Representatives from the PESA Health & Safety, Environmental Policy and Human Resources committees participated in a newly created task force on April 7 to address COVID-19 issues Member Companies are facing. The task force will meet weekly to identify solutions and best practices for ongoing challenges.
The task force identified seven areas needing a framework for Best Practices, including
- Remote worker travel
- Operational social distancing protocols
- Quarantine wellness assessment tools/procedures
- Real-time mobile solutions/case management
- Response planning
- Communication best practices
Employee safety is paramount to the OFS sector. Many companies have restricted international travel, while allowing domestic travel if the location is accessible by vehicle; and even then, permitting only one passenger per vehicle. Employees crossing state lines are urged to travel with their Critical Infrastructure Documentation. Although some travelers are being stopped at state border check points, companies have not yet run into situations where their employees are being asked to quarantine when they return from out of state.
Member Companies have implemented rotational schedules at their facilities to allow social distancing and reduce exposure to coworkers. Complying with CDC face mask recommendations has been a challenge because of limited availability. As a temporary solution, companies are giving employees the option to bring their own. One company has begun using a 3D printer to manufacture face shields for their employees. Whenever possible, companies are also allowing remote work to reduce exposure.
Controlling the work environment for employees becomes more difficult when working at customer facilities. To address this issue, companies have developed screening questionnaires to ensure their customers are providing a safe work environment. Rig sites are providing unique challenges because the nature of the work and the facilities make social distancing difficult. The task force is researching measures in order to create a best practices document for rig site social distancing.
As companies continue to modify processes to address COVID-19, they are developing procedures to monitor employee wellness. HR departments are spearheading these efforts to maintain employee privacy and are relying on mobile medical solutions like Axiom Medical and XtremeMD.
Open communication with employees has become critical in this environment. Companies are using video podcasts, emails and newsletters to keep employees up to date and to reassure them their health and safety are a top priority. There are many external resources available to all including daily media briefings from the World Healthcare Organization. Individuals can also sign up to receive email updates from WorkSteps briefs. The Society of Petroleum Engineers has regular podcasts at the SPE Podcast addressing COVID-19 issues.
To stay informed of the latest COVID-19 news, subscribe to the PESA Newsletter or visit PESA’s COVID-19 Resources page. For more information regarding the HSEQ Task Force, contact Senior Director Membership Services Peggy Helfert.