Training sessions conducted; PPE distributed as GuySuCo enforces strict protocols for workers
— more lorries to be procured for transporting staff
DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Members of Region Five’s Regional COVID-19 task force, met on Wednesday to discuss measures implemented for the containment of COVID-19, in light of the region recently recording its first case.
Among key stakeholders present at the meeting was the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), General Manager for the Blairmont Sugar Estate in Region Five, Hutton Griffith.
He disclosed some of the proactive procedures that the company has adopted for COVID-19 protection. GuySuCo began implementing measures when Guyana recorded its first case in March; however, the measures have since been upgraded.
“As a company, we would have issued to our workers in excess of 18,000 face masks [the fabric type for workers], over 400 of the N-95 type for the medical staff, over 70 face shields for our medical staff, over 70 gowns for our medical staff,… surgical caps pairs, 16 pairs of long boots, over 40 coveralls for medical staff and we continue to issue these PPEs as required,” Griffith detailed.
Also, over 150 training sessions for the staff have been conducted by GuySuCo, with over 31 at the Blairmont Estate. To further educate staff, over 600 flyers, posters and notices have been distributed to workers and placed at entrance points.
Thirty-two thermal guns, inclusive of six at Blairmont, have also been secured by the company; this is being used to monitor persons who enter the complexes.
Over 5,000 litres of ethanol (300 litres at Blairmont) has been made available to staff and other persons, for sanitising purposes and more than 42 additional sanitisation stations installed.
Griffith said that the sugar company is also maintaining its commitment to transport their workers to and from work. The current mode of transportation are lorries, which are licensed to carry 60 persons. It was relayed that in March, the number would have reduced to 45 and then 30 in May. However, with 2,000 workers and only 18 vehicles, a new challenge presented itself.
“We operated in the first half with 18 lorries, and we have to move more than 2,000 workers; therefore our constraint is moving 2,000 workers in 18 lorries. So, we had an issue in the first half of this year which was from January to June when we were harvesting… And now that we’ve started our second half, we have moved towards employing and engaging additional lorries… But it’s not easy to go on the road and pick up a lorry; it takes roughly about $2Million for somebody to convert a lorry to transport labour,” Griffith explained.
The lorries are sanitised before and after picking up workers, who are mandated to wear face masks and sanitise upon entry. Griffith said a conductor has been placed on lorries to ensure that workers follow the precautions.
A rotation system has also implemented to limit the amount of office and factory workers. To minimise crowds, lorries are also equipped with a schedule so that workers do not all arrive on the estate at the same time.