Pipeline crews work in close quarters. Crews travel together to the work sites by bus or company vehicles. During work shifts, they take breaks and eat meals together on the buses. While convenient, these practices can pose a risk for virus transmission. During the current pandemic, physical distancing is a critical priority that pipeline construction companies need to address.
Here are seven COVID-19 protocols that keep crews safe on pipeline construction sites:
- Limit vehicle occupancy to facilitate physical distancing – on buses, everyone gets a designated seat the required distance apart from others. Crew members must use the same seat coming and going and when they are sitting on the bus at lunchtime. These changes necessitated hiring additional vehicles, crew buses, and drivers.
- Staggered work shifts – to minimize the number of people on any given site at one time.
- Adequate PPE – for crew members who work in close contact.
- Increased cleaning and frequency of cleaning – for buses, project vehicles, facilities, and tools.
- Mandatory screening questionnaire and temperature checks – before employment and daily upon arrival at the site. A mandatory 14-day isolation kicks in for those with symptoms or exposures to infection.
- Keeping abreast of new information from health officials about COVID-19 and using daily site meetings to update employees so they are fully aware of evolving developments and expectations.
- Educating and making sure there is adequate mental health support – leaders must be available when needed, and additional resources are there to help get everyone through this challenging time.
It is also important to be mindful of the community where the pipeline crew may be stationed. Workers must minimize visits to local stores and establishments and use drive-through or delivery services where possible for food and essentials. To keep up on the latest on how the pandemic is impacting the industry, read the Submar blog regularly.