American Waterways Operators (AWO) has introduced guidance to tugboat and barge owners covering operations during the coronavirus pandemic
This US-based association is providing information and resources to operators of towboat, tugs and barges operating on inland waterways for safely continuing operations during the outbreak.
This web resource draws on information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and other sources to assist operators in developing and implementing a contingency plan to protect their workforce.
AWO’s Covid-19 webpage includes best practices for safeguarding vessel operators against the virus, links to official government public health guidance and resources to help sustain business operations.
There is advice to encourage crew members to monitor their health and to minimise exposure to coronavirus when travelling to and from crew changes.
AWO also provided guidance informing crew members of the procedures to be followed when an individual on board displays signs and symptoms of acute respiratory illness.
Advice will also help operators instruct staff on respiratory etiquette, hand hygiene and frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces.
AWO president and chief executive Jennifer Carpenter said this resource is available to its members and the entire maritime industry. “Covid-19 presents unprecedented challenges for our industry and it is vitally important that we all work together,” she said
“There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but AWO is committed to doing everything we can to protect the health and safety of mariners and the public while keeping economically critical maritime commerce flowing,” Ms Carpenter commented.
“AWO will continue to monitor the situation and update the webpage whenever new information becomes available.”
AWO encourages all operators to develop a written coronavirus outbreak management plan, provide guidance to mariners on identifying suspected cases of acute respiratory illness and how to report signs or symptoms of acute respiratory illness to the US Coast Guard.
In its guidance, AWO advises tugboat and barge operators how to identify essential business functions, essential roles, and critical elements within supply chains required to maintain business operations.
Also, how to minimise exposure between employees if public health officials call for social distancing and reviewing human resources policies to ensure they are consistent with public health guidance.
AWO advises all industry employees to consider Covid-19 risks when conducting business or personal travel and encourages sick employees to stay home and operators to send home sick employees.