Alcoa takes measures to reduce risk

Jacinta CantatoreHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Alcoa Willowdale community relations manager Scott Hansen tunes in to a meeting with other Willowdale team members.
Camera IconAlcoa Willowdale community relations manager Scott Hansen tunes in to a meeting with other Willowdale team members. Credit: supplied.

It is business as “unusual” in most sectors at the moment, and operations at Alcoa’s Wagerup refinery are no different.

The company, which employs about 3800 people across the South West, took immediate steps to continue operating through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wagerup refinery manager Adam Gilbert said the company recognised the need for a stringent and conservative approach to dealing with the pandemic right from the outset.

“Not only are we dealing with health of our employees and contractors, but also the wellbeing of local communities both from a medical perspective and also an economic perspective,” Mr Gilbert said.

“There is no room for error or complacency.”

With jobs ranging from office work to field-based, Mr Gilbert said each job at the site was assessed to work out how to eliminate, minimise or manage the risks.

“This has resulted in a very wide range of actions that continue to be reviewed and revised as needed,” he said.

“Previously it was common for supervisors across our refinery to meet up in person each day.

“This is now being done online, even where people have an office within walking distance.”

Cleaning schedules have been increased at the facility, sanitiser has been made available in vehicles and common areas, rules on ride sharing in vehicles have changed and shift schedules have been changed to limit interaction time between crews.

Focussing strongly on social distancing, some team members are now working from home if their work can be done remotely.

“I can appreciate how difficult this has been for our employees to change long-held habits, but their support has been first class in helping keep us all safe and maintain operations at this time,” Mr Gilbert said.

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