery is a result of a highly collegiate effort, where our staff have been encouraged to draw on their intelligence, accumulated knowledge and experience, and apply their initiative for the benefit and success of this project .

The final word must go to the guards on the ground who have shown great professionalism selflessness, determination and effectiveness in delivering our security services. There are many who have distinguished themselves and I thank them all. Particular commendations though must go to Adedotun Ajao, Mohammed Ismail, Grzegorz Grabowicki, Amir Khattab, Ashley Campbell and Yuri Asenov all of whom have been particularly outstanding.”