With health and safety of its workforce, their families and the surrounding communities at the forefront of its operations, Trans Mountain says all personnel have been working diligently together to ensure this can remain.
In its response to the continually evolving COVID-19 pandemic, Trans Mountain and its construction contractors for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project say it has been working to ensure its operations and staff adhere to all advice and direction from government and health officials, both on a local and national level.
An updated approach
Throughout the previous few months, Trans Mountain has continued to update and share its protocols with the wider community.
In March during the height of the pandemic’s growth, Trans Mountain Corporation President and CEO Ian Anderson said the rapid and changing global situation meant the company understand the questions and observations surfacing from communities and stakeholders surrounding the project.
“We are continuously assessing this unprecedented situation and remain focused and committed to ensuring health and safety,” says Mr Anderson.
“We are well underway with project construction in several areas of British Columbia and Alberta and we plan to continue construction as long as we can do so in a way that protects all of our people and the broader community.
“We are confident we have executed all the requirements of health authorities and governments and we are continuing to build on those safety measures at all our work and operations sites.”
Mr Anderson says he can assure all Canadians that Trans Mountain will do everything in its power to not put workers, communities and Indigenous peoples at any COVID-19 risk, and will initiate safe stand down work procedures if there is an escalation in health official’s guidance.
“The relationships and partnerships we have with our contractors, and the many Indigenous communities and businesses across the pipeline and project, are critical and all unique situations and concerns are being heard and responded to,” says Mr Anderson.
Trans Mountain says it is constantly monitoring the guidelines from health officials and some of the specific measures it and its construction contractors are taking on the construction sites include:
- staggering work shifts to minimise the number of people on any given site including adhering to the recommendations being provided by health authorities
- following physical distancing guidelines between workers – at on-site and in-site offices
- staggering lunch and coffee breaks to minimise number of people gathering
- minimising or eliminating in-person meetings, holding necessary meetings outside (for example, safety meetings), in smaller groups or via technology
- enhancing cleaning and sanitisation protocols and increased availability of sanitation supplies
- increasing bus, vehicle and trailer cleaning requirements and frequency and reducing the number of people being transported per vehicle to adhere to health authority recommendations
- ensuring that workers orientation includes COVID-19 expectations, awareness and prevention
- ensuring non-essential workforce members are not entering any worksites or offices
- ensuring all individuals have access to appropriate safety equipment, and understand the expectation surrounding personal hygiene
- temperature testing people entering the sites for fever or sickness
- using health and safety personnel to monitor implementation of COVID-19 response guidelines on site.
While each Trans Mountain worksite is unique, each of the construction contractors are required to adopt government and company health and safety measures to ensure construction can safely continue, while ensuring the protection of the workforce on the ground.
Although certain protocols are difficult to adhere to in entirety on a worksite, Trans Mountain says it works with its in-house team and construction contractors to revisit and update plans and monitor implementation daily.
Monitoring possible interruptions
While Trans Mountain says it is confident its operations will continue without interruption during the pandemic, it has continued to monitor any potential impacts on the project because of interruptions to its supply chain due to logistics issues.
During this time, Trans Mountain will continue tracking any directives or changes to ongoing regulatory processes from the Canada Energy Regulator to ensure not only the safety of its workforce during COVID-19, but the safety of its entire operation.
This article was featured in the July 2020 edition of Pipelines International. To view the magazine on your PC, Mac, tablet or mobile device, click here.
For more information visit the Trans Mountain website.
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