Paul Morden – The Sarnia Observer, April 15, 2020
Nova Chemicals says it will begin resuming some construction work this week at its $2.2-billion project in St. Clair Township near Sarnia.
The company announced in late March it would temporarily limit the work to critical equipment lifts and deliveries in response to restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. That move was expected to reduce the site’s construction workforce by about 90 per cent.
Nova is building a new polyethylene plant next to its Corunna facility, where work is also being done to increase production.
“Through a phased approach, we intend to safely and steadily resume some construction activities on both projects beginning Thursday,” the company said Wednesday in a statement.
“We will continue monitoring the situation and adjust site activities as needed, keeping worker safety and well-being at the forefront while progressing our business-critical construction projects.”
It added there will be a gradual increase in the number of construction workers at the site.
Nova Chemicals said in February approximately 600 tradespeople had been working at the construction sites.
The company said Wednesday it has taken “significant steps” to ensure worker safety at the sites.
They include increased communication with contractors and unions, daily on-site audits to ensure compliance with government protocols, and additional steps aimed at maintaining physical distancing, along with setting up additional hand-washing trailers and stations.
The company said those steps are in addition to screening those entering the site and enhanced cleaning of common areas.
Petrochemical construction projects have been deemed essential work by the provincial government during the outbreak.
Previously, the company had said the expansions were expected to be ready to start up in late 2021.