Oil&Gas UK concerns about Ebola virus within industry
In March 2014 an outbreak of Ebola, a severe viral illness, began in Guinea, West Africa. The outbreak spread to neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone and has continued since then. Oil&Gas UK has published Ebola guidance note on how to respond to potential health and safety risks in the UK offshore oil and gas industry.
Dr Alix Thom, employment and skills issues manager, Oil& Gas UK, said: “While we believe the overall risk to the UK is low, Oil&Gas UK is addressing concerns about the Ebola virus by issuing guidance to our members on how to respond to the potential risk to the health and safety of our workers in the UK offshore oil and gas industry.
“Acting on the advice from our medical adviser, we have posted guidance on our website advising on the management of staff heading to and returning from Ebola-affected countries. This includes ensuring personnel receive appropriate advice on avoiding Ebola infection prior to deployment and reminding them to seek medical advice if they are feeling unwell, or become unwell within 21 days of returning from an affected country.”
Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.
Key Recommendations by Oil& Gas UK
Oil&Gas UK recommends the following to its members:
–Ensure personnel receive appropriate advice on avoiding Ebola infection prior to deployment to Ebola-affected countries.
–Ensure that personnel returning from deployment to Ebola-affected countries are reminded to seek medical attention if they are unwell, or become unwell within 21 days of return, and that personnel should tell the doctor they have recently been to an Ebola-affected country.
–Maintain a list of personnel returning from deployment to Ebola-affected countries to assist in government screening procedures.
–Remind personnel not to proceed offshore if feeling unwell, unless they have sought medical advice first, and that personnel should tell the doctor if they have recently been to an Ebola-affected country.
–Delay any intended visit to a UK offshore installation for a worker who has been (for work or personal reasons) to an Ebola-affected country until a period of 21 days has passed since their return.
–Seek assurance from their medical adviser/contractors (where relevant) that they aware of Public Health England and Health Protection Scotland advice on clinical assessment of suspected Ebola cases.
“We will continue to liaise with medical advisers and government agencies and may amend our guidance accordingly,” Dr Alix Thom said.