Lockdown diaries - Robert Tait, Senior Superintendent - Construction

To mark the recent World Day for Safety and Health at Work we posted an image of Robert Tait, Senior Superintendent Construction (Scaffolding), proudly donning his PPE (personal protection equipment) while inspecting the facilities at Salalah LPG extraction project in the south of Oman. The first comment from one of our followers read: “Robert is one of the strictest scaffolding superintendents I have met in terms of safety compliance. Nothing escapes his eye.”

We got in touch with Robert in Salalah, to find out how does a man who doesn’t let anything slip his eye fight an enemy that cannot be seen.

Getting used to the ‘new normal’

“It is in our nature to worry and you could feel a sense of fear that came with the pandemic,” Robert tells us. “But together, as a team, and as one working family, we overcame that fear.”

For Robert and his colleagues on site, working from home is not an option. “Our management and the Health Safety, Security, and Environment (HSSE) teams implemented comprehensive plans, from transport arrangements to alternate sitting in the dining areas. Naturally, visitors are not allowed at the moment, and we are not allowing any new workers to the project so we can preserve everyone’s health and safety.”

Thermal scanning on site

The city sleeps

Salalah, the capital of Oman's Dhofar province in the south of the country, has recorded a low number of Covid-19 cases, but the necessary measures have been taken to protect everyone. “We maintain social distancing outside of work, we have our temperatures checked daily and we go through thermal scanning before we are allowed access to certain sections of the site. We have also installed additional toilet and handwash facilities,” Robert says.

Different type of visitors frequent Salalah's mountains during Covid-19

In normal times Salalah would be bustling with life. Busy roads, people socialising, children playing in the streets. The city, lucky to be nestled in between the mountains and the Arabian sea, will soon enter the Khareef season (Arabic for autumn), when the annual monsoon transforms the desert terrain into a lush, green landscape and creates seasonal waterfalls.

“Isolate and eat healthy. We will beat this, but we must isolate and take care of ourselves. If you don’t have to go anywhere – don’t.”

”It’s very quiet,” Robert continues. “Shopping for groceries is allowed but social distancing measures have to be respected, such as the two metres distance from others along with monitoring of temperatures. I miss going to the cafes in the mountains or the hotels at the beach on my days off.”

Salalah's empty roads during the pandemic

As much of the world went into lockdown, many of us have found ourselves away from our friends and families. Working on site, Robert is used to remote communication. “I miss my family in the United Kingdom, but I keep in touch with them as much as possible.”

As someone who’s dealing with matters of health and safety for a living, we could use Robert’s advice on safe behaviour. “Isolate and eat healthy. We will beat this, but we must isolate and take care of ourselves. If you don’t have to go anywhere – don’t.”

“As for me, I continue with my daily duties and ensuring the safety of our colleagues and workers is my top priority. Stay safe to be safe,” Robert concludes.