Molson Coors Fraser Valley : Putting the COVID-19 safety plan in place
Creating a cross-functional group to assess and manage risks
Fast action and constant communication kept two of three production lines running at Molson Coors Fraser Valley Brewery in Chilliwack during the worst of the COVID-19 outbreak in March and April. One line — beer kegs — shut down only because demand disappeared when pubs and bars closed.
"We kept up with our bottles and can lines," Hema Chidambaram, the company’s environmental, health and safety manager, says proudly.
The brewery began implementing its COVID-19 continuity plan in early March. "Our number one priority was to look at areas where we could eliminate public gatherings," says Chidambaram. Public tours, the gym, and the on-site pub were closed. All meetings were moved online.
"The next plan was to look through job categories to see if people could do their work from home." As a result, 50 percent of the workforce was able to work remotely.
After implementing physical distancing, workers on site were given masks and face shields for any tasks that needed to be done in close proximity.
The company also sent their workers home with care packages containing sanitizer and masks. "We need to protect their family," Chidambaram explains.
All departments had a hand in handling issues such as sourcing personal protective equipment, reviewing the protocols, and helping to approve the disinfectant sprays and hand sanitizers for production floors. "You don’t want to contaminate your beer with the disinfectant you’re using," she points out.
Today, anyone coming to the plant — including employees — undergoes a temperature screening before entering. Temperature screenings are not a mandatory control, but Chidambaram notes that the tests have helped identify a few people who had mild symptoms and allowed them to go home and rest. Hand washing is emphasized. Separate washrooms are dedicated to truck drivers who make deliveries.
A COVID-19 committee meets daily online to share information. "It’s a cross-functional group, with employees, management, and people on the floor," Chidambaram says.
So far, all the planning and implementation has been a success — the brewery had zero confirmed COVID-19 cases — because management and workers collaborated. "Think like an employer when writing your program. Think like a supervisor when implementing the program and think like an employee to know the difficulties and challenges they will face," she advises.
Read about what other employers have been doing to implement the COVID-19 safety plan in WorkSafe Magazine.