COVID-19 statement from John Evans, Managing Director, South Pacific
In these unprecedented and uncertain times, BOC and Elgas wish to reassure our customers, our employees, and the communities in which we work that we are taking every measure to safeguard their safety and wellbeing while continuing to deliver our gases where and when they are most needed.
As essential services providers BOC and Elgas produce and deliver critical gases across the South Pacific region; from LPG for heating and cooking, to enabling gases that keep our power stations and water running, through to the very important medical oxygen and other medical gases.
Over the past six weeks we have taken a large number of measures to protect our employees and to ensure that our production sites remain open and operating to their full capacity. Some of the steps we have taken to reduce the risk for our employees include:
- Banning all non-essential air travel both domestically and internationally since 9 March
- Banning non-essential visitors to all sites across the South Pacific
- Implementing rigorous social distancing at all sites as well as other risk mitigation actions including:
- Working from home where possible
- The frequency of cleaning of lunchrooms and change-rooms has been increased, and checks are in place to make sure cleaning is occurring as expected
- Non-essential production employees have been instructed to work from an alternate location
- Shift overlap times have been removed to minimise employee contact
- At sites where there is only one shift, the employees have been separated into two separate teams
- Providing ongoing access to employee assistance providers to support the mental health of all employees and their families
Continuity of supply
We also want to reassure you about the continuity of supply and mitigations that BOC and Elgas have in place for all our gas products and services. We have a long standing and comprehensive Contingency and Disaster Recovery Plan for all our facilities in South Pacific.
Nearly all of BOC gases are produced locally using BOC owned plants and equipment. Across Australia and New Zealand BOC has eight-cylinder filling sites and nine Air Separation Units producing our gases as well as five sources of carbon dioxide. We manage every step in the production, packaging, logistics and distribution of gas from creation to delivery to our customers. This ensures a flexible supply chain that can quickly respond to changing customer requirements in any location. Due to our multiple production sites we have the unique ability to draw on our South Pacific network to ensure continuity if one or even multiple BOC production plants are temporarily closed.
Elgas has the most diverse LPG supply chain in Australia and New Zealand with access to local production sources via ship, road tanker or both. Elgas owns two major LPG storage facilities in Australia, the Elgas Cavern and the Elgas Dandenong Bulk Terminal, and is also a major shareholder in the Liquigas LPG Terminals across New Zealand. Aside from major terminals Elgas also has an extensive branch and depot network with over seventy LPG tanker and cylinder filling facilities across Australia and New Zealand.
Our unique distribution network provides robust delivery capabilities to support and supply products and services to BOC and Elgas customers during emergency situations such as this. We have the largest LPG transport fleet in Australia with over 120 LPG trailers, 130 rigid tankers and over 250 dedicated cylinder delivery vehicles – all staffed by local people.
Medical gas supply and patient safety
Due to an anticipated increase in medical gas requirements as a result of the ongoing escalation of COVID-19, BOC has over the past six weeks taken proactive steps to assist us in meeting an increase in demand and to ensure patient safety including:
- Increased safety stock holdings of medical gases throughout our network of production sites and distribution points
- Additional stocks have been moved away from our major filling facilities to key strategic sites, near major population densities. This has been implemented to mitigate risks if one of our major filling sites is required to temporarily close.
- Implementation of dedicated ‘medical cylinder filling employees’ that work separately from the rest of the workforce
We have also taken steps to minimise the risk to the most vulnerable in our communities, our elderly. As a key supplier of medical gas and equipment to hospitals, medical facilities and aged care facilities we have now implemented dedicated aged care delivery trucks in our capital cities. By doing this we minimise the risk of transference to an aged care facility from other medical facilities.
Call centre and customer support
BOC and Elgas have locally based call centres in Australia and New Zealand, and we are already transitioning these centres to a remote working model to ensure ongoing customer support throughout this challenging time. Should you need support please contact:
- Australia: BOC on firstname.lastname@example.org or call Elgas on 131 161.
- New Zealand: BOC on email@example.com or call Elgas on 0800 435 427