TBPP and TBE staff are required to be physically present to keep the plants running smoothly even as the virus alters day-to-day life on every level
By HARIZAH KAMEL
THE onset of Covid-19 proved to be a great global emergency and the impact it inflicts is beyond public health measures and management.
In dealing with the pandemic, other aspects also come into play. The pressure to maintain effective health services has never been more crucial, to which Malakoff Corp Bhd, a subsidiary of MMC Corp Bhd, has risen to the challenge.
While most businesses in Malaysia face disruption and are ordered to close, only essential services are allowed to operate.
As the company is an independent power producer, making it an essential services provider, two of Malakoff’s power plants located in Johor — namely Tanjung Bin Power Plant (TBPP) and Tanjung Bin Energy Plant (TBE) — have to stay the course no matter what.
Malakoff’s staff are dubbed as non-medical frontliners and any unwanted outcome such as disruption to electricity in the surrounding areas might and could cost lives, due to the dependency of hospitals and nursing homes on electricity.
Both power plants share common infrastructure such as coal-handling facilities, power evacuation, sea-water intake and other access facilities.
Measures to Safeguard Employees Amid Pandemic
With the virus plunging the country into a health crisis, which is a cause for concern, TBPP and TBE staff are required to be physically present to keep the plants running smoothly even as the virus alters day-to-day life on every level.
To do so, Malakoff diligently implements stringent standard operating procedures (SOPs) and responses that are required to ensure that their staff, who are also frontliners, are protected against Covid-19 while conducting their work.
The strict SOPs are imposed as part of the pre-cautionary measures and staff have diligently adhered to this new norm.
All staff, visitors and contractors who enter the plants have to undergo temperature scanning, where those above 37.5°C are not allowed to enter plant premises and must scan the MySejahtera QR code at the entrance as preparation for contact tracing.
Upon entering, workers don personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimise exposure to the virus, which may come without any warning as asymptomatic individuals can infect others.
This includes wearing face masks and face shields inside and outside of the office, enforcing frequent usage of sanitisers and wearing hand gloves where possible to reduce contact with people and contaminated surfaces.
To avoid gatherings, changes were made to the usual work arrangement and the staff were divided into two groups, namely one group working at the plant while the other working from home to maintain a maximum of 60%-80% capacity in adherence to the National Security Council’s SOPs.
Staff operating the plants must do so as per their shift and exercise physical distancing of 1.5m at all times. Concurrently, meetings were conducted in a safe manner via web, video or audio conferencing.
For TBPP, the company has until Tier 4 plan to deal with any uncertainty with regards to Covid-19 positive cases.
Preparing for the Worst
In the event a staff is suspected or confirmed to be Covid-19 positive, the course of action that follows is immediate isolation or quarantine for P2 and P3 categories, closing affected areas for disinfection or sanitising and engaging in contact tracing.
Additional measures taken for staff or non-staff such as contractors or visitors taking Covid-19 swab test before entering the plant, issuing
reminders during safety briefings on all the measures implemented, safety head officers to carry out frequent rounds of checking to ensure compliance and conducting disinfection of plant area periodically.
On the swab test measure, staff from other states and external contractors are required to do a swab test and are only allowed to enter the plant once the test showed a negative result.
Furthermore, the plant management cooperated with the local health authorities to schedule all staff and inhouse contractors for vaccination.
Providing Assistance to Local Communities
As Covid-19 drags on, more people are struggling to provide basic necessities for themselves and their families.
Realising that lockdowns and movement restrictions led to the closing of businesses en masse, which resulted in a high unemployment rate, Malakoff took the initiative in reaching out to communities near and far to extend some much-needed aid.
The company’s concern in helping out during a long period of adversity indicates its strong commitment to giving back to the various communities it serves.
Part of Malakoff’s corporate social responsibility is to hand over food packs and basic necessities, as well as donations to selected families who have been badly affected by the lockdown.
In addition to providing energy access to maintain health facilities near TBPP and TBE during the pandemic, the company’s plant managers contacted heads of surrounding communities to find out about their situation and needs, and have been keeping in touch with said communities.
In 2020 alone, the company provided Covid-19 aids to the people in Mukim Serkat, Pontian; handed over three washing machines to Pon- tian Community College, a quarantine centre for Covid-19 persons under investigation; contributed to the Health Ministry’s nursing training institutes in preparing PPE for frontliners in Muar and Johor; and delivered face masks and hand sanitisers to 15 schools in Mukim Serkat.
Outside of Johor, Malakoff’s assistance is visible throughout Malaysia including in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Perak, Penang, Sabah and Pahang.
The company continues to show its commitment to helping the needy this year by giving food boxes and baskets, and even contributed a unit of high-flow nasal cannula to Hospital Selayang’s Emergency Department.
For the most part, the company’s prompt adherence in carrying out its duty and providing various aids and support to communities have defined its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.