TelEm Group CEO Kendall Dupersoy assures that technicians and contractors in the field have been receiving the attention of management during the COVID-19 emergency.
~ From today, suspending home installations, repairs ~
POND ISLAND–TelEm Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Kendall Dupersoy assures company technicians and engineers working in the field that their decision to not enter a home to complete a customer installation for fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus is supported by management as part of the company’s current Coronavirus Contingency Plan.
Dupersoy responded to questions from a media body on March 30 suggesting that TelEm Group is sending its technical workers into customer’s homes without proper protection, thereby putting them at risk of being infected with the coronavirus.
The comment was made prior to new government guidelines that go into effect on April 1, said TelEm in a press release on Tuesday.
“Seeing that these new measures have been put into place by government, we will be suspending all home installations and repairs for the rest of this week and possibly longer,” said Dupersoy.
He said the duration of this action will depend on further information from government.
“We regret that this may lead to members of the public and TelEm Group customers waiting for connections and repairs not being served,” said Dupersoy.
He had previously assured that TelEm Group had informed personnel and technicians carrying out installations, in writing and also verbally, that they could enter homes at their own discretion.
“If the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) were not available, our workers in the field and also contractors were advised not to enter any home, and again to use their own judgement,” said Dupersoy.
He said that because of the stay-at-home instructions from government, Internet access has become even more important than before to customers who are now working from home, and those depending on the Internet for entertainment and to provide continued education for children who are not in the classroom.
“In some cases, the Internet is the only way grandparents can stay in contact with their children and grandchildren. It is the only way parents can keep in contact with their children overseas whom they may be worried about,” said Dupersoy.
He said all of this was putting an added responsibility on the company to continue to provide service at the highest level possible and even make new installations for those requesting them.
According to Dupersoy, the telecommunication services provided by TelEm Group have been classified as being “essential” to the community. Therefore, personnel were called on, before these latest guidelines, to assist in providing those services as best they could while the company did all it could to secure their safety.
Dupersoy also assured that the company had taken several steps to protect its workers in the field, including consulting with a doctor about the safety protocols to put in place and providing a checklist for employees and contractors on the precise steps they should follow when doing an installation.
“The doctor advised against providing gloves and facemasks because they can lead to a false sense of protection. However, we informed the technicians and contractors that if they found it more comfortable wearing gloves and masks, then they would be provided,” he said, noting that maintaining a social distance of two metres when entering homes, paying keen attention to your surroundings, and frequently washing hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds are more effective ways of keeping safe.
“I wish to state clearly once more that TelEm Group was not requiring technicians to enter homes if they did not feel comfortable doing such. It was left at that time to their discretion,” concluded Dupersoy.