Conducting Field Work in a COVID-19 World

EDI's Efforts to Protect Team Members and Communities

EDI Environmental Dynamics Inc. has developed specific COVID-19 guidelines and best practices for working in the field, which EDI project managers, like Ben Schonewille, have been implementing. These guidelines and best practices are built on federal and provincial/territorial published documents and touch on topics such as fitness for duty, physical distancing, safety plans, and working in or near communities.

“The first priority for our team members working in the field is to follow federal and provincial or territorial requirements for physical distancing on both an individual and community level,” states Ben. “The physical distancing methods we use are tailored to each project, based on location and specific client requirements.”

Techniques for physical distancing of team members working together in the field can include using separate vehicles and equipment (e.g., each person has their own shovel) and using personal protective equipment (e.g., masks and gloves). Another technique for controlling COVID-19 exposure is to limit the mixing of EDI field crews. When possible, team members will work together over the duration of the field season.

EDI is also dedicated to protecting the rural, remote, and Indigenous communities at or near our project locations. When possible, work in or near such a community will be postponed until conditions are suitable to complete the work. When EDI team members must travel through or stop in communities, they try to minimize exposure of everyone concerned. This may include bringing enough food, gas and supplies for the entire field trip. Masks and gloves are also brought along in the event of an emergency that requires interaction with others. “We’ve really tried to think outside the box so we can meet requirements, while moving forward on projects and keeping community interactions low,” explains Ben. “For one recent project, we worked collaboratively with a local Yukon helicopter company to jointly mitigate risks for our workers, so we could helicopter in and out of the project site each day, rather than travel through or stay overnight in nearby communities.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic is altering how business operates, EDI has the organizational structure and systems in place to work effectively, both in the office and the field, during these changing conditions. To read more about this topic, click HERE.

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Ben Schonewille, Project Manager and Biologist