The health and well-being of our workers and nearby communities remains a core value. That’s an ethos we all live by every day, but it’s especially relevant at a time when the world is taking drastic measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We’re committed to do our part and are taking further definitive action to do so.
As such, we have made the tough decision to suspend normal operations at the site effective end of day shift today, night shift is also being suspended. We anticipate this being around one week in duration, but this has yet to be determined in detail – when it is, we will update you. In this rapidly changing environment, we are taking positive and assertive actions to strive to keep all work at our site within our control and resume as close to normal operations as soon as possible. During this suspension, the project leadership team is working to three key objectives to guide our decision making and we want to share them with you in full transparency:
- As far as we practically can, with the measures that are in our control to implement, we want to mitigate the risk of spread of COVID-19 within our workforce, and within the community in which we live and work. Accordingly, we are planning to accomplish the following during this period:
– Implement screening methods for individuals for risk factors before entering site
– Implement measures to physically reduce gathering densities and durations to prudent levels
– Deep clean and decontaminate the site and the busses, and going forward, implement sustainable hygiene levels that are maintained to a high standard, at all times
– Reinforce our abilities to provide proactive and responsive medical care, including determining potential exposures in the event of an illness
- We want to maximize continuity of employment in the long term, and we recognize the importance of the livelihood of everyone in our workforce.
– We want everyone in the workforce to recognize that the site is safe to work in
– In our decision making, we all must embody the Code of Excellence
– Strong collaboration with union, government and civic leaders, engendering support for us to continue our efforts
- We want to responsibly progress the project with these first two objectives in mind, and we will resume the work only when we are satisfied that these first two objectives are achieved. A decision to resume will depend on review and deployment of these additional mitigation measures and could depend on future circumstances that are unforeseeable at this time. Even then, our decisions and actions around the restart of work and ramp-up of resources will be defined by our confidence that the measures we are taking are sustainable. Decision criteria will be utilized to ensure transparency and high-decision quality.
There are going to be very selective essential resources working at the site starting from tomorrow morning, and the scope for this work has been developed by the construction leadership team. This will involve resources across the site, including Bechtel, GAB and several subcontractors. Any superintendent, field engineer, ES&H or labor relations who is required to report for duty will be notified by their Area Manager, Project Superintendent, GAB Operations or Site Manager this afternoon. Likewise, any subcontractors required to support this will be duly notified. Anybody required to come to work who normally parks and rides the bus should come to the red or green parking lot. People who normally park in the garage, should do that. Busses will be running to support a 7 a.m. start for everyone.
All other Bechtel and GAB non-manual personnel are to work from home with immediate effect, there are no exceptions to this. Timesheet instructions to follow from Project HR.
This temporary suspension is likely to be less than one week in duration, but everyone needs to understand that there could be some fluidity in this. We will be planning an effective re-start during this period, and we will advise our field non-manual resources separately in relation to when to report back to the site.
We’re proud of the over 8,000 people who have committed their time and expertise to one of the largest construction projects in the United States, and the first of its kind in Pennsylvania. The decision to pause the progress was not a decision we made lightly. But we feel strongly the temporary suspension of construction activities is in the best long-term interest of our workforce, nearby townships and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Our goal is to build a positive, decades-long legacy in the region. That means earning our right to live and work here every day; it also means caring for people. While understandably disappointing to many, we believe this decision honors that approach.