Power sector ordered to designate quarantine areas for infected workers

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THE Department of Energy (DoE) said the power sector will be required to set aside quarantine areas in the event its personnel are suspected of being infected by the coronavirus, in order to minimize disruption to the operations of the essential industry.

According to the DoE’s 30-page protocol for responding to a possible coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, the industry has been ordered to designate a quarantine facility or room for any workers suspected of having been exposed to COVID-19 or other infectious diseases pending confirmation tests.

The protocol supplements a Department of Health order outlining the minimum health standards for COVID-19 mitigation in the power industry.

The DoE’s COVID-19 Response Protocol calls on the industry to focus on prevention, detection, isolation, treatment, reintegration into the workforce, and adopting to the “new normal.”

According to an administrative order issued on May 21, a DoE task force on energy resiliency will implement the protocol, “including the alignment of necessary funds and procurement of needed equipment and services and other needs.”

The DoE and its agencies are expected to prepare a Public Service Continuity Plan incorporating the response protocol.

The industry must also integrate the protocol into their business continuity plans.

The power industry is deemed essential and is required to continue operating during quarantine, with its employees issued checkpoint passes to ensure unimpeded movement to and from work. — Adam J. Ang