CORONAVIRUS: Preventive measures taken so far at the HSE Group level

The HSE Group produces around 65% of the total electricity produced in Slovenia, while the Šoštanj Thermal Power Plant (TEŠ) and the company Dravske Elektrarne Maribor (DEM) are listed among the critical infrastructure of Slovenia. Since we are aware of our obligation and mission to secure a safe, stable and undisturbed electricity supply to households and companies, we immediately reacted to the potential risk of coronavirus infection. The company Holding Slovenske Elektrarne d.o.o., as the controlling company in the HSE Group, upon receiving the first public information on 24 February 2020 about suspected infection within the Republic of Slovenia, immediately adopted basic measures for preventing the spread of the virus, and we also took certain security and protection measures and tasks in order to reduce the risk from infection, because we want to secure undisturbed production of electricity and heat.

On 24/ 02/ 2020, we informed with a memorandum all companies in the HSE Group about the presence of the coronavirus in Slovenia and acquainted them with, and instructed them to take, basic preventive measures (cough etiquette, washing of hands, etc.). In order to secure the continued operation of the production units and companies of the HSE Group, we have prepared action plan for the key personnel who will perform the necessary tasks in the event of extreme situation.

On 26 February 2020, the TEŠ adopted the Rules on infectious diseases and, based on the rules, a management and coordination plan to be put into operation in the event of an outbreak of infection. Numerous measures are taken on a daily basis in accordance with the plan. The management of the TEŠ has appointed a task force which has drafted an operational plan of protection and risk management and detailed instructions to employees and contractors or visitors.

Among other measures, appropriate protective masks and hand sanitizers have been provided for all employees, who are being updated on the website and the company’s bulletin boards on the recommended preventive measures. All guided visits to the TEŠ (and to DEM), excursions and open days, which are being regularly organised by the TEŠ, have been cancelled. As the coronavirus is spreading fast, persons who have returned from trips abroad or from areas with a high risk of infection with the virus have been ordered to self-isolate or not go to work. All meetings have been cancelled, with the exception of internal meetings, which are held via conference calls. One of the preventive measures is the activation of thermographic cameras at the entrances to the TEŠ and the coal mine Premogovnik Velenje (PV). The camera warns the receptionist about a high body temperature, and the receptionist then performs a test with an infra-red thermometer, and if the person indeed has an increased body temperature, they are prohibited from entering the premises of the TEŠ and PV for preventive and medical reasons. Security guards must escort a person with a high body temperature to a special container positioned across the main entry to the TEŠ. Until further notice, also in force is a special measure regarding annual leave, which is approved only to employees who stay at home or in the immediate vicinity of their home during their annual leave.

In addition to basic measures, such as cough etiquette, washing of hands, staying at home if sick, etc., the HSE Group has introduced the following additional measures until further notice:

1. Entry to the command room, control centre, data centre – safe cell, etc. is permitted only to the employees of the respective units.
2. The maintenance staff may enter the command room, control centre and data centre at the location only if they are picking up or returning the work permit.
3. Engineers may enter the command room, control centre and data centre at the location only in the case of necessary interventions.
4. Contractors are prohibited from entering the command room, control centre and data centre at the location.
5. Communication should be, if possible, conducted over the phone or by e-mail.
6. Before entering the premises, employees must sanitise their hands – hand sanitisers have been placed at visible locations.
7. Contractors who perform maintenance works are permitted to work only under prior agreement with the head of maintenance. They need to limit their presence within the perimeter of an individual company to the area where they perform their work.
8. Excursions and other visits have been cancelled until further notice.
9. Employees have been advised to rethink the urgency of their planned business trips abroad.

We closely follow the daily news published on the website of the National Public Health Institute and the media and update our employees on the news and warn them to be conscientious and self-protective. We analyse the updated information and, if necessary, appropriately react by giving instructions and/or taking measures. As a precautionary measure against potential infection, some of the employees have been working from home since 9 March 2020. As of last week, a majority of the HSE Group employees have been working from home, except for those performing essential work which could not be done from home (production).