The Hunter's largest coal producer Glencore is quickly adopting new operational procedures as its works to protect its employees, contractors and the general community from the threat of contracting coronavirus - COVID-19.
As at March 26, the company reports there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within Glencore's operations in Australia.
Glencore is closely monitoring developments relating to COVID-19 and our key priority is to protect the health and safety of all employees and contractors whilst maintaining normal operations at our sites.
The company operates the underground mine Integra near Singleton and new procedures include ensuring all workers are wearing face masks at all times and not allowing any additional people underground to ensure the safe operation of the mine.
A company spokesman said following the lead of our Queensland coal sites, we are in the process of sourcing and distributing temperature monitoring equipment to all our NSW operations to allow for a two-stage process, to be undertaken before starting work, that includes:
- Completion of a COVID-19 self-assessment declaration form (example attached)
- Temperature monitoring
- In addition to the actions outlined on our website, individual sites are implementing a wide range of measures in accordance with their specific risk-based plans. Some examples of these include:
- Instructing all workers who feel unwell to stay at home and not travel to site
- Making communications about hygiene requirements and social distancing highly visible onsite
- Staggering shift times
- Ensuring all workers in underground transport wear appropriate Personal Protection Equipment E and facemasks
- Marking out personal demarcation zones for social distancing during pre-start briefings
- Conducting briefings outside
- Implementing social distancing measures in bathhouses
"We are strongly encouraging all workers to postpone or cancel non-essential work and personal travel, including domestic travel," as stated on the Glencore website.
"As required by the Australian Government, any worker returning from international travel will be expected to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days and not come to site / office during that time.
"We are encouraging all city-based workers to avoid all non-essential travel to our regional operations."
At Peabody Energy's Wambo mine at Warkworth the following response and management plan has been activated:
- Stringent health and hygiene processes
- Health checks on all employees before entering site
- Cleaning and sanitization of facilities and equipment up to six times per day (including touch screens, log points, tables and benches, desks, crib room tables, door handles, teering wheels, grab handles, dashboards)
- A ban on non-essential visitors to site
- Virtual meetings for both internal purposes and with external parties
- Open air pre-shift meetings to ensure social distancing between people
- Staggered start times for work crews
- Evaluating changes to roster patterns in the underground workforce
- Alternate work arrangements for high-risk employees (vulnerable to contracting the virus due to pre-existing health conditions etc.)
- An employee assistance channel for our people to seek advice and support.