Cement Company sets up free COVID-19 test facility for staffSaturday, March 06, 2021
BY ARTHUR HALL
Caribbean Cement Company Limited (CCCL) has established a free COVID-19 testing facility at its Rockfort plant to serve its staff who suspect they might have contracted the virus.
General manager of CCCL, Yago Castro, yesterday told the Jamaica Observer that the free COVID-19 testing is part of the effort by the company to help its staff deal with the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“We have taken this [COVID-19] very seriously. Health and safety is the first priority of our company and we have been applying different measures at different levels. As you get to the plant you can see that we have temperature checks and if you do not have a mask, you are given one and we explain what you can and cannot do,” said Castro.
He told the Observer that the company has established 52 protocols to prevent the spread of the virus in the plant and these have been relatively successful.
“Nothing rocket science but we are adhering to the rules, keeping distance, wearing masks, cleaning and disinfecting our facilities every day. We have hired a company that specialises in deep cleaning and sanitising of our premises on a daily basis, and we take measures at every level to contain this terrible virus,” added Castro.
He noted that back office staff, administrative personnel and others in areas such as human resources have been working from home for months and this will continue for some time.
Castro said people working from home have been provided with an allowance of up to US$500 to ensure that they have all the resources they need.
According to Castro, while production personnel have been working at the plant, every effort is being made to keep them safe.
“Unfortunately we have had, and we are still having, some COVID cases which we are dealing with. We are immediately tracking them, contact tracing and isolating them while keeping direct contact with the Ministry of Health.
“We also quarantine them for the two weeks and we are not bringing them back until they are officially freed from the quarantine by the Ministry of Health. Fortunately, due to the protocols, the number of cases have been low and have not affected our production,” said Castro.
Last year CCCL achieved record production levels of 940,000 metric tonnes of cement in spite of the pandemic, and Castro said this was in big part due to the commitment of its staff.
Against the background, Castro said the company is committed to doing everything to help the staff and their families through this difficult period.
“At the start of the pandemic I told you that we would not take the opportunity to lay off people, do any restructuring or try to save cost by cutting any of their benefits or salaries. That is not our business model and we do not believe in that. In fact, it was the other way around where we supported our workforce and they can tell you that. We paid for anyone who wanted to be tested before we started the free testing here,” he said.
Castro said the company spent US$200,000 (almost $30 million) on COVID-19 care packages for staff, their families and residents in neighbouring communities to the plant last year.
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