Following the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) release of expanded, comprehensive guidance for creating COVID-19 safe mining and cement manufacturing environments, Portland Cement Association (PCA) Senior Vice President, Government Affairs Sean O’Neill released the following statement:
“Protecting our workforce during the COVID-19 emergency has been job number one for U.S. cement manufacturers. The men and women of the cement industry, from our quarries to our cement plants and shipping operations, are designated as Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers. PCA and its member companies are committed to protecting miners and their families while continuing to provide critical building materials needed to maintain and improve our nation’s vital infrastructure.”
Over the last year, cement facilities have instituted comprehensive mitigation strategies tailored to the unique footprint and diverse range of operations across each facility. These strategies have drawn from the valuable and evolving guidance provided by MSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control.
The expanded MSHA guidance details key measures for limiting the coronavirus’s spread, including ensuring infected or potentially infected employees are not in the workplace, implementing and following physical distancing protocols, and using surgical masks or cloth face coverings. It also provides guidance on use of personal protective equipment, improving ventilation, good hygiene and routine cleaning.
The new guidance will provide cement facilities and miners with another valuable and flexible resource in adapting to the constantly changing COVID-19 threat, noted PCA.
MSHA will continue to update this guidance as developments in science, best practices and standards warrant.