The Ministry of State Assets is monitoring the situation in coal companies

Before the state of epidemic and previously the state of epidemic emergency was introduced, the Ministry of State Assets requested mining companies to take actions in order to limit the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

I have obligated all the mining companies to take decisive measures to reduce the risk of transmission and spread of the coronavirus – said Adam Gawęda, Secretary of the State at the Ministry of State Assets and the Government’s Representative for Restructuring the Coal Mining Sector.

The companies complied with the vice-ministers instructions by introducing new work organization rules in mines and mining companies. Such activities include, among others: limiting any briefings, meetings and conferences to the necessary minimum; running a permanent information campaign on the appropriate conduct; measuring the temperature of employees coming to work; creating a list of employees that are needed to ensure operation of a mine at the minimum level; ensuring strict oversight over the supply of personal protective equipment to employees, informing employees returning from abroad about the obligation to contact the Epidemiological and Sanitary Station or designating special places for people suspected of being infected. At the same time, coordinators were appointed in all mines who are obligated to inform the OHS office in head offices about any event that could increase the hazard.

The state of coronavirus epidemic obligates management boards of companies to take continuous preventive actions and sometimes difficult decisions – said vice-minister Adam Gawęda.

Mining companies have appointed crisis management teams to decide on further actions to be taken within companies, introduction of restrictions and changes in the organization of work and ensuring the necessary quantity of personal protection equipment and disinfectants.

The vice-minister strongly emphasized that every mine has its own unique features, technical and operational conditions, so the organization of work and methods used to protect the mines will be within the purview of mine directors – Heads of Mine Operations.

If a special emergency situation arises then, in order to ensure safety, the possibility of quartering people with specific competence is considered, including the personnel operating shaft equipment, dispatchers and specialists, or the people holding the necessary certifications.

In each mine, this is from several dozen to more than one hundred employees. Such instances will be considered by management boards of companies based on a request from a mine director. The crew related directly to production would not be quartered.

During the meeting of the special emergency team, we agreed on the framework guidelines for all mining companies. However the detailed work organization rules for individual mines and mining companies will be defined by mine directors, subject to the approval of management boards of the companies – vice-minister Gawęda added.

In recent days, Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa adopted new organization rules at the crisis management team meeting, switching from a four-shift to a three-shift system, while adjusting the work time to include the breaks necessary for disinfection of shower rooms and mine lamp distribution areas.

This decision followed from an in-depth analysis and was required due to the situation in individual mines. Let me reiterate that each mining company is different and has its own set of conditions. This is why the crisis management teams have the powers to take ultimate decisions and measures in their companies to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus – said Adam Gawęda, Secretary of the State at the Ministry of State Assets.

The crisis management teams established in mining companies report on their activities to the Ministry of State Assets on an ongoing basis. The Ministry emphasizes that its senior officials remain in touch with the management boards of the companies.

In the times of crisis related to the coronavirus epidemic, it is critical to react quickly and decisively. I would like to express my gratitude to all employees, management and management boards of the companies for their responsibility and involvement in the actions to ensure safety of miners and mines – said Adam Gawęda, Secretary of the State at the Ministry of State Assets and the Government’s Representative for Restructuring the Coal Mining Sector”.