Upon the news of confirmed local cases of coronavirus in Azerbaijan, the SOCAR Polymer company developed a business continuity plan and undertook appropriate actions to minimize the likelihood of transmission and exponential growth of the disease.
On March 17, the HR department shared the list of employees allowed to work from home through application of telecommunication technologies. The IT department ensured security and convenience of such distant work. An all-staff email informed our employees in detail about the virus features, effective ways of protecting individuals and the work community from respiratory virus spreading, the phone numbers of the site doctor, and the outbreak hotline number.
The instructions to be followed by all employees required:
• avoidance of crowding;
• avoidance of close contact, e.g. handshaking, hugging, etc.
• avoidance of direct contact with frequently touched objects and surfaces, including touching of eyes, nose and mouth without prior washing of hands;
• frequent washing of hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
• use of 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable;
• decontamination of frequently touched objects;
• staying home if sick with any contagious disease;
• covering coughs or sneezes with a tissue with immediate disposal of the latter.
Any signs of seasonal diseases or slightest suspicion of coronavirus infection required reporting of such to line managers or the HSE department.
Starting from March 16, by order of the company management, the canteen at the production facility served food with disposable dishes and cutlery. Respiratory masks were distributed to all employees in company shuttle buses and at the facility entrance gate. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer dosing containers were placed at the entrances to all the office premises. Masks, gloves and sanitizing gel were made easily accessible to all incoming service vehicles and warehouse truck drivers. Violation of the instruction to wear masks at all times within the site or on shuttle buses entailed appropriate punitive measures and deprivation from bus/site access rights.
On March 18, face masks were announced a mandatory minimum PPE, indoor or outdoor, at meetings or within smaller groups of people. The masks were distributed by the company, requiring replacement every 48 hours.
The production site and office premises, including hallways, Control Room, and outdoor gate entrances, underwent daily cleaning under an approved disinfection plan. Employees were instructed to perform the common hygiene procedures outside of the working hours or premises, as well.
On March 25, it was announced that work from home would continue for most of the employees, while the production facility would be manned at the minimum requirement level to enable isolation from risk of as many of the employees as possible.
Such early, bold and effective actions by SOCAR Polymer reduced short-term risks to employees and long-term costs to business and, in the long run, the domestic economy. Prevention is both easier and more cost-effective for an exponentially growing process, and this health emergency requires effective action by the company and active cooperation of individuals.
Health and well-being of every employee and citizen is of great value. We call upon everyone not to jeopardize it!