Before the lockdown commenced, Polyoak already had preventative measures and internal communications in place that exceeded government regulations. This was confirmed by Department of Labour site inspections of Polyoak’s handwashing stations, sanitation and employee compliance around spatial distancing and correct wearing of masks.
Employees were provided with personal hand sanitisers, and taxi fares were subsidised to enable spatial distancing while commuting between home and Polyoak. Covid-19 educational material was developed in numerous languages to help safeguard employees at work and at home.
Polyoak’s sites nationwide were granted Essential Services Certificates to operate throughout lockdown levels five and four, albeit under extremely strict and challenging conditions. Polyoak took this opportunity to carefully review the finest detail of its operations, from clocking in systems to site layouts and shift patterns to absolutely minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission.
‘We salute our customers and suppliers who continue to support us through the lockdown, as well as our dedicated employees working under difficult conditions,’ says group MD, Jeremy Mackintosh.
Although there were limitations on what types of packaging could be sold during lockdown levels five and four, there’s been a significantly higher demand for drums and bottles used for sanitisers, cleaning detergents and chemicals.
In response to this, Polyoak launched a range of 28mm neck bell bottles with trigger sprays to facilitate the dispersion of liquids such as cleaning detergents, sanitisers and pesticides. The recyclable bottles are embossed on the side with measurement markings to assist with mixing concentrates to the required ratio and can be screen printed for impactful branding or usage instructions.
‘Polyoak relished the chance to innovate outside of our usual field of expertise,’ remarks technical director, Karl Lambrecht. ‘We partnered with the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town to bridge the gap between expensive commercial asthma spacers and the need in low-income communities, by creating a custom blow-mould base with an indentation in the shape of an asthma pump nozzle.’
Polyoak’s engineers have also developed a fully recyclable face shield that is ergonomically designed for comfort, being lightweight and spacious enough to accommodate goggles or spectacles to be worn underneath.
From a community assistance perspective, the Polyoak team donated R5-million to provide much-needed support across South Africa through the Solidarity Fund, South African Waste Pickers Association and Gift of the Givers, as well as regional projects. Initiatives included donating nearly R1-million to informal waste collectors, and partnering with the Umgeni Relief Network in KZN to distribute 10 000 food parcels in the Shivabazali informal settlement near Howick. In Gauteng, Polyoak partnered with ACFS, a community education and feeding scheme that supports under-resourced communities in Soweto, Alexandra, Thembisa and Tsakane.
In the Western Cape, the company partnered with Philisa Abafazi Bethu to provide over 65 000 nutritious meals to abused women and children in Lavender Hill and surrounding Cape Flats communities. Additionally, it enabled the emergency distribution
of 13 000 food parcels to needy households through the Peninsula School Feeding Association.
‘We’re already supporting the opening up of businesses with our reliable service and high-quality packaging, delivered in a way that keeps our people and communities safe,’ concludes Jeremy.
Polyoak’s PET medical spacer, which is fully recyclable, has been taken on by all major government hospitals and clinics in the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal regions.
Polyoak’s range of 28mm neck bell bottles with trigger sprays are embossed on the side with measurement markings to assist with mixing of concentrates such as cleaning detergents, sanitisers and pesticides to the required ratio.