THE Zimbabwe Mining and Smelting Company (Zimasco) says it has instituted measures to protect its workforce from the novel Coronavirus ahead of the re-opening of its chrome smelting plant in Kwekwe.
The company, which has 450 full-time employees and 500 contract workers, halted production in April after Covid-19 affected its markets in Europe, Asia and China. Zimasco Kwekwe general manager, Namatai Mapfumo, and group health and quality assurance manager, Bright Chitiki, told the media during a tour of the plant that they were not leaving any loopholes in implementing Covid-19 guidelines and regulations outlined by the Government and the World Health Organization (WHO). Four Zimasco workers tested positive to Covid-19 during tests conducted ahead of re-opening. The company has drafted a Covid-19 safety and health policy document as well as set up a Covid-19 response team.
“We have been on shut down since the end of March because our product markets were ravaged by the novel Coronavirus and were no longer taking our products and at the same time our Government implemented the national lockdown,” said Mapfumo.
“As we restart operations, we have put in place measures to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 at our different workplaces starting from the homes of our workers.
“All workers and visitors to our premises will be screened, anyone who fails the Rapid Diagnostic Test and comes out positive will be temporarily isolated at our temporary isolation centre where the nurses will do a polymerise chain reaction (PCR) test and all the cases will be handed over to the district Covid-19 response team. We have set up our own isolation centre for our workers at a house in Chicago, which accommodates seven patients,” he said.
Mapfumo said Zimasco had made an arrangement with Unki Mine in Shurugwi for PCR testing. Chitiki said the four workers who tested positive to Covid-19 had fully recovered.
“Prevention starts at home. We gave all our employees Covid-19 Personal Protective Equipment which included sets of masks, hand sanitizers and we trained them on how to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at home,” he said.
He said the rapid response team had come up with measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 and would be responsible for supervising and monitoring the Covid-19 regulations.
“The team also produced our own Covid-19 policy document which is being implemented to safeguard our workers at their different workplaces,” he said.
In its quest to have a Covid-19 free environment for its workers, Zimasco signed a Memorandum of Understanding MOU with CIMAS and is also working in partnership with Unki Mines, Kwekwe City Council, Kwekwe Polytechnic College and the Civil Protection Unit.
Zimasco operates ferrochrome mines in Shurugwi and Lalapanzi in the Midlands province.