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Nova Scotia’s electrical power service provider has expanded its industry-leading health and safety program to help keep workers, contractors and customers safe during COVID-19.
“We are always focused on continuously improving our strong safety culture”, explains NSP Director-Safety Sean Brennan. “It’s something that everyone participates in, no matter where they work or what they do.”
As COVID-19 began to spread in Canada, Nova Scotia Power developed scenarios for all of its various work environments, to make sure every employee had a step-by-step plan for working safely. The company introduced new preventive measures across the business, including frequent hand washing, physical distancing of 2m/6ft, and self-monitoring for symptoms. New protocols were also put in place for contractors working at NSP facilities or alongside NSP employees, including a screening questionnaire to ensure contractors are symptom and exposure-free before entering a work site.
When the virus reached Nova Scotia, the team at NSP was ready and made changes to how they work to keep employees safe and healthy, while continuing to provide electricity service across the province. Following the guidance of provincial health authorities, the company restricted public visitors at depots and plants, suspended all non-essential services, ramped up its cleaning protocols and distributed additional PPE. Employees were directed to work from home or work separated shifts where possible.
For workers heading out to complete service or repair work, more precautions are required. Under these scenarios employees now safely travel to work sites in separate vehicles. They treat all surfaces as possibly contaminated and use latex or rubber gloves to do their work set up, before switching to safety gloves. Prevention protocols for emergency calls are even more rigorous. For these, employees are instructed to assume there’s a risk, and to wear face shields, masks and gloves. Other preventive measures at work sites include no hand shaking, frequent cleaning and no sharing snacks.
New measures are in place at NSP’s customer service centre too, where many employees are now working from home to reduce the volume of staff within the centre. Employees are regularly cleaning their workstations and headsets, maintaining a safe distance, and taking precautions when handling packages delivered to work.
A final important aspect to NSP’s approach is empowering employees to help and remind one another to work safely. “This is no different than the way we work together every day to identify and mitigate workplace hazards,” says Sean. “If you see something that has the potential to cause harm, speak up, tell the people you work with, and take action to remove or reduce the risk. We want everyone to view COVID-19 and their responsibility to take an active role in prevention the exact same way.”