COVID-19 efforts in 2020
While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a drastic, impact on our lives, and we each have experienced this differently depending on our own unique situations, for the most part, we have been fortunate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Government of UAE services and employees have been involved in all aspects of the pandemic response, whether on the front lines, adjusting to working from home while balancing family responsibilities, or remaining in the workplace to deliver services to UAE community. This has been a challenging time for all, but the professionalism and dedication of Government services and employees have been exceptional as we adjust and adapt to the ever-evolving situation.
Since the start of the pandemic, the safety and wellbeing of the employees has been FANR Management’s first priority. This has been shown through FANR’s commitment in adhering to the precautionary Health and Safety measures that were received from International and National Health Organizations to ensure the Health and Safety of its employees. FANR was mildly affected by the pandemic due to its well-designed Business Continuity plans, Health and Safety preventive measures, IT infrastructure readiness and management directions. The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) has commenced work for the phased return of employees to the workplaces. This phased return of employees follows the guidance provided by UAE Government’s Authorities. FANR’s Business Continuity and Health and Safety ensured that FANR risk register addresses the risks of COVID-19 to support Senior Management decisions and implement required control measures.
To assure employees of its efforts to provide a safe and healthy workplace, FANR complied with the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources (FAHR) return to workplace guidelines and directions. These guidelines include but are not limited to assessing office/workspace configurations, planning employees’ entry and exit practicing physical distancing, implementing hygiene protocols, signage requirements, and cleaning & disinfecting best practices.
Communication with Stakeholders
The Return to Work Planning Team (The Team) has conducted number of virtual meetings with Federal and Local Government entities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai to compare the different responses and courses of actions taken in relation to COVID-19 Pandemic Crisis Management. The positive outcomes of these communications illustrated the effectiveness of the controls applied by FANR Management during the COVDI-19 Pandemic.
FANR’s Health and Safety Management conducted an awareness session titled “Mental Health, Stress and Safety” for all FANR employees. All senior management and FANR employees attended the session. Additionally, FANR arranged for an external awareness program for the gradual return to office, which was conducted virtually by the Department of Health (DoH) for all FANR employees.
COVID-19 is taking an immeasurable toll on mental health, due to numerous factors, including social isolation, financial and healthcare worries, and the strain of adapting to remote work and home schooling. Experts expect this will have long term impacts akin to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); yet, some are hopeful that the new focus on mental health issues may reduce stigma and increase availability of support services. The world beyond the crisis may be one in which mental health is more honestly recognized and supported.
FANR Management has emphasized on the importance of having a Mental Health Program where staff can freely manage their tasks within certain conditions. A performance based approach is impeded within FANR work environment to support staff happiness and wellbeing as an essential part of FANR commitment.
A sustainable response to COVID-19 “ from New Normal to New Future”
Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the response measures taken by the Government of the United Arabic Emirates (UAE), the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) integrated the Business Continuity Management with Health and Safety Management in the planning for the resumption of work at FANR Headquarters and the implementation of the plan to ensure full preparedness of FANR against future threats and risks.
The integration enabled and provided assurance of the protection of FANR staff, contractors, visitors, assets, information and operations against future threats and risks. The guidance for the above noted efforts of FANR and the oversight of their implementation has been carried out by a team titled “New Normal and Afterward Planning Team” (referred to as “The Team”).
The role of “The Team” is to provide guidance and advice on FANR response to events and to manage such response, when circumstances require, so that to ensure that appropriate actions are taken out based on impact of the event, whether estimated or actual, as well as based on potential or identified risks associated with the event. The Team has been formed and activated by the Director General and continues to act in accordance with directions from and reports to the FANR Board of Management.