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Steel majors are leaving little to chance in the battle with Covid-19

These firms operate plants, mines, stockyards and retail outlets across multiple locations in different countries and are scrambling to secure safety of personnel and maintain business continuity.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Mar 18, 2020, 10.52 PM IST
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Coronavirus
Mining major NMDC has allowed employees to work from home, while enforcing quarantine for recent travellers to affected countries, according to an internal circular.
From setting up crisis management groups (CMG) to circulating, curbs on non-essential travel, disabling biometric attendance checks, thermal scanners at entry gates, restricting vendors and visitors, including prospective interview candidates, steel majors like Tata Steel, ArcelorMittal, JSW Steel, JSPL, SAIL are leaving little to chance in the battle with the Covid-19 threat.

These firms operate plants, mines, stockyards and retail outlets across multiple locations in different countries and are scrambling to secure safety of personnel and maintain business continuity.

All the companies have put in strict travel advisories in place, discouraging non- essential travel and this applies to both domestic and international sectors.

Movement of employees by public transport, even for work related commute, is being discouraged. Instead, they are being encouraged to pool in private vehicles or being provided company transport to minimise risk of infection.

Social distancing, apart from other measures, is a key step being followed in ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India (AM/NS India).

"We are maintaining at least one-metre gap between employees during any interaction and all travel, even to office, is being totally discouraged.

Visitor entry has also been curtailed," an AM/NS India spokesperson said.

JSW Steel and Tata Steel has also restricted visitor entry. While gatherings, even inside the cafeteria, is discouraged in most companies. Some like JSPL, have gone to the extent of discouraging use of lifts advising people instead to use stairs.

JSW Steel and JSPL have formed a CMG and Tata Steel a COVID-19 Medical Task Force to "review the medical preparedness in terms setting up of quarantine centres, isolation wards at Tata Steel hospitals in Jamshedpur and in mines across Jharkhand and Odisha," a spokesperson said.

Companies have also ensured availability and mandatory use of hand sanitisers across all units and locations globally. All facilities are being disinfected and fumigated at regular intervals with deep cleaning of premises over the weekends.

"These are extraordinary times. We are taking all necessary safety precautions and sending out advisory to our employees across locations on the dos and dont's, taking content from India's health ministry, WHO guidelines and CDC," Rahul Taneja, chief HR officer, JSPL said. This involves JSPL'S ten locations across India and five international sites.

Drawn from leadership teams of business operations, HR, and facilities, JSPL's CMG is being tasked with both preventive action and crisis mode action.

A webpage acessible from JSPL Connect portal, has been developed for all employees to access information on prevention of contagion. Companies are also mandating self quarantine for employees with recent travel history to Italy, Iran, China and Spain.

In most companies, supplier and customer management, procurement, logistics and sales & marketing leaders have been instructed to identify essential suppliers, prepare business continuity measures and activate alternative suppliers.

Operating units and mills have been instructed to create awareness, especially among workers and contractual workforce, through posters as well as prepare mitigation plans. "All our global locations have been advised to follow the instructions,"JSPL said.

At Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), individual plants are creating mass awareness on Covid-19. "All SAIL hospitals have been prepared with isolation wards and quarantine facilities.

Things are being monitored on a daily basis," a spokesperson said.

Mining major NMDC has allowed employees to work from home, while enforcing quarantine for recent travellers to affected countries, according to an internal circular.

Gyms, spas and swimming pools in company guest houses have been closed till further advice. In residential townships, employees have been advised against holding social gatherings and snuggling pets.Digital information kiosks across Tata Steel have been disabled and it has created a helpline number and a query link for addressing queries of employees and their families on real-time basis.
(Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)
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