ConocoPhillips Begins Airport Health Screenings for Employees

A ConocoPhillips employee boarding a flight for the North Slope is screened for Covid-19,...
A ConocoPhillips employee boarding a flight for the North Slope is screened for Covid-19, March 11, 2020 (KTUU) (KTUU)
Published: Mar. 11, 2020 at 7:07 PM AKDT
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Oil giant ConocoPhillips Alaska has implemented health checkpoints for its commuter flights from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. The measure comes as the COVID-19 outbreak is declared a global pandemic, and the U.S. declares a state of emergency.

On Wednesday, employees waiting to board planes to Kuparuk, North America's second-largest oil field, were screened for illness and exposure risk, including having their temperature taken.

Employees who pass the screening exams are given purple bracelets and allowed to board. Those who do not pass are turned away and required to get a doctor's clearance before return to work.

The proactive measures are in line with workplace guidance issued by the CDC and the World Health Organization, which has urged employers to have sick employees stay home and to send employees home who show up to work ill or who become ill while at work.

ConocoPhillips declined to be interviewed about the heightened screenings. The company instead provided a statement through a spokesperson saying the health and safety of its employees and contractors is its number one priority.

Shared Services Aviation, which provides daily flights for the company, is "a co-venture between ConocoPhillips and BP," according to a ConocoPhillips' website, and "transports more than 27,000 employees and contract workers every month between Anchorage, Fairbanks and the North Slope."

A recently released economic study by the McDowell Group underscores the importance of protecting Alaska's oil-industry workforce from an infectious disease outbreak.

The study, commissioned by the Alaska Oil and Gas Association and released in January of this year, studied 2018 economic data from the state's major oil and gas companies. The study found that the industry as a whole accounts for as many as 77,600 jobs, $4.8 billion in Alaska wages, and $3.1 billion in state and local taxes and royalties.

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