The health and safety of our employees, partners, suppliers, and customers will always be our top priority.MARCH 25, 2020
Due to the ongoing and dynamic coronavirus-related events across the globe, locally and here at our critical industry manufacturing plant, we intend to keep everyone apprised of our ever-evolving safety related measures.
Yesterday union leaders from USW Local 139 and the PPMA met with Teresa Hogan, Director of HR, and Dave Faust, EH&S Facilities Manager, to add additional steps to a frequently updated action plan that includes facility tours to check, enforce and improve safety measures.
During today’s facility tour of every department we plan to speak with more employees to add fresh insights to our plan and ensure that safety measures, like maintaining safe working distances, continue to be met. Columbia Steel’s Emergency Response Coordinators and Safety Committee will help with compliance.
A phased series of department pauses has been implemented to protect the health and well-being of our employees. Since this may cause a two to three-week delay in shipments to our customers, we did not make this decision lightly. But by implementing a rolling schedule of two week pauses through the production process, we hope to lessen the impact. The intention is to have only one major process down at a time. Our Customer Service and District Manager teams will communicate with customers whose delivery will be impacted.
Without safeguarding the health of our employees, we might not have been able to maintain the high level of quality our customers expect and are used to — therefore we believe this decision is also aligned with our customers’ long-term best interests.
These are challenging times for everyone, but if we pull together, we can get through this.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Columbia Steel has been proactively implementing several new steps to protect our employees from COVID-19 over the course of weeks. In doing so we’re ensuring customer demands are met in a safe and productive manner.
Today, Governor Kate Brown’s newest executive order deemed manufacturers as essential business, with The Oregonian reporting “the governor’s announcement specifically exempted construction and manufacturing, two economic pillars.” Therefore, we will continue operations while following strict safety measures.
Not only is employee protection our duty, protecting the American public is another duty as the Department of Homeland Security has recognized steel foundries as critical infrastructure. As such, we will endeavor to ensure that production and all essential services provided by Columbia Steel are maintained while keeping our employees safe within our workplace.
By expanding remote work access for employees via ConnectWise and video conferencing capabilities, most office employees are moving towards working remotely this week until the situation clears up. Those that must come in for non-digital materials will be allowed to do so during a pre-designated time so that employee access is staggered.
The safety measures Columbia Steel implemented over the past several weeks include:
>> While foundry employees typically work spread apart from each other, they have been abiding by strict social distancing guidelines.
>> All employees have been instructed to stay home if they, or others in their households, are showing any signs of illness.
>> Non-essential travel has been eliminated.
>> Increased frequency of janitorial services and regular cleaning of objects and areas that are frequently used.
>> Reduced the number of in-person meetings and impromptu gatherings, including:
- Instructed that employees use phones and email to communicate in place of in-person meetings; if in person meetings are required we have limited the number of people allowed and have instructed participants on social distancing guidelines.
- Provided increased access to teleconference lines and video conferencing services to ensure mission-critical communications can continue uninterrupted.
>> Instructed employees to keep work areas clean and sanitized and have provided alcohol-based hand sanitizing stations in offices, common spaces and near employee time-card stations.
>> Provided employees with CDC hand washing, coughing and sneezing guidelines.
Columbia Steel suppliers have offered assurances that they will continue to support us with critical parts and supplies necessary to continue operations. We will keep open lines of communication with our employees and union representatives to ensure we have the staffing necessary to support the production needs of the company.
Finally, we will keep pace with this rapidly changing situation through continuous monitoring and listening to our elected leaders and health officials. We’ll advise our employees, partners, suppliers and customers of any status updates.
Thank you for your continued support during this challenging situation. We will overcome this together.
President and Chief Executive Officer