The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly affected the mining industry, owing to employees often having to work in close proximity to one another and the consequent difficulty of isolating tasks.
To mitigate these difficulties, America-based industrial medical support service provider Remote Medical International has adapted its proprietary Health Dashboard to capture and track Covid-19 information on mine employees.
“Only information that is relevant to the employee’s work status is reported on the dashboard, and all data is protected with secure systems meeting or exceeding all health insurance potability and accountability, as well as federal and state personal health information protections. Test results are reported through our lab partners’ existing systems,” says Remote Medical director of commercial sales – Americas Andy Drake.
The Health Dashboard can be seamlessly integrated into mines’ operating systems, as many mining companies use their own health reporting software. The data is protected by a secure desktop, password protection and encrypted links.
Remote Medical also provides additional systems and protocols for the mining industry to ensure a safe work environment. Medical support teams provide Covid-19 testing, screening, contract tracing and case management, most of which are completed on site.
To be fully equipped for the pandemic, the company quickly established protocols for every mine employee to follow on a daily basis. These include every employee having a rapid Covid-19 test that needs to yield a negative result daily before they are cleared to work. These rapid tests are performed by medical support teams.
“Most of our customers require everyone to have a rapid test prior to starting work so they are eligible to work,” Drake emphasises.
If the test is positive, the employee is immediately taken off site to follow the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s quarantine protocol, starting with a second test to confirm the result. To return to work, the employee must have a negative test and no further symptoms after quarantine for the prescribed time.
“These systems and protocols will become a standard part of health and safety protocols for mining. We designed them to serve multiple applications, including occupational healthcare, vaccination campaigns for flu and other diseases, such as malaria, and smallpox for international operations.
“I believe that our Health Dashboard and vaccine protocols will never go away, and that the annual flu vaccination programmes will take on a more important priority at mine sites. There may be a need for yearly Covid-19 vaccines as well,” concludes Drake.