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Georgia-Pacific takes cautious measures to protect workers

Georgia-Pacific and the forest products industry have been deemed “essential businesses,” amid the pandemic. Since people rely on GP every day for the goods and services they produce, it will remain open.

“As an essential business, we are required to continue operating. Although the Brewton mill produces containerboard, our paper is used in the manufacture of packaging materials that could eventually contain vital medical supplies as well as the distribution of food and food products,” said Georgia-Pacific spokesperson Julie VanDeWater.

“We recognize that our employees are our biggest asset and so it is important to do what we can to help keep them safe and healthy to minimize any operational disruptions, especially now,” she added.

Some proactive steps the company is currently taking  include:

• Providing frequent updates on COVID-19 awareness, helpful resources, reminders of social distancing and the reporting of any symptoms immediately.

• Communicating resources available to employees to help them cope with stress, anxiety and relationship issues during this time.

•Implementing some important changes to our paid leave policy for those who may be affected with childcare or the direct impacts of the virus.

•Discouraging visitors to the mill. Visitors that are required at the mill must be properly screened and are required to use hand sanitizer before mill entry.

•Requiring the practice of social distancing and handwashing, as recommended by the CDC.

• Holding web-based meetings and conference calls and not permitting gatherings of more than 10 people.

• Marking the floor with tape every six feet in some common areas to provide visual guidance on the 6-foot rule.

• Asking employees to disinfect their work areas and frequently touched surfaces and tools at least twice per shift.

•Our housekeeping staff are doing a thorough cleaning of bathrooms and work areas throughout the mill and are disinfecting areas multiple times a day that are frequently touched by employees – vending machines, employee entrance turnstiles, doors and doorknobs, etc.

•Provided all operating areas with hand sanitizer and have placed hand sanitizer at the main entrance of the building for employees and contractors/visitors.

•Posted social distancing signage reminders throughout the mill.

• Requesting that employees not share food or partake in potluck meals at work.

• Staggering their lunches and breaks to minimize the number of people in breakrooms and other common areas.

• Not allowing passengers in company vehicles and carpooling is discouraged.

• Providing frequent updates on COVID-19 awareness, reminders of social distancing and the reporting of any symptoms immediately.

• Communicating resources available to employees to help them cope with stress, anxiety and relationship issues during this time.

“We appreciate the hard work of our team and continue to remind them to focus on working safely, in addition to practicing recommended hygiene and social distancing measures to keep them safe,” said VanDeWater.