Mar 16 2020

Statement — Measures to manage COVID-19 on the Coastal GasLink project

Posted by Coastal GasLink

Updated: March 31, 2020

With the current and evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, we’ve provided some insight as to how Coastal GasLink is responding to this situation. And, as safety is our number one value, we extend our sincerest well-wishes to the families affected, and recognize the tremendous efforts of first responders and health professionals worldwide.

The following measures have been implemented for safety as we continue to progress the Coastal GasLink project:

Protecting our teams, partners and communities

Throughout TC Energy, we’ve established policies and protocols for employees, contractors and visitors to manage their health risk and quell the spread of infection, including:

  • Postponing events, such as the 7 Mile Lodge site tours and opening event as part of social distancing.

  • In the office and field, only having onsite workers in ‘critical’ operations, including construction.

  • Staying connected to various levels of health and government agencies to ensure we’re aligned with recommended standards to meet risk levels. Incident Management Teams have been set up across TC Energy, Coastal GasLink, and with our prime contractors and workforce accommodation sites.

  • Proactively closing our major metropolitan offices and having our employees work remotely, canceling non-critical travel and holding meetings with partners, where possible, via phone or video conferencing.

  • Requiring that only employees who are critical to the safe and reliable operations are permitted to work in our offices and in the field.

  • Requiring all our workers to follow safe practices including hygiene, avoiding large public gatherings, adhering to travel restrictions, and staying away from work if they are sick. 

  • Implementation of screening protocol for all workers and a detailed pre-access COVID-19 questionnaire.

It is important to note that at this time there have been no confirmed COVID- 19 cases of any individuals working on the Coastal GasLink project. We will continue to take precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved.

Aligning spring breakup with less workers in the field

Spring breakup refers to the time of year when field construction work is reduced due to soft ground conditions caused by melting snow and thawing ground conditions. With less workers involved in construction during spring breakup, the following measures are in place:

  • Working primarily with local workers.

  • Prioritizing critical and essential work paths, such as erosion and sediment control, and clearing in sections to ensure river and wildlife safety, and delaying non-critical work.

  • Ensuring workers are aware of safety protocols and know they have continued medical coverage.

Ensuring alignment with our prime contractors

We continue to meet with our prime contractors daily to ensure their Coastal GasLink workforce is well informed. This includes:

  • Ensuring all workers are aware of the need to report immediately if they experience COVID-19 related symptoms and management plans are in place to respond to potential cases.

  • Communicating and implementing general health and safety precautions for all workers in-line with government recommendations.

  • Suspending business travel or essential business travel only.

  • Increased use of technology to conduct meetings.

  • Worker check-in with leadership about future personal travel plans and ability to return to work following travel.

Applying safety precautions at our workforce accommodation sites

We have received extensive plans from our workforce accommodation site partners on managing worker health. This includes:

  • Ongoing engagement of International SOS (ISOS) as the medical experts on Coastal GasLink as well as our contractors to provide guidance from their vast experience around the world in dealing with pandemics. ISOS are in the camps and on worksites providing 24/7 support including plan reviews.

  • ISOS onsite medics are monitoring the workforce for symptoms and all accommodation staff are educated in regard to what to look for.

  • Transmission prevention efforts in effect including enhanced health screening via questionnaire and temperature checks as well as ongoing communication on risks and updates related to COVID-19.

  • Restrictions on the use of common areas and dining rooms, with a maximum of 50 workers allowed in the dining and commons areas, per provincial guidelines.

  • Each worker has their own room and bathroom.

  • Sitting two metres apart in the dining room or commons areas.

  • No outside visitors.

  • Ongoing on-site health monitoring.

  • Transmission prevention efforts in effect including enhanced health screening via questionnaire during daily camp admission for all workers and ongoing communication on risks and updates related to COVID-19.

  • Implementing camp hygiene practices such as those applied to Norwalk Virus (stomach flu) to mitigate contagious illness.

  • Ongoing disinfection cycles for common areas, individual rooms, kitchen, and dining areas, along with changes to food service delivery such as elimination of buffet-style meals and mandatory hand sanitizing at entrances.

Securing supply of critical equipment and services with our partners

We are actively monitoring our supplier’s situation, especially for critical parts and services. We have not seen any delays with access because of COVID-19 to date on TC Energy’s capital program, including Coastal GasLink.  

Together, we will ensure our workforce and local communities remain safe, and that our important work continues.