Neighbourly support helps Syncrude protect workers during the pandemic

Neighbours helping each other are great neighbours indeed. 

And that’s how the relationship between Syncrude and Goodfish Lake can be summed up as they both faced the challenges of a global pandemic.

It all started as a measure to protect employees, Elders and members of the Goodfish Lake community and morphed into a business opportunity to supply materials needed to strengthen workplace pandemic protocols.

Tom Jackson, CEO of Goodfish Lake Business Corporation, says back in spring when the restrictions began, the company decided to take a proactive step. The company made masks for its employees to protect each other from the spread of COVID-19.

We were looking at all our protocols around the pandemic. We decided, just to get ahead of the curve a bit, that we would make masks for our employees. At the same time, we thought, we should give them to the elders here in the community. We wound up giving some to the community as well.

– Tom jackson

From making them for in-house and community use, Goodfish Lake staff got ample practice and training on making masks that when Syncrude came calling, the company was able to quickly send samples which led to an order of nearly 50,000 masks.

In late April, Syncrude transitioned to mandatory mask use and personal barrier use following a directive issued by the Alberta Health Services that wearing a non-medical mask may help prevent the spread of the virus.

However, wearing one does not relieve workers of the responsibility to stay at home if they are ill nor from practicing the required physical distancing of six-feet from each other.

It simply serves as an additional measure to help protect from direct person-to-person transmission and from possible work-surface contamination.

As more employees are returning to work, the company’s mask protocol has evolved: When you’re moving, you’re masked. That’s the rule of thumb all workers at Syncrude sites follow.

The blue masks in use at Syncrude are made of Ultrasoft – Hazard Risk Category 2 which is a fire-retardant (FR) material that’s suitable for all areas requiring FR materials.  In other areas of Syncrude, workers can choose to use these or any other personal barrier that covers their nose and mouth.

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