Measures to prevent Covid-19 infection

The unprecedented situation created by the spread of Covid-19, has, in one way or another, affected all businesses in the Icelandic economy. Samherji has implemented several measures to prevent contagion and implemented security plans for the right response in case of infection among employees.

"Samherji places great emphasis on ensuring the safety of all employees as well as their customers, but one of Samherji's main goals is to make the company a safe and accident-free workplace. For this reason, we took the potential Covid-19 spread seriously from day one and implemented special measures. By doing this, Samherji wanted to contribute to prevent the spread of the virus and do everything possible to prevent infection in the company's workplaces," says Björgólfur Jóhannsson, the interim CEO of Samherji.

Before the first confirmed Covid-19 infection in Iceland, Samherji had prepared educational material for staff on transmission routes and precautionary measures. It included information sheets on the importance of handwashing and disinfection, information on means of transmission and ways to reduce the risk of acquiring the virus. These signs were hung up in the restrooms, in cafeterias, in offices and elsewhere in the company. The material was prepared based on information from the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management and the Icelandic Directorate of Health. At the same time, more disinfectant dispensers were installed in all establishments, and small bottles of disinfectant were distributed to all employees.

Members of staff were asked to limit all business trips and encouraged to limit all international travel if possible. All visits to Samherji's premises were banned indefinitely. At the same time, specific cleaning rules were implemented that apply to all Samherji establishments. They provide that all contact surfaces are cleaned with 40 degrees hot soapy water and disinfected at least twice a day. The rules include all door handles, all handrails and all touch surfaces in restrooms, coffee shop and other staff accommodation. The same goes for computer mice, keyboards and armchairs in office space.

Special cleaning rules have been introduced in all vessels in the Samherji fleet. They provide for cleaning and disinfection of all contact surfaces at least twice a day. No one is allowed to enter the dining room and lounge of the ship unless they have washed and disinfected their hands before. Measures were taken to ensure compliance with this procedure.

An emergency and contingency plan, based on recommendations from the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, was introduced for the crews of ships. Information boards banning visits on the vessels have also been installed in all of them.

Employees were asked to limit collaboration between different business units as much as possible and groups were divided into separate spaces in the office, and some employees are now working from home. Staff in the canteen received instructions to dispense all food and utensils to employees wherever possible.

Samherji continues to work on risk assessment for workplaces on land. An emergency and contingency plan for land-based processing units is currently being finalized. The safety officer of Samherji and his staff have met with Fisheries Iceland, the Confederation of Fisheries Companies, and safety officers of other member companies of the confederation to discuss the situation.

"Fortunately, no infections have been reported in Samherji's establishments yet. I would like to thank our workers for responding to the situation with determination and in a responsible manner. I would also like to especially thank them for their understanding during the implementation of these measures," says Björgólfur Jóhannsson.