Maintaining Mills Safely in the COVID Era


The large tent-like structure might have suggested a festive, circus-like event. But in fact it had a very serious purpose:  to house daily meetings of the many contractors who were on-site at our Skookumchuck mill during a multi-day, COVID-era maintenance shutdown in September 2020.

All of our operating mills in BC had major maintenance shutdowns during the fall and into the winter of 2020/21. An opportunity to carry out major projects that cannot be done during regular operations, these are routine but mammoth undertakings. At our Howe Sound mill in remote Port Mellon, for example, the shutdown involved 650 contract workers. And everything had to be orchestrated under COVID-compliant procedures and fluid public health guidelines.

Skookumchuck’s tent was one response. While chilly on fall mornings, it provided adequate space for distancing and good air flow. Other revised procedures and protocols included hand washing and sanitizing stations, stepped-up janitorial procedures, increased signage, re-configured physical spaces and movement patterns, and staggered crew scheduling. Contractors had to submit their own protocols for approval before coming on site.

This was combined with clear communication to contractors of expectations of COVID-safe conduct while offsite in mill communities, and informing local residents of the precautionary measures in place. The mills collaborated on COVID best practices and the shutdowns were consistently performed without any resulting cases. 

Would you like to learn more about our recent performance and our long-term vision? Visit the Sustainability Report page on our website.
There you can read our full 2019-2020 Sustainability Report, the four-page summary report, and our Practices and Perspective on-the-ground stories.