Amid the hustle and bustle of pipeline construction sites, project owners, contractors and construction crews focus on five things… safety, environment, quality, schedule and efficiency. But every minute of every day, and especially in the current COVID-19 pandemic, safety is at the top of everyone’s mind.
This week, About Pipelines connected with Tyler Madigan, Vice President and Managing Director of SA Energy Group. He briefed us on the strict COVID-19 protocols everyone on their pipeline construction sites must follow. (SA Energy Group is one of the general contractors involved in major pipeline construction projects in Canada.)
“Pipeline construction crews are skilled and experienced people,” says Madigan. “They work hard and camaraderie is generally high.” He notes that, “Although work sites can spread over tens of kilometres, sometimes they need to work shoulder-to-shoulder in small groups to get certain tasks done.”
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. So, during the current pandemic, physical distancing is a critical priority that pipeline construction companies need to address.
Madigan notes they’re following all guidance and advice from government and health officials. “Aside from that, we’ve put protocols in place to keep everyone safe. Those protocols are mandatory, such as wearing face masks as standard personal protective equipment (PPE), if the two-metre physical distance cannot be maintained,” stresses Madigan.
And, the consequence for workers who don’t follow the protocols is removal from the work site.
“We genuinely care about our employees and the community, and we will not proceed if we can’t do that safely,” says Madigan. “These measures have allowed us to ensure there’s a safe environment for all workers and no negative impacts to the communities.”
Please visit CEPA member company websites for more information about COVID-19 protocols on pipeline construction sites and at CEPA member companies.
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