May 2020, Vol. 247, No. 5

Ramifications of COVID-19

Mitigating Threats to Critical Infrastructure

Special to Pipeline & Gas Journal

During uncertainty and significant risk to people’s health, robust and accurate screening and testing of Coronavirus (COVID-19) is needed now more than ever. 

It is imperative that workers involved in the energy industry are supported in its efforts to keep operations running. These are the personnel who will keep the lights on in homes across the country and heating in the homes of those who really need it. 

Pipelines need to be protected and personnel at remote sites need to have a rapid response medical service where conventional responders may be too far away. 

According to Jules Rawles, director at specialist medical support company SSI Energy, any personnel suspected of having the virus must be “dealt with effectively and sympathetically” regardless of how remotely the operation may be located.

Rawles said there are three critical ways companies can mitigate the effects of COVID-19 for personnel in remote locations.

Screening measures – This can be instigated at contact points pre-deployment. Key data can be obtained by carrying out assessments on paper, such as detailed questionnaires, and taking temperatures using a noncontact thermometer. 

If any personnel displaying symptoms under screening or assessments are indicative of an increased risk, they should be advised to self-isolate for seven to 14 days, according to the government’s current advice.

Rapid testing – The next layer of mitigation can be conducted using a COVID-19 rapid testing kit. This testing kit is particularly useful for the testing of personnel based in remote locations, and the test must be conducted by a registered health care professional. 

The COVID-19 rapid testing kit detects IgG and IgM antibodies and can assist in determining whether the person has COVID-19 or not. 

Strategic advice – Determining a suitable course of action for mitigating the effects of COVID-19 requires the expert advice and strategic management of a qualified medical professional. Having an experienced medical professional to advise senior management and board members is important for business continuity and the future.


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