Grupo Energía Bogotá is preparing to restart operations in the regions
30 April 2020
· GEB has structured a strict protocol for Reactivating Construction, Operation and Maintenance Projects to resume operations of its power transmission and natural gas transportation projects in the regions where it operates.
· Astrid Alvarez, CEO of GEB, says that the priority is to guarantee the health and lives of employees and contractors, the jobs of more than 2,300 employees in Colombia, Peru, Brazil and Guatemala, and the protection of the inhabitants in the communities.
Bogotá D.C, April 30, 2020: Grupo Energía Bogotá (GEB), together with its Transmission team, the second largest energy transporter in the country, with 1,655 kilometers of lines in operation, more than 2,000 towers and 28 substations, is preparing to resume operations in the regions.
GEB, following measures adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO), in accordance with the provisions of the National Government, guaranteeing the provision of the energy service and strengthening its actions to counteract the effects of COVID-19, while complying with its cultural attribute "Life First", established strict measures for its companies to reduce exposure and contagion in the development of administrative activities, operations, maintenance and projects for employees, contractors and the communities in the areas of influence of its projects.
General prevention measures
Remote work (working from home)
The best way to protect employees from risks is to remove them completely from the work environment or keeping them away from the risk factor. The WHO has recommended remote work (from home ) for administrative activities. When it is not possible due to the nature of the workers' activities to carry them out remotely, the actions and measures defined in a Protocol must be implemented to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in the operational fronts and administrative locations.
About 90% of GEB's staff are working remotely and at home, but we have contractors and more than 64 GEB employees in the field or in offices, including electrical engineers, civil engineers, electromechanical technicians, who are responsible for the remote operation and monitoring of transmission assets from the Control Center, and the inspection and maintenance of equipment and infrastructure in high-voltage lines and substations in 68 municipalities.
It should be noted that in January of this year, GEB launched the Business Continuity Plan to ensure the adequate provision of the service and to ensure all the protection measures for employees and contractors, which includes division of work teams, protocols for access to offices or work sites, shifts, periodic disinfections, transportation, and permanent monitoring of their health status.
For its part, TGI, a subsidiary of GEB and the main natural gas transporter in the country that connects 65% of Colombians who use this energy source, deployed a Contingency Plan involving 147 workers available amongst the Operations Vice-Presidency and Sustainable Development Management. Maintenance operations are carried out by 114 technicians who are available throughout the country to serve its 16 compression stations and monitor 4,017 kilometers of gas pipelines, spanning 17 departments and 220 municipalities.
Currently, GEB has a very strict Protocol for reactivating construction, operation, maintenance projects, which follows the recommendations of OSHA Guidelines 3990, 3992, 3993E (on the Preparation of Workplaces for COVID-19), the Guidelines of the National Institute for Safety and Health at Work (INSST), the Guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Joint Circular 001 of 2020 of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, Ministry of Labor and Ministry of Mines and Energy, among others.
Astrid Álvarez, CEO of Grupo Energía Bogotá, says that the most important matter at this time is to protect the health and lives of employees and contractors, to continue providing energy and natural gas services, which are now more vital than ever and, of course, to implement all protective measures for the communities. She also stresses that today, GEB's three cultural attributes: Life First, Social Awareness and Superior Performance, are becoming more relevant, allowing the Group to contribute to the development of the country and the progress in the regions.
The following are among the main actions and measures included in the Protocol for Reactivating Projects:
- Implement and maintain good hygiene and infection control practices at the different sites where activities are carried out. (Cleaning/disinfecting bathrooms, vehicles, among others)
- Promote awareness among sick employees, so that they stay at home if they experience flu or other symptoms.
- Promote frequent handwashing to employees/visitors/contractors. If soap and water are not available, hand sanitizers (alcohol-based antibacterial gel) should be provided.
- Distributing personnel within the routes and increasing the number of trips on the routes, if required. Antibacterial gel should be used when entering the vehicle.
- Provide supplies such as: hand soap, water, antibacterial gel, disposable towels, disinfectants, among others.
- Maintain regular cleaning practices, including routine cleaning and disinfection of surfaces, equipment, and other items in the work environment
- Replacing face-to-face meetings with virtual meetings (video conferencing)
- Informing and promoting self-monitoring of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 among employees. Use of CoronApp.
- Reduce the total number of employees in a facility, thus allowing to maintain an established safety distance (1 to 2 meters).
- Perform test taking following the Circular Letter Guidelines for Test Taking, Follow-up and Informed Consent.
- Implement the protocol for relationships with territorial entities according to the provisions of the Circular Guide for relationships with authorities in the areas of influence of GEB and TGI.
- All project employees will be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) including face masks, gloves, safety glasses, jumpsuits and work clothes.
- The measures taken to ensure health and safety at work shall be published at the entrance of each work site.
- On construction sites where camps with temporary facilities, such as worker housing are available, all distancing, ventilation and cleaning and disinfection measures must be complied with.
- Each contractor must present, prior to restarting their activities, a Health Protocol Implementation Plan for the work sites with the strategies, alternatives and activities necessary to minimize or mitigate the transmission of COVID-19.
- Companies, through their contractors, must ensure compliance with specific biosecurity measures for security personnel (disposable face masks only if they are to be in contact with or within 2 meters of other persons).
- Develop a sectorial model based on areas or activities, establishing physical barriers or by defining a minimum space between people (2 meters to have isolated groups).
- Establish a schedule and management of activities to avoid staff fluctuations. To do this, work crews should be divided into groups to ensure that backup teams are always available to ensure work and business continuity.
- On a daily basis, prior to boarding the transportation vehicles, all workers will be tested for temperature, for which infrared thermometers should be used and all direct contact with workers should be avoided.
- Implement lunch and snack shifts to prevent crowds of people in those environments. A minimum distance of 2 meters between each person must be maintained at all times.
- Ensure permanent supply of soap, disposable towels and pedal-operated cans with single-use bags for waste disposal in portable toilets.
The Protocol for Reactivating Projects can be found at the website of Grupo Energía Bogotá.