Our response to COVID-19

Tiwai Pointer

This is the latest news from NZAS on COVID-19

NZAS was granted an exemption to keep operating in recognition of how long an aluminium smelter takes to restart once shut down. 

To support the health and safety of our employees and in accordance with government directives in relation to containing the spread of Covid-19, we have implemented a number of new controls.  Operational employees are the only ones working on site at NZAS.  Employees with underlying health issues are self-isolating and our non-operational employees are working from home. 

Given the health and safety measures we have implemented and the current climate, we also needed to stabilise our operation by reducing load.  To do this, we have reduced the 50MW of electricity that supports Line 4.  The Line 4 team of 35 people are now supporting production on the other three full reduction lines.

We have implemented a number of controls to segregate our employees and keep them safe on site:

  • The workforce has been split into two teams - red and blue
  • Red and blue teams have separate entry and exit points to come onto the Tiwai site and to depart
  • Physical alterations have been made to the NZAS Changehouse (where people get changed before and after their shifts, where they shower and where employee lockers are located.  This is also where uniforms are stored)
  • The Tiwai bus service that transports people to and from site has changed.  We now have additional buses, increased hygiene practices and seating that ensures physical distancing
  • Bus arrival and departure times have been staggered to ensure red and blue teams don’t meet
  • Alterations have been made to the NZAS staff car park to ensure segregation between red and blue teams
  • Communications have been sent to site on shared vehicles in accordance with Government regulations
  • Toolbox and other regular site meetings have been changed to ensure physical distancing with some meetings now being held online
  • Maps have been developed for all areas showing how the site is broken down into red and blue areas
  • Numerous plans have been developed including what our response would be if we had a positive case of COVID-19 on site

A dedicated team has been established to co-ordinate the supply and distribution of hygiene products to site to ensure a continual supply is available.  This includes monitoring consumption and availability of hand sanitiser, mediwipes, soap, disinfectant, gloves and paper towels.  In addition, wall-mounted hand sanitiser dispensers are being installed around the plant, and people are self-cleaning their respirators.

Thanks to our innovative team at NZAS, hand sanitiser is being produced on site following the World Health Organisation guidelines.

We are using well-established communication channels that are essential to keep our people informed including:

  • Bulk text messaging service
  • Site TV system which allows messaging to be displayed in all areas of the plant simultaneously
  • The Tiwai Facebook group is being used to share messages for those that are off shift or not able to access information via other communication channels.  Note – this is a closed Facebook group and is not open to the public
  • Regular updates from the General Manager via vlogs (video blogs) and site emails
  • Dedicated COVID-19 Intranet section (internal website) which collates all communications
  • Daily updates on our COVID-19 response shared across multiple channels
  • Increased use of Webex (on-line) meetings have allowed critical meetings to continue including our daily production meetings