This week marks a full year since we started to implement the dramatic changes to our usual lives brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic: working and educating our children at home; social distancing and wearing face coverings; canceling routine activities and milestone events; and restricting visits with friends and family. It is hard to believe that we have now weathered 12 months of these disruptive changes.
I am truly grateful to our employees – in the field and in offices – for their dedication to their communities and fellow coworkers as we continue to adapt to the ever-changing pandemic. Even though we all have faced many difficulties during this last year, we remained focused on overcoming the pandemic by being Stronger Together.
By becoming Stronger Together, our company had another outstanding year in 2020, particularly in our safety performance. Even during one of the busiest storm seasons, our employees went above and beyond in safety.
Recently, we have seen some indications that our lives and jobs may soon start to return to ‘normal’. Several vaccines have been approved for distribution in the United States, and tens of millions of adults have been vaccinated. With that, some states are starting to adjust their requirements on face coverings, indoor gatherings and other COVID-related restrictions. While news about the changing states’ requirements captures headlines, our company will continue to follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect our employees from the spread of the virus.
In addition, the CDC has also released useful information about the vaccines on their website. We encourage you to become familiar with the options to make an informed decision for you and your families. Should you opt to receive a vaccine when available, the costs are covered for those enrolled in our company-sponsored healthcare plans.
Again, thank you for your hard work to keep each other and your communities healthy and protected.
Chairman and CEO
Asplundh Tree Expert, LLC
Please watch this message from Scott Asplundh about the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the United States and many other countries continue to battle the COVID-19 outbreak, we wanted to update you with what we are doing at Asplundh Tree Expert, LLC.
Our focus continues to remain on the health and well-being of our employees and customers. To do this, we are continually monitoring the impact of the spread of COVID-19 and reviewing information as updates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are distributed. As recommendations change from the CDC, we are adapting, as our employees are diligently taking many precautionary measures to help reduce the chance of spreading the virus.
We stand by our commitment to help keep the power flowing in our communities during this pandemic. We know how important it is now – more than ever – that our neighborhoods have swift restoration after a storm, such as the recent severe storms that struck from the South Central region up through the Northern U.S. with high winds and snow.
Our employees across the globe have been actively participating in preventative measures according to the CDC’s recommendations, including – but not limited to – following the social distancing etiquette; routine cleaning and disinfecting touched objects; and frequent hand washing.
We have replenished our healthy hygiene supplies for common areas of all offices and are providing those in the Field with these supplies as well to keep their equipment and vehicles clean and disinfected.
As our communities are setting new restrictions and updating their preventative measures, as recommended by the U.S. government and CDC, we have been adapting our policies and procedures.
At the Home Office in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, our ‘COVID-19 Task Team’ thoroughly executes communications within our company and ensures the latest developments are shared effectively.
We have protocols in place for our employees at all levels in the event they become ill, have a team member that becomes ill or encounter a potentially ill person. These protocols ensure the proper levels of management as well as the proper departments are aware of such illnesses, and to provide the appropriate resources to them to help their recovery process.
In addition, to help reduce the potential of spreading the illness, we have travel restrictions in place for employees and are asking employees that are capable to work from home in accordance with recommendations from the CDC.
As always, we remain committed to providing our reliable presence. We are confident our employees are taking all precautionary measures for themselves, as well as their families, which requires the highest level of responsibility during a pandemic. We are confident in our swift decisions and we will continue to do what we feel is best for the health and well-being of our employees and customers.
Thank you for your continued support and your proactive efforts as we overcome the COVID-19 outbreak. As a team, we will get through this pandemic and come out on the other side stronger than ever.
Scott Asplundh, Chairman & CEO
Asplundh Tree Expert, LLC has a long history of safely conducting operations in emergency situations to ensure our customers can keep the power on in their communities. In our line of work, we are continually planning for and facing head-on hazardous situations around the globe. Whether it is a downed tree or a devastating hurricane, we understand our customers depend on our reliable presence. A health emergency, such as a pandemic, requires the highest level of responsibility from our employees, and we have measures in place to ensure our company will continue to provide safe and reliable operations during this time.
With the increased media coverage surrounding the coronavirus, we feel it prudent to assure you that we are continuously monitoring the situation and our focus remains on the health and welfare of our employees and our customers around the world.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as other health organizations are actively monitoring developments and providing information to help us respond properly. We will address the needs of each of our regions and adjust business operations as needed. The following information is designed to provide an overview to our pandemic preparedness plan.
Asplundh has taken multiple steps in order to effectively prepare for this pandemic. These are broken down into four phases: (1) Review and monitor the situation; (2) Develop an actionable plan; (3) Communicate plan and safety procedures; (4) Control and reduce chances of spreading the infection.
We are constantly evaluating the coronavirus impact and reviewing information as the CDC releases updates. As their recommendations change, we will thoroughly review them and, if needed, update our safety policies and procedures to protect the well-being of our employees and customers.
Asplundh’s action plan is segregated into two components. The first covers our Field Operations and the second is for our Corporate & Administrative Staff (back office operations). The plan is also broken down to reflect the intensity of the pandemic and the level of impact on the organization. The breakdown is determined by the percentage of employees impacted and gives weight to the restrictions that will be imposed by government authorities, such as the CDC.
The key assumption that is used to derive the plan is the necessity to keep critical infrastructure operational during such a crisis. In our business, the critical infrastructure we support is the operation of transmission and distribution systems of our utility customers. In a pandemic crisis, keeping the energy flowing to the systems that support the government and essential services (i.e. government offices, police stations, military bases, hospitals, shelters, healthcare/pharmaceutical facilities, etc.) is of highest importance. As such, our plan allocates resources to ensure the continued operations of these systems.
Asplundh provides each employee, whether in the field or in the office, with a strong safety policy. Specifically, for the coronavirus, we are focusing on the health-related safety procedures based on the published CDC guidelines aimed at maintaining a healthy environment across your service territory. Our management and leadership teams crafted an informative plan for employees that promotes healthy hygiene in their work environments as well as what to do in case of illness.
Our company is actively relaying information to our Field Operations and providing training as necessary to increase awareness. Proper preventive steps to protect oneself against the impacts of the coronavirus are at the forefront of our communication. We have also provided guidelines and set forth procedures in the event an illness arises, including: direct communication tools to Human Resources for reporting absenteeism; IT for telework and remote technology support; and Supply Chain Management/Procurement for purchasing or replenishing health supplies in every work location.
The following actions will also be taken to minimize the impact on the company and our employees.
We understand the environments our employees work in every day are unique and, therefore, it can be challenging to control illnesses. However, we are taking action to minimize any potential risk by emphasizing good personal hygiene practices.
We are encouraging everyone to take an active role in keeping their vehicles, office spaces and equipment, among others, safe by frequently disinfecting them.
Additionally, we have alerted our employees of the CDC’s Level 3 Travel Advisory locations. We are enforcing a policy of avoiding business-related travel to these particular locations and requiring employees who have traveled to an affected area to remain out of work for the CDC-suggested period of time.
The coronavirus is constantly evolving, and we understand that weather-related or other types of outages may happen concurrently that will require our assistance. As a company that is relied upon to help restore power during these situations, we acknowledge that an outage could happen in an outbreak location. Our crews that are assigned to an outbreak location will be aware of the risks and prepared with health and safety information per our coronavirus plan. They will be also be informed to take effective actions to secure the health and well-being of those around them.
We have provided communication protocols to our employees in the event they become ill. These protocols ensure the proper levels of management as well as the proper departments are aware of such illnesses. In the event any employee has been diagnosed with the coronavirus, we have set forth procedures to work remotely or take time off in accordance with the CDC guidelines.
Our employees’ and customers’ health and safety are valued, especially during times of a pandemic.
Since the coronavirus appears to mainly be spread through close person-to-person contact, we are taking these preventive measures according to the CDC’s recommendations:
In our offices, site leaders and maintenance personnel are replenishing supplies in common areas to help with maintaining healthy hygiene.
These will include:
Scott Asplundh, Chairman & CEO