Navigating Site Visits During A Once-in-a-Lifetime Pandemic

With this unprecedented situation, the mining industry is slowly and cautiously re-opening mine sites to ensure they are safe and sterilized for the workforce. SRK Consulting began to conduct site visits for some of their clients and defined clear site safety plans in advance, in which they practiced all the appropriate measures to ensure the highest levels of hygiene possible. Keeping a social distance of two meters, encouraging everyone to arrive in separate cars and foreseeing potential situations when interacting in common areas were among the basic measures taken. Below are other important aspects to consider when conducting a site visit.

Navigating Site Visits During A Once-in-a-Lifetime Pandemic

Everyone kept more than 2m away for distancing measures

Everyone drove out to site in their own vehicle = 11 cars and trucks in this case

Site Visit Tips

  • Flexibility is Key – knowledge and understanding about COVID-19 are subject to change as new data and guidance becomes available
  • Stakeholder Consideration – other requirements may exist from Health Departments, Government Agencies, Client, etc.; its not just your own company’s policies to consider
  • Prior to Visit

— Check for travel restrictions – state, provincial, national level, etc.
— Quarantine periods – bear in mind you may need to quarantine yourself upon entering a new country, and then again at home upon return, and the personal/professional impact this may have on you
— Quality of local health services – repatriation may be time-consuming and expensive. Is the work you are there to do placing unnecessary  burden on local health practioners?
— Medical insurance – are medical services (including repatriation) covered by insurance if related to COVID-19?
— Review and approve site safety plans – raise concerns if need be
— Consider the types of locations visited at site  – offices, camps, cafeterias, vehicles, other shared spaces
— Accommodations – are alternate accommodations available if concerns with site accommodation plans exist?

  • Travel to Site

— Rent vehicles from firms using COVID-19 sterilization procedures
— Limit vehicle occupancy to one person
— Minimize vehicle transfers
— Practice good hygiene en route

  • On Site

— Conduct daily COVID-19 self-checks and advise site staff – isolate immediately if you are symptomatic
— Disinfect frequently touched surfaces – ensure cleaners are of sufficient strength; SRK recommends >60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol alcohol
— Use PPE when physical distancing is not possible – PPE is not a substitute for personnel isolation or engineering solutions
— Avoid sharing equipment and tools if possible – disinfect regularly and wear PPE if they must be shared
— If using masks, they should be fit tested to ensure adequate seal – full-face mask with cartridge, mask with filter, N95 mask, etc.