COVID 19 our safety protocols - Sonae Arauco

COVID 19 our safety protocols

COVID 19 our safety protocols…COVID 19 and the subsequent lockdown have had a massive effect on the wood-based decorative panel industry as a whole.

It has completely changed the way we do things at Sonae Arauco. These are the measures we’ve taken to ensure the safety of our staff and customers so that we can continue to produce our high-quality boards.

Although the global scale and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic took us all by surprise, due to the fact that Sonae Arauco is a global company, with offices located in some of the most hard-hit countries in Europe, we were lucky enough to have a bit more foresight than other local companies when it came to figuring out a comprehensive pandemic game plan that would ensure the safety of our employees.

Even before we in South Africa headed into lockdown on the 26th of March, our head office in Maia, Portugal, had already begun compiling a comprehensive list of information which analysed the risk the virus posed and how it would affect the business as a whole – as well as formulating a plan as to how they would proceed and which functions were needed in order for the business to remain operational. From there a guide of health and safety protocols was created which the intention of training and educating employees on the role of individual behaviours would have on the spreading of the virus, the evolution of the virus, the importance of cleaning and sanitisation for both our offices and industrial plants, the rules for visitors and travel policies.

Although our head offices in South Africa have remained closed since the onset of lockdown, with the majority of our commercial staff still working from home; the gradual easing of lockdown has resulted in us being able to reopen our factory and, as such, we have implemented our own health and safety protocols, as well as implementing all of the government’s stringent regulations and guidelines regarding occupational safety protocols at all of our workplaces. This is to ensure that our staff and visitors are safe when visiting or working at any of our premises. Furthermore, each of our sectors have a comprehensive COVID-19 prevention and mitigation plans, risk assessment and protective measures in place.

Here’s how we’re keeping our staff safe:

  • Our staff are being educated on the virus, how it spreads and its prevention
  • All staff members and permanent service providers will be trained on the health and safety procedures that we have implemented.
  • Information regarding the virus and various procedures in place will be available to all staff at all times, including COVID-19 hotline details.
  • Vulnerable staff members have been identified and adequate protective measures are in place for these members.
  • Staff members, as well as visitors, will be screened upon entry – including having their temperature taken – and will not be allowed in without screening.
  • Monitoring systems are in place to identify sick or potentially ill staff members, as well as the correct disaster management procedure to follow should an infected person be identified.
  • All staff, suppliers, contractors and members of the public will be required to wear cloth masks at all times in order to enter the premises.
  • All surfaces and equipment in both our offices and factories must be thoroughly cleaned in order to meet government’s health and safety standards
  • Good ventilation, including the necessary filters, must be present at all our premises.
  • Social distancing will be observed by all employees at the workplace with no physical contact allowed.
  • Social distancing of at least 1.5m must occur at workspaces.

With these measures in place we hope to create a safe working environment that protects our staff as well as any visitors that come to our premises. This will enable us to continue to produce the high-quality wood-based decorative panels that we are known for, despite the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.