Essential Practices for Essential Employers

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At the outset of COVID-19 when little was known about the virus or associated risks, PennEnergy, a regional oil and gas company deemed an essential employer, needed an on-site expert to determine and implement pandemic best practices, measures necessary to maintain operations and ensure the safety of personnel. Risks needed gauged, sound mitigation efforts identified and/or developed, new protocols communicated to employees and third-party contractors. They needed a partner to quickly create “peace of mind” among their personnel on site so fear of the virus wouldn’t cause distractions leading to injuries. Team members needed to keep their minds on their tasks and not the virus. Most importantly, they wanted a partner that genuinely cared about their team members and respected the hazards they faced operating during the pandemic.


2Six Advisors applied a simple yet critical three-step process to developing and implementing a solution for the client:

  •  Information gathering
  • Solution identification, development, review, & approval
  • Program communication, implementation, and ongoing optimization

Information Gathering

The 2Six team met with PennEnergy representatives on site to discuss the challenges the pandemic presented the site’s team members. This included a review of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for COVID-19 and frank discussion of what was likely necessary to achieve personnel safety while not compromising the essential function of the location. We listened carefully to their concerns and needs. No one ever performed construction operations at a facility like this before during such an extreme health crisis.

Solution Identification, Development, Review, & Approval

From our meetings, we:

  • Determined the various risk levels of facilitysite activities and developed
    mitigating practices,
  • Prepared protocols to minimize viral exposures for all personnel within the site, and
  • Advanced techniques for employees to utilize when virus-related concerns interfered with the effectiveness of their tasks or roles.

We then reviewed our recommendations with the client, highlighting rationales
and discussing specific changes including:

  •  “Health checkpoints” staffed full-time for site access,
  • Pandemic safety briefings at the beginning of each shift,
  • “Viral spread” protocols for determining and minimizing the impact of a team member if and when he or she tests positive,
  • On-going risk-analysis of the site and the workforce as more details our uncovered about COVID-19, and
  • Staffing a full-time safety professional on-site as a resource for COVID-19 related matters and risk mitigation efforts.

PennEnergy appreciated our detail, care, and honesty and approved the plan without haste. It was a novel situation. It required immediate forthrightness which is traditionally only acceptable after a client and a consultant work together for an extended period of time.

Program Communication, Implementation, and Ongoing Optimization

2Six Advisors rapidly moved to implement the recommendations. This included our firm hired as the full-time on-site COVID-19 safety resource. We continue to educate PennEnergy daily on the latest information about the virus and adjust plans accordingly.



PennEnergy’s site maintained successful operations without any work stoppages. Employee and contractor morale and focus stayed at a high level knowing their safety, jeopardized by the pandemic, was addressed to the fullest extent possible. Mind on task endured. The COVID-19 program we put in place was one of the first in the area for any industry. It helped set the standard for essential employers in the pandemic. We remain a trusted business partner of PennEnergy today.