February 06, 2020 • 2 min read

People power in the depths of a global pandemic

The COVID-19 global pandemic is among the greatest challenges we’ve ever faced, but ingenuity, resourcefulness and teamwork are shining through.

We’re witnessing the severe impacts of COVID-19 across the world. But amid the most difficult circumstances , people are using their expertise and resources to help those in need while keeping the wheels turning at work.

We’d like to say thank you to them for going above and beyond.

Oil and gas equipment to combat ventilator shortages

Thank you to process engineer Allison Aguayo, who is putting her engineering skills to work for COVID-19 patients experiencing the most severe symptoms.

Allison, from Los Angeles, California, submitted an idea to Worley’s Innovation Hub which involves repurposing oil and gas equipment to create a centralized ventilator system to treat multiple patients at one time. It could also help medical staff monitor these patients via a single user interface. The design uses readily available equipment, such as bottled N2 and O2, regulators, valves and filters.

This could assist dozens of COVID-19 patients while buying time as additional hospital-grade ventilators are being produced and distributed.

The idea received fast-tracked approval and funding from the Worley’s Global Innovation Council, with prototype development already underway.

“It started off as an idea, but I’ve had a lot of help since then,” Aguayo explained. “Many of my coworkers and people around the company are contributing ideas.”

Amy Lee, Glenn Magnaye, Bryan Redmann and Matt Dayton were also integral to getting the design where it is today.

“I hope it works,” said Aguayo. “The usual timeframe for innovation prototype development is 4-6 weeks, but I’m hoping we can go much faster.”

A rapid response to an urgent lockdown and Communication Coordinator

Thank you to our IT team in Saudi Arabia. On 8 March, Saudi Arabia issued a lockdown and quarantine notice for the Qatif area in the Eastern Province of the country.

That meant 240 of our people were immediately isolated from the business. Checkpoints were installed, and residents were only allowed to cross to return to their homes.

Nearly 50 percent of our local IT team live in the quarantined zone, with the remainder accounting for admin specialists, program directors, people group managers, engineers, accountants and cost controllers. Most did not have company laptops, nor access to a personal computer. This meant they couldn’t work immediately from home.

To bring them back online, we first needed to confirm whether they had access to a laptop or access via a personal computer. Within the first few day days, 17 percent of those impacted were working from home. Our local IT team then identified approximately 150 desktop computers in one of our offices. These were fitted with the appropriate hardware to allow remote working.

The next challenge was to transfer these computers across a quarantined border guarded by police and the Saudi Arabian National Guard. We worked with these authorities to transfer approximately 20 computers per day into the area, with each computer checked by the border guards.

After two weeks, our team had mobilized 153 IT setups across the border, enabling our Qatif staff to work from home and help to limit the spread of COVID-19 in their community. 

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