Protecting our Kearl workforce from COVID-19


Protecting our Kearl workforce from COVID-19

There is nothing more important to us than the safety and health of our workforce and our communities. This is Imperial’s priority as we continue to take actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

After having no new cases of COVID-19 associated with our Kearl operation since mid-May, the site is no longer listed by Alberta Health as an outbreak location. We greatly appreciate the rapid response and outstanding support by Alberta Health Service, as well as the efforts by our workforce to adhere to all prevention measures, which has contributed to the prevention of new cases.

Despite this, however, we have not let our guard down. We will continue to adhere to strict preventative measures and safeguards at site. We continue to work closely with Alberta Health Service and other provincial authorities and are following their guidance.

Summary of proactive measures taken:

Since March, we proactively implemented and sustained stringent measures to ensure the safety of our team at Kearl:

  • pre-travel/access screening questionnaire and temperature screening at flight centres in Calgary and Edmonton administered by registered health professionals
  • enhanced cleaning and sterilization and ensuring social distancing
  • daily temperature readings for all individuals prior to the start of a shift
  • reduction of non-essential workforce
  • isolation protocols and continuous care for anyone not feeling well or has developed symptoms 
  • establishment of an isolation wing at Kearl
  • providing an emergency contacts for on-site assistance if an employee has symptoms, health concerns, or mental health support  
  • travel restrictions
  • reduced capacity on flights and buses to leave open seats and ensure physical distancing

Kearl has a healthcare facility on-site to provide care to any employees who may need it. A full list of these measures is available below.

Testing on site

  • In coordination with Alberta Health Services, Imperial is making COVID-19 testing available to all employees and contractors onsite regardless of whether they are showing any symptoms. This is in addition to the extensive measures we have taken since early March.
  • The testing is expected to start this week and take place over a number of days.
  • This testing is voluntary, however Imperial is encouraging all members of the workforce to participate. This testing will help reduce the potential spread of the virus through identifying asymptomatic cases.
  • We are fully supportive of this measure and this process will help collect data on how the virus is potentially spreading as well as gather possible insight into things like asymptomatic carriers.
  • Information like this is critically useful to help us get assurances on the health of our workforce and to assist the medical community further their understanding of the virus.
  • As we all know, COVID-19 is a difficult virus to track and contain which is why we are taking a rigorous approach to preventing the spread.
  • Testing will be overseen by AHS and administered onsite by medical health professionals.

Health screening protocols

  • Pre-travel/access screening questionnaire and participate in temperature screening at flight centres in Calgary and Edmonton. Flight center screening being administered by registered health professionals.
  • Applied AHS recommendations that all travelers returning to Canada from international locations must self-isolate and monitor for 14 days.
  • Daily chartered bus screening initiated with temperature screening.
  • Began onsite temperature screening - Daily temperature monitoring for all on site personnel. checking everyone as they leaving camp facilities or pass through the main security gate (phased approach to start, beginning with Wapasu.
  • Temperature monitoring upgraded to thermal imaging cameras.

Quarantine / Isolation dorms

  • Two wings at Wapasu camp are used for isolation and quarantine. One wing is for initial assessment and quarantine. The other wing is for isolating any confirmed cases.
  • The wings are single story and there is no shared entrance with general population.
  • Only staff who are trained and authorized, and who have required PPE, are permitted to enter the quarantine / isolation dorms.
  • If an individual is experiencing symptoms and is quarantined, they may be tested for COVID-19.
  • If a person is confirmed negative for COVID-19, they may only be released from self-isolation or quarantine under specific criteria as specified Alberta Health Services.
  • If they are confirmed positive for COVID-19, they will not be permitted to travel home on the scheduled charter or commercial transportation for the quarantine period due to the risk it presents to further spread of the disease.
  • If an individual has safe transport home without causing risk of transmission to others, release from quarantine at the site may be considered on a case by case basis.

Social distancing

  • Actively monitoring social distancing at camp and on the work site. Significantly increased amount of supervision, including contractor management in monitoring/managing in the camps
  • Restricted group gatherings / cancelled all training / postponing all non-essential travel to site
  • Closed fitness centers
  • Limited site personnel to business critical - asked all those who can perform a significant portion of their jobs from home to do so
  • Flight center seating adjusted to meeting personal distancing requirements
  • Bus transportation – implemented increased spacing (1 person per set of seats)
  • Initiated "to-go" and full service, pre-bagged lunches at the camps

Wapasu / Northsands

  • Dining spacing has been increased
  • Meal service no longer includes self-serve stations, foods pre-portioned or served by staff
  • Individually pre-packaged items with no self-serve items to choose from
  • Mandatory hand sanitization for all people entering dining halls/bag up rooms. Additional hand sanitizer stations have been placed before the dining hall; sinks for handwashing with soap have also been installed, security will be ensuring compliance

Flights / buses / passenger vehicles

  • Increased frequency and robustness of cleaning for both buses, airplanes and related passenger facilities; includes electrostatic disinfection fogging
  • Bus washrooms closed; available for emergency use only
  • Snack and served drink service suspended
  • Mandatory pre-flight screening has been implemented in Calgary and Edmonton, this includes temperature scanning and a questionnaire
  • Non-business critical meetings and training have been suspended (i.e. toolbox meetings). NOTE: Business units and contractors need to evaluate if meetings are business critical.
  • Reduced capacity on flights and buses to leave open seats and ensure physical distancing
  • Light duty vehicles must not have more than two people per vehicle. The passenger must position themselves in the rear passenger seat on the passenger side.
  • In passenger vans, no more than one person in a seat positioned one behind the other and no passenger sitting opposite of the driver.

General prevention

  • Daily sanitation of high use areas
  • Wapasu, North Sands and Acden Bee Clean continue to follow their outbreak cleaning procedures to support the prevention of illness
  • Diversified and Canadian North have increased their sanitization efforts to ensure safe environments for passengers
  • Regular/daily updates to all employees reinforcing messaging about personal distancing and personal hygiene/sanitization
  • Everyone is required to wear a mask or face covering at all times when outside their camp room.

The health and well-being of our team is our priority, and we continue to build upon these procedures based on guidelines from Alberta Health Services.

We understand the important role our employees play in this province. Energy industry workers are Alberta’s economic essential workers. Our team at Kearl is working to ensure Albertans and all Canadians receive the energy resources they need, safely, both during and after this unprecedented time. First and foremost, our focus remains on the health and safety of our workforce, their families and our communities.

Footage from Kearl’s voluntary COVID-19 testing program