Norman Wells and COVID-19
In this article
During these challenging times, the health and safety of our collective workforce and our communities remains Imperial’s top priority. Imperial’s emergency response organization has been engaged for several weeks to centrally oversee and coordinate our COVID-19 response, contingency planning and communications. Imperial is following the guidance from government authorities, including:
- Self-isolation protocols for employees with potential for exposure through travel or contact with someone exposed to COVID-19;
- Maintaining essential staff across our operations, while non-essential staff are asked to work from home;
- Restricting non-essential business travel and in-person meetings;
- Enhanced workplace cleaning protocols and increased hand-sanitizing stations in common areas.
The Norman Wells Incident Management Team continues to focus on protecting the health and safety of all personnel with a specific focus on minimizing on-site positive cases. While doing so, we are safely managing operations and business continuity through proactive planning and communicating with personnel on our preparation and response. Additional measures the Norman Wells Incident Management Team has taken include:
Travel to site
Imperial personnel and contractors are subject to pre-flight screening by medical professionals prior to travelling to site to start their rotation. We have established charter flights direct to and from Norman Wells.
Staying in camp
We have directed our resident employees to follow government guidance to stay home as much as possible. We have also directed our rotational personnel to remain at the camp during off hours and provided onsite fuel to prevent a need to travel into town. Additional measures have been put in place at onsite to segregate rotational workers from resident workers, and at the camp to limit interaction of the workforce with camp employees. The Camp Gym and lounge area have been closed.
The company has well-established business continuity plans in place to manage impacts related to infectious disease outbreaks. These include implementing appropriate self-quarantine restrictions. All workers showing any signs of illness must quarantine in camp or at home and be cleared by Imperial’s occupational health department before returning to work. We have taken steps to reduce our work activities, focusing on tasks such as operations surveillance, preparing for river break-up, critical facility maintenance and ensuring a reliable supply of power to our community. As a result we have reduced our rotational workforce by 40 per cent and nearly half of our resident employees are currently working from home.
Our operations continue to adhere to the highest of safety and environmental standards. Should the situation require us to shut down, we have developed plans to do so, however, carrying out those plans will result in the need for additional workforce at site. This is a decision we would make only after careful consideration.
Below are a few of the procedures we have put into place for all of our employees and contractors:
Norman Wells facility restrictions / Pre-travel health screening for employees and contractors
The following are restricted from entering Imperial/ExxonMobil Canada facilities and/or attending Imperial/ExxonMobil Canada meetings or events, even if held offsite, for a period of 14 days.
Any employee, visitor or contractor who has either (a) travelled for business or personal reasons outside of Canada or (b) has been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 must do the following:
- 1. Inform their supervisor, notify Medicine and Occupational Health (MOH) Department, and self-isolate and monitor for illness for 14 days from the last day of travel outside of Canada or the last day of contact with a COVID-19 case.
- a. Please contact MOH before the end of your 14-day self-isolation period to confirm your clearance to return to work.
- 2. If at any time during your 14-day self-isolation and monitoring period you develop symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing you should contact your local public health/ health care provider* immediately and follow normal absence reporting by calling
*Employees in Alberta are encouraged to use the AHS online-screening tool before calling 811
Imperial site access health screening protocol
Due to increased spread of COViD-19 and in order to prevent employees, visitors and contractors who are ill, or who may be at increased risk, from entering the Imperial worksite, site access health screening is in effect and will take place daily at designated Canadian North Flight Centres in Edmonton (Terminal 3), and at the Norman Wells CPF medical facility for those individuals traveling from Yellowknife.
- All workers and visitors will be required to:
- complete, sign and date the consent to participate and release of information attached;
- complete a pre-travel/access screening questionnaire and participate in temperature screening; measures will be taken to ensure privacy while undergoing screening
- Any worker who refuses to complete, sign and date the consent to participate and release of information attached or refuses to participate in the screening will be denied access to travel to site
- You have had any travel outside of Canada within in the last 14-days
- You have had close contact with a suspect or confirmed COVID19 case in the last 14 days
- Your temperature is at or above > 38o
- You are currently experiencing symptoms of fever, shortness of breath, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, or diarrhea
On-site preventative measures
We are encouraging staff to take the following preventative measures at our sites:
- Wash your hands often for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
- Avoid touching your face
- Where possible, apply social distance (two metres from other people)
- No face-to-face meetings with more than 10 people
- Gathering into large groups for meals is restricted.
- Eat at your desk, in your truck, or with your work team.
- No shaking hands
- Cover your mouth & nose with a tissue or your sleeve when coughing or sneezing
Imperial’s emergency support group will continue to monitor and assess the situation as it evolves to ensure we maintain a healthy work environment and the continuity of the business. Closely monitoring supply chains to our facilities and the delivery of our products to customers is a priority. There continues to be an extraordinary level of co-operation and communication among our employees, community partners, contractors, service providers, and customers. Imperial appreciates everyone’s commitment and patience with these efforts during this unusual and challenging time.
We recognize and appreciate that your focus is your members and keeping your community safe and informed through this dynamic and evolving situation.
We will continue to keep you updated on this site, and want you to know what Imperial is doing its part to limit the spread of COVID-19. If you have any concerns or questions please don’t hesitate to contact Lisa Duncan.