Tata Steel issues guidelines for the ‘new normal’

Face masks, sanitisation, regular disinfection, social distancing and touchless sign-in and sign-out are just a few of the changes that employees can expect on returning to work.

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Manufacturing major, Tata Steel (TSL), has issued guidelines to all employees and staff in the Company highlighting the changes to expect when they return to work. Standard operating guidelines have been issued for everyone, beginning from the communications team to the housekeeping staff within the organisation.

The document describes in detail the measures Tata Steel is undertaking to break the spread of the virus and ensure a safe and healthy environment for all stakeholders including trainees, visitors, transporters and suppliers, who are a part of the organisation’s ecosystem. The guidelines will be applicable to all establishments under TSL, such as office buildings, plant factories, project sites, regional and sales offices, mines and collieries, stockyards and any other premises operated by the Company.

To ensure that all personnel are aware of the new mandates, information pertaining to protection and prevention shall be displayed at all entrances, workplaces and common spaces. Advisories, which will be circulated by the management from time to time, will also be displayed. To ensure that rules are complied with, cross-functional audits will be carried out periodically.

The entrance gates, staircases, lifts, surfaces of walls, sinks, and taps till the parking spaces and guest facilities are to be sanitised. Disinfection chambers will be installed at strategic places identified by the management. In addition, all personnel shall be provided protective equipment including aprons, shoes, masks, gloves, goggles and sanitisers as per the requirement.

Thermal screening and mandatory disinfection upon entry shall be the new normal.

Sanitisers will be installed at every entry point for officer goers. People in the plant with a water source nearby, will be able to use hand wash to clean their hands. Bus drivers as well as the housekeeping staff and office boys within the offices, will have to follow the strictest rules for safety as they are constantly in contact with everyone.

Biometrics are a thing of the past now. Radio frequency identification cards (RFID) will be the standard issue from now on and will be provided to all employees, including contract hires, to ensure touchless sign-in and sign-out.

For entering and exiting the workplace, employees have been asked to use personal vehicles, if available, and wear masks at all times. Social distancing has to be maintained on Company buses, and public transport is to be altogether avoided.

Inside the offices and plants, social distancing will be the norm at all times, especially in areas where there is a chance of crowding, such as bus stands. Physical meetings and hard copies are to be avoided as far as possible. Instead, the use of video calls, teleconferencing and soft copies of documents will be preferred. In the event that a physical meeting is unavoidable, the prescribed one-metre distance will have to be maintained from fellow workers.

In the cafeteria premises, health of the canteen workers will be periodically checked and the kitchen premises will be sanitised regularly. Till the situation improves, employees have been asked to bring home-cooked food.

At the project sites as well, social distancing of one metre at all times and avoidance of mass meetings is to be practised. It shall be duty of the contractors to ensure the required precautionary measures, disinfection, provision of sanitisers and social distancing are all followed.

Strict orders have been issued for the labour colonies on project sites as well. To ensure that these workers do not have to travel for essentials, they will be provided with required food items and adequate water, in addition to face masks and sanitisers. Moreover, all areas around the colonies will be sanitised and cleared every day. Doors, windows and other high-touch areas will be disinfected regularly.

All labourers will be tested for symptoms and a quarantine hall, along with a vehicle, will be made available for emergency purposes. A special team comprising HR, contractor site in-charge along with others, will visit the sites regularly and submit a report to the project head.

The Company has issued guidelines for the hospitals, which are being maintained by it.

Here, Tata Steel has issued guiding principles pertaining to two scenarios – first in the case of partial relaxation and the second in the event of complete opening up of lockdown and for a post-COVID scenario. In the former case, all activities such as screening, isolation and testing are to remain operational as in the present. In addition, homemade masks are to be used in place of medical masks.

If there is complete lift of lockdown, then hospitals shall return to a pre-COVID arrangement with permission from management. However, lessons learnt from the pandemic shall remain. Social distancing, virtual meet-ups, disinfection and sanitisation shall be the new normal.