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Workers At Beaver Co. Shell Cracker Plant Say Construction Site Is Unsanitary Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

By Andy Sheehan

BEAVER COUNTY (KDKA) — Over the last few days, KDKA has received questions about the Shell Cracker plant that is under construction in Beaver County.

The coronavirus has not slowed construction at the multibillion-dollar cracker plant as thousands of workers continue to speed the project towards completion.

But those same workers say the site is riddled with unsanitary conditions and standard social distancing protocols are being ignored.

In more than a dozen emails to KDKA, workers raised concerns about being transported to the site on crowded buses and called daily to mandatory mass meetings.

Further, the workers say the portajohns are unsanitary and frequently run out of hand sanitizer, making the entire site what one person calls a huge Petri dish for the virus.

But it now appears that Shell is listening.

Responding to KDKA’s inquiries, the oil giant said on Monday that changes are in the works to ensure the health and safety of those who work here.

“We are currently obtaining more busses and staggering shifts and lunch times to improve social distancing amongst workers. We are also curtailing large meetings on site,” the company said it a statement.

The statement goes on to talk of deeper, more frequent cleaning measures and increased placement of hand sanitizer on site.

Shell says it is responding to a fluid situation but emphasized that no one has tested positive for the virus. Shell also says it is committed to the health and safety of its workers.

Shell made no mention of shutting the site down, so construction will continue.

Shell full statement can be found below:

“Our goal is to always keep our workers safe from health and safety risks, including that of COVID-19.

“There have been no presumptive or confirmed COVID-19 cases among our site’s workers. Even so, Shell, Bechtel and Union Leadership continue to meet daily to discuss and plan around this very fluid situation.

“Health care professionals from the Shell and Bechtel are monitoring the situation closely and providing ongoing guidance to site leaders about how to address the challenges associated with COVID-19.

“We are working to accommodate workers who may be impacted by school closures or other circumstances.

“We are currently obtaining more busses and staggering shifts and lunch times to improve Social Distancing amongst workers. We are also curtailing large meetings on site.

“We have initiated regular deep cleaning including our busses, common areas and trailers. We are also cleaning lunch areas between lunch times and have increased the placement of hand-sanitizer dispensers across the site.

We are reviewing new guidance from OSHA and will incorporate relevant new elements from that guidance into our response, as appropriate.”

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