COVID-19 Industry Response

COVID-19 has indeed rocked our world. Every aspect of the way we live, work and play has been disrupted or transformed. Determining how to respond and manage through a global pandemic, where our understanding of what is required unfolds daily in real time, has been a great management and leadership challenge of our lifetimes.

PLCAC member firms have been tackling COVID-19 response on several fronts. On the Distribution side of the business, employers and union partners have worked swiftly with major pipeline owning firms to assure COVID-19 specific business continuity within the supply chain. On the Mainline side of the business, member firms with active projects prior to spring shut-down, worked directly with pipeline owning clients in real-time to put in place workplace contingencies that responded to the just-in-time COVID-19 guidance and directives of provincial Public Health authorities.

Pipeline construction, service and maintenance crews, like construction workforces more generally, have been deemed Essential Workers within COVID-19 public policy. Significant mainline projects, including the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMX/TMEP) and Coastal Gas Link (GCL) are proceeding. The fundamental approach to COVID-19 in the field is that it is a unique workplace safety hazard to be planned for, monitored, and responded to within a project owner and contractors’ Safety Management/HSE programs. Employers and union partners have been working through the summer to determine the most appropriate ways to accommodate COVID-19 response within the pipeline agreements.

Current emerging COVID-19 best practices for our contractors include: limiting ground transport occupancy to support physical distancing; staggered work shifts; extending adequate PPE (specific to infection control); increased attention to cleaning of high touch surfaces; mandatory screening and temperature checks for workplace access; additional medical personnel on-site; keeping current about COVID-19 public health and management practices; assuring adequate mental health and psychological supports; and protocols for pipeline workers who are living or staying in local communities along Mainline right-of-ways. Is there something innovative or novel about your firm’s COVID 19 response you think we should know? We’d love to hear from you!