How Gladstone’s top industry giants will handle rising case numbers

Gladstone’s top industry giants have revealed how they would handle the influx of covid cases if workers are affected.

Eilish Massie

Gladstone’s top industry giants have revealed how they would handle the influx of covid cases if workers are affected.

Boyne Smelter Limited, Queensland Alumina Limited, Rio Tinto Yarwun and Gladstone Ports Corporation have enforced strict Covid-19 controls and protocols at their sites to ensure the safety of the community.

A Rio Tinto spokesperson said Rio Tinto was closely monitoring and reacting to developments around escalating COVID-19 case numbers in and around Gladstone.

“Our first priority remains the health and safety of our employees, contractors and the local community,” they said.

“At our Gladstone operations (BSL, QAL and Yarwun), strict Rio Tinto and Queensland Government COVID-19 controls and protocols that have ensured we have been able to safely operate throughout the pandemic continue to be enforced.”

According to Rio Tinto, these include rapid antigen testing for all work-related travel to site from outside the region and in other specific circumstances, as well as other onsite measures including good hygiene, social distancing and mask wearing when social distancing is not practical.

“In addition, we have enforced a number of controls across our operations including alternate teams or working from home arrangements, changes to vehicle and room occupancies, regular cleaning and disinfecting work areas and social distancing measures,” they said.

“BSL, QAL and Rio Tinto Yarwun all have detailed COVID-19 response plans in place designed to keep our people and the community safe, as well as ensure business continuity.”

Meanwhile a GPC spokesperson said GPC had several measures in place.

These included n effective program of communication and education, strict guidelines for cleaning, mandatory mask-wearing, hygiene, physical distancing, access control, screening questionnaires and Rapid Antigen Testing.

“(These measures) have contributed to maintaining the health and safety of all persons who access our facilities,” the spokesperson said.

“The health and safety of workers and the wider community remains a priority at Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) while the port maintains critical supply chains in the midst of the ever evolving pandemic.

“GPC continues to operate under the direction of the Australian and Queensland Governments and continues to work closely with Maritime Safety Queensland.”

The spokesperson said GPC had been successful in balancing the welfare of essential port workers, seafarers, tenants and service providers with the current economic and operational imperatives and remains proactive with its Crisis Management Team regularly assessing and actioning updates.

“GPC’s COVID Response Management Committee remains activated and meets regularly to conduct ongoing COVID monitoring, assessment and treatment recommendations for GPC’s business activities.”