DOE issues COVID-19 response protocol for energy sector

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Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi has signed the Administrative Order (AO2020-05-0001), which provides the response protocol for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

“It is imperative for the energy industry to observe a strict COVID-19 response protocol. Protecting the occupational health and safety of our employees is central to the unimpeded delivery of energy goods and services. As “backliners” during this pandemic, we must remain healthy to keep providing vital energy to all our frontliners,” Cusi was quoted in a statement.

The Task Force on Energy Resiliency (TFER) will be the implementing body of the policy, covering the DOE, its attached agencies, and all energy industry players.

Another responsibility of TFER is to ensure compliance to the issuance through the preparation of relevant checklists, daily monitoring toolkits, and the establishment of a feedback mechanism. 

The Protocol’s general framework is based on the following key interventions:

  1. Prevention – pertains to disease control; or the reduction of disease incidence, prevalence, morbidity, or mortality to a locally acceptable level, resulting from deliberate efforts and continued intervention measures. 
  2. Detection – pertains to disease surveillance; or the ongoing systematic collection, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of outcome-specific data for use in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of public health practice. 
  3. Isolation – pertains to the separation of ill or infected persons from others, to prevent the spread of infection or contamination. 
  4. Treatment – medical treatment, or the management and care of a patient for the purpose of combating disease, injury, or disorder. Restriction on activities is not considered treatment, unless the primary purpose of the restriction is to improve a worker’s condition through conservative care. 
  5. Reintegration to the Workforce – allowing employees with clean bills of health to return to the workplace. 
  6. Adapting to the “New Normal” – pertains to the necessary occupational changes that need to be implemented in the medium term, to ensure the unhampered delivery of energy good and services, while protecting employees in the workplace. 

The COVID-19 response protocol will be included in the respective Public Service Continuity Plans of DOE and its attached agencies, while industry players shall include it to their Business Continuity Plans, or their equivalent.