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COVID-19 INFORMATION

​As part of Energy Northwest's ongoing commitment to the health and safety of our employees, Human Resources, Industrial Safety, Information Services and Public Affairs established a centralized site to contain the latest Coronavirus information including a place for employees to ask questions.

As this is a rapidly changing situation, it is important to have accurate information from reliable sources to minimize any unnecessary panic. We will post updates as new information is available and encourage employees to utilize factual resources to inform themselves on the situation rather than perpetuating rumors and misinformation.

For medical-related questions, contact occupational health at ext. 2146. For work-related questions, contact your supervision.

Click here to view the actions taken by Energy Northwest.

COVID-19 EXTERNAL RESOURCE LINKS:

Washington State Coronavirus Response

 Questions and Answers

Employees can call 377-8715 if they have questions regarding the company's response to COVID-19.
  
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​Are we still on track for non-vaccinated workers to be able to stop wearing masks effective June 30?  I'm not sure I've seen an update...

Q: ​Are we still on track for non-vaccinated workers to be able to stop wearing masks effective June 30?  I'm not sure I've seen an update...

A: Changes to COVID-19 restrictions July 1

Effective July 1, Washington state was expected to remove the remaining requirements associated with managing COVID-19. However, specific requirements for businesses remain.

The following specific changes for Energy Northwest are effective July 1:

 Work hours and telecommuting

  • All employees are expected to resume on-site work for work hours charged.
  • Telecommuting is authorized for positions eligible for remote work per GBP-HR-10, "Work Schedules and Telecommuting: Including Adverse Conditions." Ongoing telecommuting arrangements must meet all approvals required per GBP-HR-10 using Form 27005, with a copy of the completed form submitted to the respective HR generalist. Informal, infrequent telecommuting for non-bargaining employees must also follow GBP-HR-10 provisions and be pre-approved by your supervisor. If telecommuting, you must remain fit for duty during your established normal work hours/ERO period, have childcare support if applicable, and be available to immediately report to your designated work location if requested. Previous approval to telecommute during the pandemic period does not guarantee that telecommuting under non-pandemic conditions will be approved.
  • COVID-19 supplemental leave and COVID-19 non-productive work orders are no longer available.

     Masks and social distancing
  • Masks are not required if the employee is fully vaccinated; however, all employees are free to wear a mask if they choose. The CDC still recommends wearing masks indoors in tight spaces, or if required by the employer. Employees will need to show either proof of vaccination or attest that they are fully vaccinated and have their badge appropriately marked.
  • Social distancing is still required if personnel are not vaccinated.
  • Core business meetings shift to in-person for both quorum employees and observers. Selected meetings may choose to have a Teams remote connection as well.
  • Social distancing signs can be removed after July 1. It is recommended that departments retain any signs in sturdy condition.

     

    Illness reporting
  • Formal contact tracing will be performed if an employee reports they are positive for COVID-19. The pandemic response team has been disbanded and Occupational Health will take over the contact tracing function.
  • Employees are encouraged to always evaluate their own health status and should not report to work if they are ill for any reason. The daily screening checklist will remain available through the COVID-19 website.
  • Anyone exposed to COVID-19 can report to work if they are asymptomatic, regardless of vaccination status.  Employees who are not vaccinated must wear a mask while at work and self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.  Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 should not report to work and should notify their supervisor.
  • Employees who test positive for COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and stay home until symptom free. Supervisors should notify Occupational Health.

     Pandemic response resources
  • Temperature monitors located inside Energy Northwest facilities will remain and daily temperature screening is still required.
  • Facilities will remain available for room sanitization on request.
  • The pandemic response team, including email and text notifications of positive COVID-19 cases, will be discontinued. Employees are encouraged to report COVID-19 illnesses to Occupational Health.
  • The pandemic response team internal website will remain accessible as a resource; future updates will be infrequent. The COVID-19 question forum will be closed.

     

    For additional questions about EN's COVID-19 response, contact your supervisor or Occupational Health.

     

     

     
Have the non-essential travel rules changed since Gov. Inslee's announcement to open to phase 3? Are we still required to quarantine for 14 days? Or have a negative test before returning to work? Thank you.

Q: Have the non-essential travel rules changed since Gov. Inslee's announcement to open to phase 3? Are we still required to quarantine for 14 days? Or have a negative test before returning to work? Thank you.

A: The travel advisory listed below is still in effect. On Nov.13, Gov. Jay Inslee issued a COVID-19 travel advisory applicable to all non-essential travel impacting Washington state. For employees conducting essential work-related travel follow our normal EN screening guidance and return to work criteria. Most of the travel that employees may be engaged in likely falls within the advisory's definition of non-essential travel.

1.         Consistent with the governor's guidance, employees are encouraged to refrain from non-essential travel (especially outside of Washington state).

2.         If employees plan to travel outside of Washington state, they should inform their immediate management so contingencies can be put in place in the event the employee is required to remain off site for an extended period following the travel.

3.         If an employee chooses to travel outside of Washington state, they should either:

a.         Quarantine for 14 days after their return home; or,

b.         Be tested for COVID-19 upon their return to Washington and remain off site until they    receive a negative test result.

The Pandemic Response Team continues to monitor for any updates to the Governor's current travel advisory. Employees are reminded that the general guidance regarding potential exposure to COVID-19 remains in effect, and employees should immediately report to their management any close contact with an individual who is confirmed positive for COVID-19.

The Governor announced the "Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery" phased COVID recovery plan on Jan 5, 2021 to start January 11th where all regions will go back to a new Phase 1 and will need to meet certain criteria to go to Phase 2. These phases hav

​Q: The Governor announced the "Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery" phased COVID recovery plan on Jan 5, 2021 to start January 11th where all regions will go back to a new Phase 1 and will need to meet certain criteria to go to Phase 2. These phases have different requirements than the previous Phase 1 and 2 in the safe start plan. How will this new plan impact the phased COVID recovery approach at Columbia?

A: On Jan. 5, Gov. Jay Inslee announced "Healthy Washington  —  Roadmap to Recovery," a COVID-19 phased recovery plan. As an essential business, our current state of business operations are not impacted by the Healthy Washington plan. Energy Northwest will remain at Phase D of our return-to-work plan until further notice. We will continue to conduct meetings, including core business meetings, virtually to the fullest extent possible. The number of workers on-site will increase as we gear up for the spring refueling and maintenance outage. A safe and successful outage is critical to the reliable operation of Columbia Generating Station. Our outage planning efforts include proactive steps to ensure worker health and safety remain a top priority, including the establishment of a pandemic outage high impact team. Strict adherence to our screening, social distancing and facial covering guidance while at work remains vital as we ramp up for the outage. As always, all employees are encouraged to protect themselves at home and in public settings by maintaining appropriate social distancing, wearing facial coverings as warranted and frequent hand washing.

​I understand EN has gone beyond the DHS classification of essential employees to further define which EN employees are considered essential and which are not. However, being essential or non-essential should not be a determining factor in deciding what c

Q: I understand EN has gone beyond the DHS classification of essential employees to further define which EN employees are considered essential and which are not. However, being essential or non-essential should not be a determining factor in deciding what constitutes "close contact" for the purposes of performing contact tracing. As we have heard over and over, "the virus doesn't care."  By the policy described in a previous ASK COVID question, EN appears to be saying that if an employee is essential, and both parties wore a mask, then no close contact can have occurred. By the same token, a non-essential person could have the same contact and be determined have been in close contact. This policy makes no sense, does not pass the commonsense test, and seems to place our essential employees at greater risk by not having been informed that close contact occurred. Maybe I don't understand the previous answer and it just needs clarification.

A: Thanks for your follow-up to the previous question.  The senior leadership team had to consider the risk to the agency of designating all agency personnel as essential workers as defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. While there is a legal basis to do so, designating all agency personnel as essential was determined to unnecessarily increasing the risk of having a significant outbreak amongst our workforce.  In order to continue our critical operations as well as reduce our risk, we decided to separate our personnel in to those who must be on-site for operations to continue (whom we have designated as essential) and those who do not have to be on-site for continued operations (whom we have designated as non-essential.  The definition of "close contact" that we are using for essential personnel has been well defined by the CDC.  The fact that we allow essential workers to not undergo quarantine is not because the masks are effective for them and not effective for non-essential workers.  We allow this practice because essential workers must be allowed to continue to work on-site.  For non-essential workers, we can allow for them to work from home during the time that they are quarantining and therefore follow the CDC guidance for non-essential workers for these employees.

We hope this clarifies this. If not, please reach out to any member of the Pandemic Response Team.

​People who recently represented the station at Palo Verdi's outage were tested for Covid-19 upon arrvial at that site. There were positive cases on site at Palo Verde during the outage but our people were not tested upon return. Shouldn't our workers be

Q: People who recently represented the station at Palo Verdi's outage were tested for Covid-19 upon arrival at that site. There were positive cases on site at Palo Verde during the outage, but our people were not tested upon return. Shouldn't our workers be tested upon return from out of state work assignments? Also is there a plan for in-processing Covid-19 testing for R25?

A: On Nov. 13, Gov. Jay Inslee issued a COVID-19 travel advisory applicable to all non-essential travel impacting Washington state. For employees conducting essential work related travel follow our normal EN screening guidance and return to work criteria. The majority of travel that employees may be engaged in over the holiday season likely falls within the advisory's definition of non-essential travel. For any employee on non-essential travel the senior leadership team has established the following guidance and expectations regarding out-of-state travel:

1.         Consistent with the governor's guidance, employees are encouraged to refrain       from non-essential travel (especially outside of Washington state).

2.         If employees plan to travel outside of Washington state, they should inform their immediate management so contingencies can be put in place in the event the employee is required to remain off site for an extended period following the travel.

3.         If an employee chooses to travel outside of Washington state, they should either:

a.         Quarantine for 14 days after their return home; or,

b.         Be tested for COVID-19 upon their return to Washington and remain off site until they receive a negative test result.

Energy Northwest does not intend to authorize business travel for non-essential purposes. Employees are reminded that the general guidance regarding potential exposure to COVID-19 remains in effect, and employees should immediately report to their management any close contact with an individual who is confirmed positive for COVID-19.

 

Why go backward? I understand cases of COVID-19 have been rising in the area, and that we have now had 22 cases at Energy Northwest. But none of those 22 occurred at work. Doesn't this show that the way we've been conducting business has been effective? S

Q:  Why go backward? I understand cases of COVID-19 have been rising in the area, and that we have now had 22 cases at Energy Northwest. But none of those 22 occurred at work. Doesn't this show that the way we've been conducting business has been effective? So why change now? It's true that many people can work remotely, but how productive are they really being with the distractions of children, or connectivity issues, or all the other myriad distractions at home? Also, many meetings can be conducted via Skype. But how effective are those meetings? Sometimes, the conversations had before and after meetings can be more valuable than the meetings themselves. These are opportunities for people to speak frankly, away from the formality of the meeting. These conversations can't be had when we log off of Skype. Also, think about the mental health of the workforce. Human beings are social creatures. Many people need to be around others, or need to be able to separate their home and work lives. What is the effect of forcing people to shut up in their homes, away from real human contact outside their immediate family? I understand we need to protect our essential workers. I think we've been doing that. Everyone who's gotten sick, including the Operators, have gotten sick outside work. Even still, there are things we can do to protect them that maintain productivity and mental health for everyone else. We know who is truly at risk from this disease. It is the extremely old, and those with other serious conditions. For the vast majority of people, it acts like a bad cold or flu. You're sick for a couple days, then go back to life. We can protect those who are truly vulnerable, while letting the rest of us get back to work. It is possible to abide by the government dictates, protect the vulnerable, and let everyone else return to work, all at the same time. These are not mutually exclusive propositions.

A: I appreciate your question – not only because we always appreciate the opportunity to respond to concerns or comments, but even more because it gives me the opportunity to explain the difficult decisions that the leadership team must make each day as we attempt to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in a responsible way. No one has had to respond to this type of situation in our lifetime, and none of us tasked with managing Energy Northwest claim to know the "perfect" decision to every new situation. That said, there are two fundamental principles that govern every decision we make: maintaining the safety of our employees and continuing to provide safe, reliable and cost-effective power to our region.

Like you, all of us want to return to "normal." I agree, the mental effects of this year on our community and our nation have been significant. Everyone is dealing with "COVID fatigue," and the inability to enjoy many of our holiday traditions over the next two months will likely contribute to this fatigue even more. I understand your question to be, "Why are you now telling us to work from home, when it appears that our efforts to prevent the spread of COVID onsite have been effective, and the ability for us to resume a more-normal work routine provides some 'fatigue relief'?" Even though Governor Inslee increased the restrictions applicable to Washington residents and businesses on November 15th, the answer to this difficult question has less to do with government mandates than it has to do with prudent management of an uncertain (and in many ways, unknowable) future. 

Your comments suggest that asking our non-essential employees to stay home has no impact on safety, because "we know who is truly at risk from this disease." The last 8 months dealing with this virus have demonstrated the risk of significant physical ramifications from a COVID infection are minimal for a large portion of our population. In fact, I can attest from personal experience that many individuals will have no (or very minimal) physical impacts if they do contract the virus.

However, in addition to safety, we also have to be concerned with the continued operation of all of our generating resources, and especially Columbia Generating Station. Again, to make my answer personal, even though I exhibited no symptoms during the entire time that I was infected, I nonetheless had to remain quarantined for 14 days under the rules established by the Center for Disease Control and Prevent and the local Benton-Franklin Health District. So, consider the impacts if a significant number of our operators or maintenance staff were to become infected. Thankfully, the risk that any of them would have major health impacts is low; nonetheless, they would be unable to support plant operations for a 14-day period. With our current staffing levels, very few infections could mean that we would be short of essential personnel, triggering the need for special NRC exemption or relaxation of the standard return-to-work requirements for essential workers. These are both undesirable outcomes, and we do not want to risk the possibility of not being able to meet regulatory required staffing levels while still meeting the Governor's guidance.

Recognizing that this risk is significant, the senior leadership team determined that it was prudent for us to request that a minimum number of staff be present onsite. Echoing Brad's message, we are leaving it up to individual managers to determine which employees need to be physically onsite on any given day. Our goal is to reduce the opportunity for an employee to inadvertently bring the virus onsite and subsequently infect a sufficient number of essential staff to create a challenge to continued operations.

We wish that we could make the decision to ignore what is going on in our local community regarding infections and simply return to normal operations. However, to paraphrase our own Alex Javorik, "wishing is not a strategy." We must continually determine the most prudent actions that will minimize the opportunity for a significant percentage of our employees contracting the infection at any one time to ensure that we can maintain safe operations. We will continue to consider the health of the community and our workforce, applicable government restrictions, and our own assessment of our ability to safely operate our generating resources until an alternative strategy, such as the availability of a vaccine, is an option. In the meantime, we encourage employees to engage with your teams and teammates utilizing those options that are available, such as the use of your camera during Skype / Teams meetings and regular telephonic collaboration with your teams and colleagues. 

 

​Given the recent increase in postive COVID-19 cases on-site, as well as county and state increases, will there be a situation where non-essentials will be sent home again?

Q: Given the recent increase in positive COVID-19 cases on-site, as well as county and state increases, will there be a situation where non-essentials will be sent home again?

A: The Energy Northwest senior leadership team and the pandemic response team continue to monitor the pandemic effects on our local communities. While the virus and those infected continue to rise slightly in our area there are no plans to change our current status. We will continue to operate in Phase D of our plan, which calls for approximately 1/3 of our non-essential workforce to be onsite on any given day.  As EN operates an essential business in the region, using a planned and coordinated return to work criteria is necessary. The stations Return to Work plan was written to be flexible with the ever changing requirements, with the priority solely focused on the safety and health of our employees. That said, if we see the need to take action to protect employees we will.

Why are some people are back on site that can, and have been, successfully working from home?  It seems they are being exposed to potential contamination when they don't have to be.  There are cases on site, and who knows how many carriers not showing sym

Q: Why are some people are back on site that can, and have been, successfully working from home?  It seems they are being exposed to potential contamination when they don't have to be.  There are cases on site, and who knows how many carriers not showing symptoms are here? Everyone does not wear a mask as it should be worn, nor do they social distance.  The rules for bringing people back are not consistent site wide.  Those that have been working from home with great success are back working 2-4 days a week.  Why not limit this to one day a week if need be?  That would be adequate for most.  Staggering people's days within a group would also ensure a body is on site every day of the work week. I realize the "phases" but if we learned we can work from  home why not allow that to continue?  Isn't what is important, is that the work IS getting done, more so than where they are doing it from? If this is still going on during outage, are the benefits of having people work from home so less people are actually on site being recognized?

A: We understand your concern and are confident our phased approach to bringing EN personnel back adequately addresses the issues that you raise.  First, we are only bringing back portions of departments at one time such that others, including those in any of the special risk categories, are allowed to continue working remotely.  This ensures there is adequate space to social distance on site and minimize the risk inherent in having a large number of people together in confined areas.  We are also enforcing adherence to CDC guidelines for how to remain healthy (e.g., masks, distancing, temperature checks) in order to ensure everyone's safety while on site.  Following these protocols reduces the risk of infection in general, and specifically for each department as personnel return. Observations have shown that the predominant majority of people on-site are wearing masks properly and social distancing whenever possible. To help support the health and safety of all employees, it is important to coach individuals when they are seen in the workplace not properly wearing a mask or not following our social distancing expectations. Working together, while applying the right level of coaching, will only strengthen our ability to ensure a safe workplace for all. 

Balancing work needs with personnel safety is an ongoing effort that EN leaders do daily and take seriously. Leaders are continuously monitoring the health of employees and conditions in the local community.  If the situation changes, adjustments can and will be made as necessary, which has occurred repeatedly since the pandemic began as EN responded to changing circumstances.

Keep in mind that EN provides an essential service that needs to be done safely and effectively, which requires personnel on-site to perform necessary tasks.  While we could allow more personnel to work from home in the beginning of the pandemic, over time that becomes more difficult to sustain, which is why we've taken a careful and measured approach to returning personnel to the site.  If any employee has concerns or questions about what they are being asked to do, they should talk with their supervisor.
Remember our competing goals to protect the health and safety of our employees while at the same time protecting the health and safety of the public by operating our facilities safely and reliably. To do both effectively will require strict adherence to our screening, social distancing and facial covering guidance while at work.  Employees are also encouraged to protect themselves at home and in public settings with the appropriate social distancing and facial covering behaviors.

​I hear that some managers are bringing all their employees back on 8/3. That is not what the EN COVID plan indicates on the website and I'm afraid. If one manager brings all their employees back then the others will start following suit...

​Q: ​I hear that some managers are bringing all their employees back on 8/3. That is not what the EN COVID plan indicates on the website and I'm afraid. If one manager brings all their employees back then the others will start following suit. Does everyone need to fill out the telecommuting paperwork to keep from being forced back to site with all the buildings full of all employees while the COVID cases in Benton and Franklin counties continue to rise?

A: Thank you for the question.  Previously, we did layout a return to work plan that set a target for all employees returning to work roughly over a one month period. This plan was developed in June in anticipation that local counties would soon transition to Phase 2 and Phase 3 could be entered three weeks after that.

Given the current situation in the local counties, we are no longer that optimistic. On July 15, we revised our return to work plan to align with the Phase 3 for bringing all employees back to work. This expectation is captured in the COVID-19 Restart Planning document located on the COVID website (see Phase E).

We will discuss the revised COVID-19 Restart Planning document at the next Leadership Alignment Meeting so that all managers are aware of the new expectation and adjust their department return to work plans accordingly.

​Given our recent uptick in number of personnel testing positive and the number of personnel getting tested for various reasons, is it a good plan to increase the number of personnel required to be on-site and in meetings?...

Q: ​Given our recent uptick in number of personnel testing positive and the number of personnel getting tested for various reasons, is it a good plan to increase the number of personnel required to be on-site and in meetings?  I understand the precautions that can be taken but why challenge our current status?

A: Thank you for your question about our restart plans. We will only bring back portions of departments at one time while the others, including those in any of the special categories, continue to work remotely.  We will also strictly enforce our expectations that CDC guidelines to limit potential infections are followed by everyone onsite. This reduces the risk of inadvertently infecting other employees in general, and specifically an entire department. Consequently, we believe the likelihood of infecting an entire Department, whether it is large or small, to be very remote.  Department plans have identified groups of about 1/3 of employees, or in the cases of smaller departments ½ of the employees, who would return for varying lengths of time and then rotate off being replaced by one of the other groups. This limits the total number of employees on site at one time which improves our ability to provide adequate social distancing.  We are constantly monitoring the health of our employees and conditions in the local community.  If the situation changes, we can adjust our response as necessary and have had to as the state has modified its own restart guidance several times.

Remember our competing goals to protect the health and safety of our employees while at the same time protecting the health and safety of the public by operating Columbia safely and reliably.  We feel that after 3 months (2 months for our essential workers) of working from home it is safe and appropriate to begin reintegrating our work force to their normal work locations.  To do this safely will require strict adherence to our screening, social distancing and facial covering guidance while at work.  All employees are also encouraged to protect themselves at home and in public settings with the appropriate social distancing and facial covering behaviors.

See full return to work plan for non-essential employees.

Q. ​I've heard some managers suggest that the return to work plan for non-essential employees should start the week after the Governor's authorization.  This seems like a very practical approach and would help employees manage their time better as opposed to the current approach where management tells us we might start on Monday but check your emails over the weekend in case we don't. The first way is predictable and reliable the current way is reactive.  Could Sr. management adopt this approach?

A. ​It is understood that the governor’s decisions puts a level of uncertainty within our company for our phased return to work planning. You question/challenge was discussed and the senior leadership and pandemic response teams will commit to provide timely and accurate communication on our plan to move EN into Phase D. We will attempt to do that with consideration for planning and preparation time. We ask all employees to keep tuned into the news or social media for updates on the governor’s decisions related to our counties. When you hear that he has approved Phase 2 for Benton and Franklin counties, you can expect that EN will following up with timing of Phase D implementation. 

​Is EN considering deviating from Washington state recommendations at any phase? Currently Benton and Franklin counties do not meet the metrics set by the state to enter the next phase but the trend does not indicate that would happen anytime soon.

​At this time Energy Northwest continues to align with the plan laid out by Gov. Inslee. If the governor does not move Benton and Franklin counties to Phase II according to the schedule originally outlined, EN will modify our return to work timeline accordingly.  These commitments however will be evaluated based on both health and safety of our employees and operational challenges and may be adjusted, as an essential infrastructure business, if necessary.

How does the governor's most recent announcement related to the extension of the stay at home order have on the plans to return to the site for non-essential workers?

​The agency’s Return to Work plan was written to be flexible with the changing requirements. We are in phase A for bringing back essential workers to support normal maintenance and operations. Phase B will continue as planned with a small, select group of managers performing planning tasks the week of May 11. That group will utilize the governor’s new stay at home and phased return-to-work criteria as a critical piece for decisions on returning non-essential workers to the workplace.

The phases for returning to work make sense and seem well-thought out. However, I care for my high-risk parent (as defined by the CDC) at my home. Are there any considerations for keeping our high-risk parents safe while we return to work?

​We didn’t lay out a specific plan for employees who care for high-risk individuals who are not symptomatic. Employees caring for a high-risk individual should discuss any needed flexible work options with their supervisor. The management team will be working on non-essential employee return to work planning the week of May 11. Additional details and resources will be developed during that time to facilitate discussions with your supervisor.

When we started this modified work schedule there were few cases of COVID-19 in the Tri-Cities. There are now about 800 cases and growing. How is now the right time to return to our normal schedule?

​The Energy Northwest senior leadership team and the pandemic response team continue to monitor the government orders for appropriate response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the virus and those infected continue to rise, the increase is not unexpected. The goal of the stay home order and other provisions was to slow the spread and allow for hospitals and healthcare services time to respond. As EN operates an essential business in the region, having a planned and coordinate return to work criteria is necessary. In anticipation of some lifting of these measures the team has been working on the strategy that balances the health and safety of our employees and allows for the ongoing safe operation of our facilities. It includes provisions for any high risk individuals, telecommuting, ongoing health screening, continued social distancing, and incorporating work practices that minimize risk and exposure. It will be a phased approach and coordinated with oversight from each department manager. While the plan is still within draft stage it is expected to be completed shortly. We are working to finalize the plan while we monitor any additional actions from the governor, which we will act upon accordingly.  

What's the current time-table for us to transition back to a normal work-life schedule at Columbia?

Our priority is for the safety and health of our employees and the senior team outlined a return to work plan.

​In today's video message Bob Schuetz said we won't be bringing everyone back to work all at once, but we'll start about May 4.  Will we be doing some sort of phased approach to returning non-essential employees to work?

​​Yes, plans are being developed to return non-essential employees to work after the governor's order ends May 4 at 11:59 p.m. We are monitoring any changes in the governor's orders and will adjust our plans accordingly. Employees will receive additional guidance for returning to work as we get closer to the May 4 at 11:59 p.m. date. Please continue to monitor the COVID-19 website for details.

I've heard that companies like WRPS are looking at a phased approach to the return to work, currently scheduled for May 4. Does EN have any plans to help with a smooth transition back to "normal"?

Yes, plans are being developed to return non-essential employees to work after the governor's order ends May 31. We are monitoring any changes in the governor's orders and will adjust our plans accordingly. Please continue to monitor the COVID-19 website for details.

Proclamation 20-25 (Stay Home, Stay Healthy order) is amended to extend all of its provisions and each expiration date therein to 11:59 p.m. May 4. Is EN going to change the work reporting date? Why? Or why not?

​To align with governor's direction of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order we extended essential only until May 4. Energy Northwest operates an essential business in the region and we intend to evaluate our staffing on a weekly basis in the event that some staffing changes are necessary in order to continue safe operation.

How are we addressing ERO callouts if something happens?  Will there be enough people to screen us at the JIC and the site before we go to our ERO duty station?

Emergency Preparedness developed a three-level approach contingency plan due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently we are in level-1 of the contingency plan. Level-1 states the on call ERO team will respond to their assigned centers as trained. If the criteria to enter level-2 or 3 is deemed necessary by senior leadership, communications will be sent out to the emergency response organization teams prior to entering the next level. Screening criteria has been developed similar to what is being performed at the Security checkpoint. Screening individuals identified for both level-2 and 3 will ensure the safety of the ERO team members and their families is maintained.    

When should I take personal time (PT) versus charging my time to the COVID-19 non-productive time work order?

​As of March 24, employees may charge to the COVID-19 non-productive time work order if they can work but are unable to based on the inability to telecommute or lack of work as confirmed with their supervision. They must remain fit for duty, available for FFD testing, readily accessible by phone (answer the call or call back within 30 minutes, and be able to promptly report to work if asked to do so. Employees may also charge to the COVID-19 non-productive time work order if they met the reasons for the COVID-19 supplemental leave and have been directed to stay home.

Otherwise, their time off should be recorded as personal time (PT). Here are a few examples of when to use PT (i.e., be sure to still seek approval by your supervision):

 If you are choosing to not remain fit for duty.
You are wishing to take the day off and not perform work or respond to work if needed.
If you have chosen to run personal errands which will take you away from the ability to respond to work within 30 minutes.
If you would have normally taken the time of as PT and not work (e.g., preapproved day off to travel to see family, etc.)

What should employees do if they are scheduled to exit EN during the time that non-essentials are working remotely?

​Employees should connect with their HR Generalist to work through the details. Each employee exit actions may be unique and individual direction will be provided.

​Not knowing how long EN's or the state's "stay at home" posture will remain in place, how will the organization and personnel handle Unescorted Access requirements, specifically processing into the PA every 30 days?

​The BOP interaction every 28 days (30 by regulation, we insert the buffer) is the requirement. Badge scanning that occurs at the Security checkpoint is a tracking aid for this requirement, but is not going to be as effective during our large scale telecommuting. This used to be tracked at the PA card readers, but that change occurred almost eight years ago.

Managers and supervisors will attest to this BOP interaction on their monthly BOP report, which is the same as they were doing prior to COVID-19. The addition of performing this interaction via a Skype style video conference will assist the team with the volume of telecommuting employees.

​If we need something for our job like a file can we come out there to get it?

​Employees can come to the site to retrieve a needed file. Please limit your time on site, the spaces you visit and the people you interact with.

​Do employees working remotely from home count as staff towards the minimum staffing required per the Pandemic Staffing Plan?

​The minimum staffing employee does not have to actually be on site. If they can accomplish their role while telecommuting, that is fine.

​With the new requirements of non-essential workers to work from home, how do I, as a Supervisor, observe my workers for any aberrant behavior as part of our Security requirements?

​The current process requirement of conducting face-to-face interaction with an employee once every 28 days (at minimum) still applies. An interim compensatory measure for this face-to-face interaction is being instituted while the station is dealing with the COVID-19 station limitations. While employees are telecommuting, it will be acceptable to perform your BOP observation in one of two ways.

1. You may set up a meeting with the individual off site to conduct this interaction. This meeting should be of business relevance and intentionally planned, and should not be a random interaction such as running into someone at the grocery store. Face-to-face contact is required with the individual in a work status; meaning the individual being observed must be available for FFD drug and alcohol testing.

2. Behavior Observation Program supervisors/managers may utilize a Skype style interaction to conduct their BOP. The intent is that the employee can be visually observed (virtual face-to-face), and the interaction should be of business relevance with the employee in a work status. Again, the individual must be available for FFD drug and alcohol testing in order for the BOP interaction to be official.

​Should everyone that is on an ERO team carry the "Essential Employee Authorization" form, regardless if they are on call or not?

Yes, that would be appropriate. Please note that carrying the letter is a precautionary measure and not required. 

Given a state-wide shelter in place order, how does this impact essential individuals?

If a state-wide shelter in place is ordered, essential individuals, as identified through GBP-HR-40, are required to be on site to complete job-related functions. A letter titled “Essential Employee Authorization Letter” confirming essential status can be provided to law enforcement if individuals travelling to work are challenged. Download a copy of the letter and keep it in your vehicle.

​Are the pandemic staffing plan individuals required to work on site?

​Employees identified as essential will need to be physically on site as required by their specific job function.

​What is the expectation that employees work from home given the EN Senior Team has requested non-essential employees to remain off site?

​For the health and safety of our employees, EN’s senior team made a decision to have all non-essential employees (as defined in GBP-HR-40) remain off site for two weeks, starting Tuesday March 24. We urge those employees who previously volunteered to work from home to continue to do so as much as possible. For those non-essential employees who have been reporting each day and will now stay home, we ask that you look for opportunities to telecommute as much as possible. All non-essential employees not reporting to their work location will be paid 40 hours per week during this period. We do not expect telecommuting employees during this period to have to document 40 hours’ worth of work. Note that FFD requirements are still in place for individuals who are off site. Individuals are required to check in with their supervisors daily to discuss (1) their health, and (2) discuss any work they are completing while off site. Any adverse updates based on individuals health should be reported to the department manager and Pandemic Response Team.

  
​Are we still on track for non-vaccinated workers to be able to stop wearing masks effective June 30?  I'm not sure I've seen an update...

Q: ​Are we still on track for non-vaccinated workers to be able to stop wearing masks effective June 30?  I'm not sure I've seen an update...

A: Changes to COVID-19 restrictions July 1

Effective July 1, Washington state was expected to remove the remaining requirements associated with managing COVID-19. However, specific requirements for businesses remain.

The following specific changes for Energy Northwest are effective July 1:

 Work hours and telecommuting

  • All employees are expected to resume on-site work for work hours charged.
  • Telecommuting is authorized for positions eligible for remote work per GBP-HR-10, "Work Schedules and Telecommuting: Including Adverse Conditions." Ongoing telecommuting arrangements must meet all approvals required per GBP-HR-10 using Form 27005, with a copy of the completed form submitted to the respective HR generalist. Informal, infrequent telecommuting for non-bargaining employees must also follow GBP-HR-10 provisions and be pre-approved by your supervisor. If telecommuting, you must remain fit for duty during your established normal work hours/ERO period, have childcare support if applicable, and be available to immediately report to your designated work location if requested. Previous approval to telecommute during the pandemic period does not guarantee that telecommuting under non-pandemic conditions will be approved.
  • COVID-19 supplemental leave and COVID-19 non-productive work orders are no longer available.

     Masks and social distancing
  • Masks are not required if the employee is fully vaccinated; however, all employees are free to wear a mask if they choose. The CDC still recommends wearing masks indoors in tight spaces, or if required by the employer. Employees will need to show either proof of vaccination or attest that they are fully vaccinated and have their badge appropriately marked.
  • Social distancing is still required if personnel are not vaccinated.
  • Core business meetings shift to in-person for both quorum employees and observers. Selected meetings may choose to have a Teams remote connection as well.
  • Social distancing signs can be removed after July 1. It is recommended that departments retain any signs in sturdy condition.

     

    Illness reporting
  • Formal contact tracing will be performed if an employee reports they are positive for COVID-19. The pandemic response team has been disbanded and Occupational Health will take over the contact tracing function.
  • Employees are encouraged to always evaluate their own health status and should not report to work if they are ill for any reason. The daily screening checklist will remain available through the COVID-19 website.
  • Anyone exposed to COVID-19 can report to work if they are asymptomatic, regardless of vaccination status.  Employees who are not vaccinated must wear a mask while at work and self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.  Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 should not report to work and should notify their supervisor.
  • Employees who test positive for COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and stay home until symptom free. Supervisors should notify Occupational Health.

     Pandemic response resources
  • Temperature monitors located inside Energy Northwest facilities will remain and daily temperature screening is still required.
  • Facilities will remain available for room sanitization on request.
  • The pandemic response team, including email and text notifications of positive COVID-19 cases, will be discontinued. Employees are encouraged to report COVID-19 illnesses to Occupational Health.
  • The pandemic response team internal website will remain accessible as a resource; future updates will be infrequent. The COVID-19 question forum will be closed.

     

    For additional questions about EN's COVID-19 response, contact your supervisor or Occupational Health.

     

     

     
With the current outside temperature and many employees have been vaccinated, is it still recommended against personal fan usage in cubicles?

Q: With the current outside temperature and many employees have been vaccinated, is it still recommended against personal fan usage in cubicles?

A: CDC has recently updated their guidance on the use of personal fans on June 2, 2021. After having a discussion and review of the recent CDC guidance change with EN Industrial Safety and the Pandemic Response Team the use of personal fans is allowed for the workplace when following the below CDC recommended guidance measures.

As with all fan use during the COVID-19 pandemic, take care to minimize the potential to create air patterns that flow directly across one person onto another:

  • Avoid the use of the high-speed settings
  • Use ceiling fans at low velocity and potentially in the reverse-flow direction (so that air is pulled up toward the ceiling)
  • Direct the fan discharge towards an unoccupied corner and wall spaces or up above the occupied zone.
What is the expectation for measuring temperatures when arriving to work? I have not seen anyone using the temperature monitors in over a month, and with the new guidance for vaccinated employees, there has been no additional communication on what's expec

Q: What is the expectation for measuring temperatures when arriving to work? I have not seen anyone using the temperature monitors in over a month, and with the new guidance for vaccinated employees, there has been no additional communication on what's expected regarding the temperature monitors. 

A: The current COVID-19 Restart Plan Actions number 5 specifically states that all EN employee continue existing daily screening, including temperature checks prior to reporting to their work location. The Pandemic Response Team has also observed employees not stopping at temperature monitors at the PAAP or in the Deschutes during scheduled observations at these key locations. One thing to keep in mind is that there are numerous temperature monitors throughout the station and at our off-site facilities. During the Pandemic Response Teams observations/coaching most if not all employees had already checked their temperature at one of the many other locations. So, it may seem that employees are by-passing the temperature monitors when they may have already properly checked their temperature at another location. Employees are encouraged to respectfully coach one another when incorrect behaviors are observed. If repeated instances of incorrect behavior are seen in the same individual despite coaching, the observer should notify their own supervisor of the observation so that appropriate leadership can be informed to further investigate and/or address the situation. Future changes will be communicated to all employees once approved. Until that time employees are encouraged to continue to follow EN COVID-19 protocols listed on the COVID-19 website.     

The latest research out of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates that people who have contracted COVID-19 and recovered develop protective antibodies that will likely last a lifetime. Although this specific study is looking at mi

Q: The latest research out of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates that people who have contracted COVID-19 and recovered develop protective antibodies that will likely last a lifetime. Although this specific study is looking at mild cases of COVID-19, with additional research for more severe cases pending, it begs the question of why Energy Northwest is only adjusting the mandatory mask policy for employees who have received a vaccine and not for employees who have naturally developed immunity from the age-old method of contracting an illness and overcoming it?

A:  While there is some evidence that having had COVID-19 does impart natural immunity, the current state mandates do not recognize natural immunity as a reason to relax mask usage. As a state agency in Washington, we are obligated to follow the state mandates.  

Where can I get the grommet on my badge saying I've been vaccinated? I just hit my 2 weeks and haven't been able to find anyone stationed in the Deschutes. I've tried in the evening and the morning.

Q: Where can I get the grommet on my badge saying I've been vaccinated? I just hit my 2 weeks and haven't been able to find anyone stationed in the Deschutes. I've tried in the evening and the morning.

A: Pandemic response team members will verify vaccination status seven days a week beginning May 21 in the Palouse Building, Room 103, from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. Verification will also be done in the Industrial Safety Office in the Deschutes Building, Room 1-162 between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

For information call the COVID-19 hotline at 377-8715.

Under the updated Energy Northwest facial coverings and mask policy, individuals who wish to can provide proof they are fully vaccinated from COVID-19 and be exempt from wearing a facial covering.

All of the simptoms listed on the D15 for Heat Stress are also amplified by wearing a mask. "Discuss signs/ symptoms of heat stress in prejob briefings (headache, dizziness, excessive sweating, nausea, weakness)." At what point are we going to recognize t

Q: All the symptoms listed on the D15 for Heat Stress are also amplified by wearing a mask. "Discuss signs/ symptoms of heat stress in pre-job briefings (headache, dizziness, excessive sweating, nausea, weakness)." At what point are we going to recognize that masks are doing harm and impacting employees in a very negative way? This could get very dangerous as the temperatures begin to climb for summer. 

A: There are available options offered to employees in certain circumstances. Individuals that have an underlying health condition (accommodated through Human Resources) may seek relief from wearing a mask and replace the facial covering with another type suited for their situation. Employees are encouraged to communicate with their supervisor and HR generalist on further details.  

I and possibly many others who chose to get a vaccine and/or wear a mask may face discrimination (have already heard questions about political affiliation) because of this new mask policy. It also has given license to many unvaccinated individuals to not

Q: I and possibly many others who chose to get a vaccine and/or wear a mask may face discrimination (have already heard questions about political affiliation) because of this new mask policy. It also has given license to many unvaccinated individuals to not even have the pretense of having or using a mask; if someone else doesn't need one, why do I. How are we to coach individuals or groups of individuals to wear a mask if they have not been vaccinated? Get close enough to examine their badge and risk the charge of harassment? 

 A: Thanks for your question.  When the CDC and Governor Inslee changed the mask requirements last week, ENW senior leadership reviewed our options and determined that we will continue to follow the CDC and the WA state policies.  We have heard from our workers that some are in agreement with our stance and others are opposed. We understand this but will continue with our path of following the CDC and state.

We do not believe that our changes will lead to discrimination. We are not violating any medical privacy issues with our policy.  The un-vaccinated mask wearers are protecting other un-vaccinated workers. No one is forced to reveal their status; it is done entirely on a voluntary basis.  Secondly, and not insignificantly, "normal" HIPAA laws do not universally apply during a pandemic environment.  If you search Washington State Department of Labor or Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration websites, you can easily find guidance related to information that employers are allowed to ask and collect from employees that would otherwise be considered protected.  The justification for this additional authority is the fact that COVID is easily passed from one person to another and can have severe health effects; consequently, this is a public safety issue, and more authority is given to employers to collect and use this type of information to protect public health.  In combination, these two factors result in Energy Northwest having the legal authority to mark individual badges with an indication of vaccination without violating HIPAA.

Employees are encouraged to respectfully coach one another when incorrect behaviors are observed.  If repeated instances of incorrect behavior are seen in the same individual despite coaching, the observer should notify their own supervisor of the observation so that appropriate leadership can be informed to further investigate and/or address the situation.

If anyone feels that they are being discriminated against, please contact your supervision, Human Resources or Legal.

I am scared that I (and many others) will face discrimination because of this new mask policy. (The marking on the badge seems very unnecessary and uncalled for- as it is a clear indicator to everyone else about my classified medical decision.) EVERY pers

Q: I am scared that I (and many others) will face discrimination because of this new mask policy. (The marking on the badge seems very unnecessary and uncalled for- as it is a clear indicator to everyone else about my classified medical decision.) EVERY person should be able to understand the safety concerns and choose to wear a mask or not. (The masked, unvaccinated people are to wear masks to protect the people around them- the vaccinated people? Why do masked people need to protect the vaccinated, isn't that counter-intuitive?) If my religious or medical-based choice to not get vaccinated will result in me being singled out and possibly being the only one in my group not getting vaccinated (for personal reasons that I will not be sharing to co-workers) how is this protecting me at work from discrimination? Everyone will be aware of my medical decision to not get vaccinated (by still wearing a mask). I do not feel protected for fear of discrimination at work.

A: Thanks for your question.  When the CDC and Governor Inslee changed the mask requirements last week, ENW senior leadership reviewed our options and determined that we will continue to follow the CDC and the WA state policies.  We have heard from our workers that some are in agreement with our stance and others are opposed. We understand this but will continue with our path of following the CDC and state.

We do not believe that our changes will lead to discrimination. We are not violating any medical privacy issues with our policy.  The un-vaccinated mask wearers are protecting other un-vaccinated workers. No one is forced to reveal their status; it is done entirely on a voluntary basis.  Secondly, and not insignificantly, "normal" HIPAA laws do not universally apply during a pandemic environment.  If you search Washington State Department of Labor or Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration websites, you can easily find guidance related to information that employers are allowed to ask and collect from employees that would otherwise be considered protected.  The justification for this additional authority is the fact that COVID is easily passed from one person to another and can have severe health effects; consequently, this is a public safety issue, and more authority is given to employers to collect and use this type of information to protect public health.  In combination, these two factors result in Energy Northwest having the legal authority to mark individual badges with an indication of vaccination without violating HIPAA.

If anyone feels that they are being discriminated against, please contact your supervision, Human Resources or Legal.

​An employee asked if they have already had COVID and have recent antibody testing showing that they have COVID antibodies if they can use those results in place of a vaccination card. Will these results be adequate or is the mask exemption strictly for t

Q: An employee asked if they have already had COVID and have recent antibody testing showing that they have COVID antibodies if they can use those results in place of a vaccination card. Will these results be adequate or is the mask exemption strictly for those with a vaccination? 

A: For this situation, "fully vaccinated" means two weeks after receiving the second shot of a two-shot vaccine (Pfizer/Moderna) or 2 weeks after receiving the J&J vaccine. Currently CDC guidance is that individuals must show proof of being fully vaccinated through one of the three available shots.

 

Will you accept photocopies or digital images of the card from everyone, without regard to location of residence?

Q: Will you accept photocopies or digital images of the card from everyone, without regard to location of residence? 

A: Effective Sunday, May 16, employees - including our teammates who are with us for the outage - who can demonstrate proof of full vaccination will not need to wear a mask on company property.  Workers who are not vaccinated will need to continue to follow our existing mask policy. No employee or temporary worker is required to disclose their vaccination status; however, those who choose not to disclose their status or not be vaccinated will be required to continue following the current mask policy.  To support those who have travelled a long distance to get here, we will accept as proof of vaccination a picture, photocopy or scanned image of your record of vaccination. 

Are vaccinated employees still required to perform temperature checks prior to shift?

Q: Are vaccinated employees still required to perform temperature checks prior to shift?

A: All employees must be able to answer NO to all the questions listed on the Screening Checklist prior to reporting to work regardless of their vaccination status.

I am troubled by the fact that while we are not asking individuals to reveal their vaccination status, we are going ahead and marking everyone who does not have a vaccine. I think some honesty about the results of our action to mark people “vaccinated” im

Q: I am troubled by the fact that while we are not asking individuals to reveal their vaccination status, we are going ahead and marking everyone who does not have a vaccine. I think some honesty about the results of our action to mark people "vaccinated" implies that non-vaccinated will end up "marked" and therefore disclosed. This is a dangerous precedent for medical disclosure and unfortunate turn of events. Is station management sure they are willing to disclose people's status without their permission? I strongly oppose receiving any marks (or non-marks) for medical decisions.

A: I appreciate and share your concern over the sensitive nature of a person's medical history.  In order to comply with the government's updated policy, which is designed to allow vaccinated citizens of Washington State to not wear masks while those who are not vaccinated must still wear them, we were required to update our policy.

To be clear right up front, Energy Northwest is not revealing anyone's vaccination status.  The process is completely voluntary, and employees are free to make their own decision to reveal their status or not. 

We crafted the language in our updated to policy to be clear that:

1. Energy Northwest will not require disclosure of vaccination status 2. All employees, even those who are vaccinated, are free to wear masks and socially distance.

This does provide some ambiguity on the vaccination status of an employee who has chosen to wear a mask - no one except that employee can know if they are vaccinated or not.  For those who have been vaccinated, if they don't want that fact disclosed, they may simply wear a mask.  In these cases, both the employee and the company are complying with the regulations.

Of course, the situation you describe is not restricted to Energy Northwest.  With the update to the Washington state guidelines, you cannot be sure if the person you pass in a store aisle wearing a mask is vaccinated or not.

With the new CDC Guidelines with regards to wearing masks, fully vaccinated person no longer have to wear masks. What is going to be CGS stance on this new guideance?

Q: With the new CDC Guidelines with regards to wearing masks, fully vaccinated person no longer must wear masks. What is going to be CGS stance on this new guidance?

A: On Thursday the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and Governor Inslee updated their policies for controlling COVID-19.  Taking the two announcements together the net result is:

            On June 30 Washington state will return to normal pre-COVID life. No one will be required to socially distance or wear a mask.*  All counties will advance to Stage 3 May 18 (Benton and Franklin are already there).

            Between now and June 30, if the total vaccination percentage for eligible populations in Washington reaches 70% (it is currently about 59%) then no one will be required to wear a mask or socially distance.  All that is required to support this objective is that 70% of residents get one shot of a two-shot vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) or a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

            Between now and June 30, those who are fully vaccinated will not need to wear a mask.*  For this situation, "fully vaccinated" means two weeks after receiving the second shot of a two-shot vaccine (Pfizer/Moderna) or 2 weeks after receiving the J&J vaccine.

* There are some restrictions, such as masks still required in public transportation, and mask wear remains encouraged for all who are in crowded settings.  Additionally, should COVID rebound to the point that hospital ICU beds are challenged, general mask wearing could be reinstituted. 

Over the last 24 hours we received numerous requests for information on the changes in the government's policy.  While most were interested in how and when we might implement the changes, some expressed concerns that with the outage in progress and while we are showing good control of COVID with our current policy now is not the time to loosen our restrictions.

Policy Update

Senior Leadership team discussed the issue yesterday and realizes that whatever path we take will not please everyone. So, we have decided the best course of action is to do what we have done all along – implement CDC recommendations while following state mandates.  Effective Sunday, May 16, employees - including our teammates who are with us for the outage - who can demonstrate proof of full vaccination will not need to wear a mask on company property.  Workers who are not vaccinated will need to continue to follow our existing mask policy. No employee or temporary worker is required to disclose their vaccination status; however, those who choose not to disclose their status or not be vaccinated will be required to continue following the current mask policy.  To support those who have travelled a long distance to get here, we will accept as proof of vaccination a picture, photocopy or scanned image of your record of vaccination. 

Requiring proof of vaccination provides a reasonable balance between our requirement to follow the CDC and Washington guidance, while at the same time addressing the concerns of employees about potential spread of the virus or who might be in the high-risk category.  All employees, regardless of their vaccination status, are of course free to wear a mask and socially distance at all times.

To help easily identify those who are not required to wear masks, Sunday, May 16, Energy Northwest staff will be stationed at the Deschutes flag pole during shift changes (5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.) to verify proof of vaccination and will mark individual EN badges so you will not have to repeat the verification daily. Additional verification times beyond shift change will be established Monday. 

The Energy Services & Development leadership team will develop a plan for rolling out this change with all ESD employees, including remote sites. ESD employees who have questions should reach out to their supervisor or manager. 

Guidance for implementing the changes scheduled for June 30 will be provided at a later date.

If you have any questions, the best and quickest way to get an answer is to ask your supervisor or submit your question to the Pandemic Response Team.

 

It appears the CDC revised there guidance to allow no masks for personnel who are fully vaccinated both outdoors and indoors for most instances.  When will we switch to this guidance.

Q: It appears the CDC revised their guidance to allow no masks for personnel who are fully vaccinated both outdoors and indoors for most instances.  When will we switch to this guidance? 

A: On Thursday the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and Governor Inslee updated their policies for controlling COVID-19.  Taking the two announcements together the net result is:

            On June 30 Washington state will return to normal pre-COVID life. No one will be required to socially distance or wear a mask.*  All counties will advance to Stage 3 May 18 (Benton and Franklin are already there).

            Between now and June 30, if the total vaccination percentage for eligible populations in Washington reaches 70% (it is currently about 59%) then no one will be required to wear a mask or socially distance.  All that is required to support this objective is that 70% of residents get one shot of a two-shot vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) or a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

            Between now and June 30, those who are fully vaccinated will not need to wear a mask.*  For this situation, "fully vaccinated" means two weeks after receiving the second shot of a two-shot vaccine (Pfizer/Moderna) or 2 weeks after receiving the J&J vaccine.

* There are some restrictions, such as masks still required in public transportation, and mask wear remains encouraged for all who are in crowded settings.  Additionally, should COVID rebound to the point that hospital ICU beds are challenged, general mask wearing could be reinstituted. 

Over the last 24 hours we received numerous requests for information on the changes in the government's policy.  While most were interested in how and when we might implement the changes, some expressed concerns that with the outage in progress and while we are showing good control of COVID with our current policy now is not the time to loosen our restrictions.

Policy Update

Senior Leadership team discussed the issue yesterday and realizes that whatever path we take will not please everyone. So, we have decided the best course of action is to do what we have done all along – implement CDC recommendations while following state mandates.  Effective Sunday, May 16, employees - including our teammates who are with us for the outage - who can demonstrate proof of full vaccination will not need to wear a mask on company property.  Workers who are not vaccinated will need to continue to follow our existing mask policy. No employee or temporary worker is required to disclose their vaccination status; however, those who choose not to disclose their status or not be vaccinated will be required to continue following the current mask policy.  To support those who have travelled a long distance to get here, we will accept as proof of vaccination a picture, photocopy or scanned image of your record of vaccination. 

Requiring proof of vaccination provides a reasonable balance between our requirement to follow the CDC and Washington guidance, while at the same time addressing the concerns of employees about potential spread of the virus or who might be in the high-risk category.  All employees, regardless of their vaccination status, are of course free to wear a mask and socially distance at all times.

To help easily identify those who are not required to wear masks, Sunday, May 16, Energy Northwest staff will be stationed at the Deschutes flag pole during shift changes (5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.) to verify proof of vaccination and will mark individual EN badges so you will not have to repeat the verification daily. Additional verification times beyond shift change will be established Monday. 

The Energy Services & Development leadership team will develop a plan for rolling out this change with all ESD employees, including remote sites. ESD employees who have questions should reach out to their supervisor or manager. 

Guidance for implementing the changes scheduled for June 30 will be provided at a later date.

If you have any questions, the best and quickest way to get an answer is to ask your supervisor or submit your question to the Pandemic Response Team.

Related to the ask senior management question posted on 5/13 and the Governor Inslee press release dated 5/13 titled  "Inslee announces statewide reopening date of June 30 and short-term statewide move to Phase 3" where he stated "that Washington will ful

Q: Related to the ask senior management question posted on 5/13 and the Governor Inslee press release dated 5/13 titled  "Inslee announces statewide reopening date of June 30 and short-term statewide move to Phase 3" where he stated "that Washington will fully adopt masking guidance issued by the CDC earlier today." and "The state will update our guidance documents — working with the Department of Health and Labor & Industries — to reflect this as soon as possible. Businesses retain the right to require customers wear masks." Are we going to remove the mask requirement for fully vaccinated people, thus encouraging vaccination by providing a benefit?

A: On Thursday the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and Governor Inslee updated their policies for controlling COVID-19.  Taking the two announcements together the net result is:

            On June 30 Washington state will return to normal pre-COVID life. No one will be required to socially distance or wear a mask.*  All counties will advance to Stage 3 May 18 (Benton and Franklin are already there).

            Between now and June 30, if the total vaccination percentage for eligible populations in Washington reaches 70% (it is currently about 59%) then no one will be required to wear a mask or socially distance.  All that is required to support this objective is that 70% of residents get one shot of a two-shot vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) or a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

            Between now and June 30, those who are fully vaccinated will not need to wear a mask.*  For this situation, "fully vaccinated" means two weeks after receiving the second shot of a two-shot vaccine (Pfizer/Moderna) or 2 weeks after receiving the J&J vaccine.

* There are some restrictions, such as masks still required in public transportation, and mask wear remains encouraged for all who are in crowded settings.  Additionally, should COVID rebound to the point that hospital ICU beds are challenged, general mask wearing could be reinstituted. 

Over the last 24 hours we received numerous requests for information on the changes in the government's policy.  While most were interested in how and when we might implement the changes, some expressed concerns that with the outage in progress and while we are showing good control of COVID with our current policy now is not the time to loosen our restrictions.

Policy Update

Senior Leadership team discussed the issue yesterday and realizes that whatever path we take will not please everyone. So, we have decided the best course of action is to do what we have done all along – implement CDC recommendations while following state mandates.  Effective Sunday, May 16, employees - including our teammates who are with us for the outage - who can demonstrate proof of full vaccination will not need to wear a mask on company property.  Workers who are not vaccinated will need to continue to follow our existing mask policy. No employee or temporary worker is required to disclose their vaccination status; however, those who choose not to disclose their status or not be vaccinated will be required to continue following the current mask policy.  To support those who have travelled a long distance to get here, we will accept as proof of vaccination a picture, photocopy or scanned image of your record of vaccination. 

Requiring proof of vaccination provides a reasonable balance between our requirement to follow the CDC and Washington guidance, while at the same time addressing the concerns of employees about potential spread of the virus or who might be in the high-risk category.  All employees, regardless of their vaccination status, are of course free to wear a mask and socially distance at all times.

To help easily identify those who are not required to wear masks, Sunday, May 16, Energy Northwest staff will be stationed at the Deschutes flag pole during shift changes (5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.) to verify proof of vaccination and will mark individual EN badges so you will not have to repeat the verification daily. Additional verification times beyond shift change will be established Monday. 

The Energy Services & Development leadership team will develop a plan for rolling out this change with all ESD employees, including remote sites. ESD employees who have questions should reach out to their supervisor or manager. 

Guidance for implementing the changes scheduled for June 30 will be provided at a later date.

If you have any questions, the best and quickest way to get an answer is to ask your supervisor or submit your question to the Pandemic Response Team.

Where do I receive the mark on my badge?

Q: Where do I receive the mark on my badge?

A: Pandemic response team members will verify vaccination status seven days a week beginning May 21 in the Palouse Building, Room 103, from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. Verification will also be done in the Industrial Safety Office in the Deschutes Building, Room 1-162 between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

For information call the COVID-19 hotline at 377-8715.

Under the updated Energy Northwest facial coverings and mask policy, individuals who wish to can provide proof they are fully vaccinated from COVID-19 and be exempt from wearing a facial covering.

​Per CDC guidance "If you've been fully vaccinated you can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart."  If all members of a work group, meeting room, or main control room have been fully vaccinated will the

Q.  ​Per CDC guidance "If you've been fully vaccinated you can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart."  If all members of a work group, meeting room, or main control room have been fully vaccinated will the company allow for relaxed mask usage, i.e., only requiring masks when an un vaccinated or unknown vaccine status individual enters the work area?

A.  ​As we enter Refueling Outage R-25 it is important for the station to remain vigilant in maintaining our current health behaviors.   We recognize that CDC guidance has changed recently for vaccinated individuals, however we do not want to let our guard down at this time and are keeping the same mask usage and social distancing practices that we already have in place, i.e. mask usage covering nose and mouth, and maintaining a 6-foot distance between yourself and others where practicable.  This will help us to protect our employees, our contractors, and will give us the best possibility of ensuring we do not have scope or schedule issues with the refueling outage due to COVID concerns.  After we successfully complete R-25 we will re-evaluate our position regarding mask usage and social distancing based upon the CDC and State recommendations and guidelines at that time.

What is the status on use of personal fans to keep us cool as the temperature heats up? I know at one-point last year fan use was discouraged and have not seen an update since.

Q: What is the status on use of personal fans to keep us cool as the temperature heats up? I know at one-point last year fan use was discouraged and have not seen an update since. 

A: CDC Guidance suggests that fans would close the social distance benefits by potentially spreading exhaled aerosols. Therefore, at this time personal use fans are NOT to be used in office buildings. Use of fans in industrial areas will be evaluated on a case by case basis by Facilities & Commercial Engineering and approved by a manager.

In the past we were to stay home if exposed to someone with COVID. If I have been vaccinated and have been exposed to someone, I know has COVID, what actions am to take?

Q: In the past we were to stay home if exposed to someone with COVID. If I have been vaccinated and have been exposed to someone, I know has COVID, what actions am to take? 

A: Per the CDC, those that have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated against the disease and show no symptoms. The Energy Northwest COVID-19 Site Access Screening Checklist rev. 6 has recently been revised to include the information on being vaccinated. Employees must be still be able to answer NO to all the questions listed on the Screening Checklist prior to reporting to work.

​For the many contractors coming on site here for the R-25 outage that have not been vaccinated, do they need to have a negative COVID-9 test or quarantine for 10 days before they can work here? 

Q: For the many contractors coming on site here for the R-25 outage that have not been vaccinated, do they need to have a negative COVID-9 test or quarantine for 10 days before they can work here? 

A: Supplemental workers conducting essential work-related travel to support re-fueling outage 25 will follow our EN screening guidance and return to work criteria. Supplemental workers will be screened daily during their in-processing at building 184. Workers must meet the established screening criteria and be asymptomatic to complete their in-processing requirements for unescorted access. If a supplemental worker is not able to pass our established EN screening criteria, they will be directed to obtain a negative test for COVID-19 prior to returning to site.  The Outage HIT, Access Authorization and the Pandemic Response Team have developed measures to ensure the safety of the employees and workers during In-Processing for R25.       

Will supplemental workers from states other than Washington, Oregon and Idaho be required to quarantine for 10 days if not fully vaccinated?

Q: Will supplemental workers from states other than Washington, Oregon and Idaho be required to quarantine for 10 days if not fully vaccinated? 

A: Supplemental workers conducting essential work-related travel to support re-fueling outage 25 will follow our EN screening guidance and return to work criteria. Supplemental workers will be screened daily during their in-processing at building 184. Workers must meet the established screening criteria and be asymptomatic to complete their in-processing requirements for unescorted access. If a supplemental worker is not able to pass our established EN screening criteria, they will be directed to obtain a negative test for COVID-19 prior to returning to site.  The Outage HIT, Access Authorization and the Pandemic Response Team have developed measures to ensure the safety of the employees and workers during In-Processing for R25.      

Will the station consider relaxing face mask requirements for work groups/offices that are 100% vaccinated? This would still be IAW CDC guidelines?

Q: Will the station consider relaxing face mask requirements for work groups/offices that are 100% vaccinated? This would still be IAW CDC guidelines? 

A: Given the limited amount of information on how much the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine may reduce transmission in the general population and how long a vaccine will provide protection against the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccinated people should continue to follow all current CDC guidance to protect themselves and others. This includes wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others and washing hands often. At this time EN will continue following CDC quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with COVID-19. As many things related to COVID continue to evolve and change on a nearly daily basis, the Pandemic Response Team will monitor and adjust based upon CDC recommendations and guidance.  

What are the (COVID) guidelines for someone returning to work, after working from home for a year due to having a severe underlying health condition? Is it their choice to return to work, and work overtime with many contractors, (they are not essential to

Q: What are the (COVID) guidelines for someone returning to work, after working from home for a year due to having a severe underlying health condition? Is it their choice to return to work, and work overtime with many contractors, (they are not essential to the outage), or is it Managements decision? Would ENW hold any type of liability if someone is at work, that has said condition, if that person gets COVID with lasting side effects or even death? Thank you. 

A: Balancing work needs with personnel safety is an ongoing effort that EN leaders do daily and take seriously.  The decision about when employees need to return to the workplace is made by EN leaders (mostly department managers) with one exception.  The exception is employees who are considered "high risk" for Covid-19.  Pursuant to a proclamation issued by Governor Inslee early in the pandemic, these high-risk individuals have the option of staying off-site and EN will continue to work with them on alternative work arrangements until the Governor's order is lifted.

If employees have questions about their need to return to the workplace and what their options are, they should contact their supervisor or HR generalist so the specifics of their situation can be evaluated.  It's possible work-from-home arrangements may continue in some situations beyond the high-risk exception, but that will be a decision made by the department management team based on the circumstances and the requirements of GBP-HR-10, Work Schedules and Telecommuting: Including Adverse Conditions.  It's important to remember that EN provides an essential service that needs to be done safely and effectively, which requires personnel on-site to perform necessary tasks.  While we could allow more personnel to work from home in the beginning of the pandemic, over time that becomes more difficult to sustain, which is why we've taken a careful and measured approach to returning personnel to the site.

Further, EN has implemented robust Covid-19 measures to ensure the workplace is as safe as it can be for workers.  This includes screening criteria, social distancing requirements, mask rules, increased cleaning routines and more recently, working with the Washington State Department of Health to secure enough vaccines for all employees plus essential contractors.  Through these measures those in the workplace should have a level of confidence that they will be safe from exposure.    

What are the guidelines for returning to work after working from home for over a year due to a health condition? People are returning now, for overtime, when the number of workers will be doubled. Work can be done from home, including outage work. After o

Q: What are the guidelines for returning to work after working from home for over a year due to a health condition? People are returning now, for overtime, when the number of workers will be doubled. Work can be done from home, including outage work. After outage, are we allowed to return to work from home status, due to the health condition? Who makes the guidelines, the worker, or the company? Thank you. 

A: Balancing work needs with personnel safety is an ongoing effort that EN leaders do daily and take seriously.  The decision about when employees need to return to the workplace is made by EN leaders (mostly department managers) with one exception.  The exception is employees who are considered "high risk" for Covid-19.  Pursuant to a proclamation issued by Governor Inslee early in the pandemic, these high-risk individuals have the option of staying off-site and EN will continue to work with them on alternative work arrangements until the Governor's order is lifted.

If employees have questions about their need to return to the workplace and what their options are, they should contact their supervisor or HR generalist so the specifics of their situation can be evaluated.  It's possible work-from-home arrangements may continue in some situations beyond the high-risk exception, but that will be a decision made by the department management team based on the circumstances and the requirements of GBP-HR-10, Work Schedules and Telecommuting: Including Adverse Conditions.  It's important to remember that EN provides an essential service that needs to be done safely and effectively, which requires personnel on-site to perform necessary tasks.  While we could allow more personnel to work from home in the beginning of the pandemic, over time that becomes more difficult to sustain, which is why we've taken a careful and measured approach to returning personnel to the site.

Further, EN has implemented robust Covid-19 measures to ensure the workplace is as safe as it can be for workers.  This includes screening criteria, social distancing requirements, mask rules, increased cleaning routines and more recently, working with the Washington State Department of Health to secure enough vaccines for all employees plus essential contractors.  Through these measures those in the workplace should have a level of confidence that they will be safe from exposure.    

Is it ok to laminate a vaccination card?

Q: Is it ok to laminate a vaccination card?

A: The CDC currently doesn't have a standard on whether the COVID-19 vaccine card should be laminated or not. The only requirement is that the card is completely up to date. Anyone who received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine is welcome to enroll in V-Safe or VaxText. The CDC said these tools will help individuals access their vaccination information. You should get a vaccination card that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it. Keep your vaccination card in case you need it for future use. Consider taking a picture of your vaccination card as a backup copy. Our local Office Max offers a free lamination and copy of your vaccination card through July.

 

COVID-19 precautions discussion with some of the travelers that have been through several outages shared their COVID-19 precautions that other sites instituted and had questions as to whether Energy Northwest COVID-19 response team has evaluated: 1) Using

Q: COVID-19 precautions discussion with some of the travelers that have been through several outages shared their COVID-19 precautions that other sites instituted and had questions as to whether Energy Northwest COVID-19 response team has evaluated: 1) Using hand sanitizer before and after using the hand geometry (hand geometry seems a likely place that germs could be transferred) 2) Requiring all travelers to take COVID-19 test on site prior to in processing 3) Wiping down your electronic dosimeter after use prior to putting back in the receptacle 4) Expecting all workers to wipe down their personal area/computers prior going home each day and night. Is EN going to lift the travel requirements for leaving the state? Is EN going to put any of these industry COVID-19 practices in place before R-25? 

A: The Refueling and Maintenance Outage 25 is quickly approaching. An important measure of our success is reliable and safe operation of Columbia Generating Station for the following full cycle. Our benchmarking showed us that a couple utilities that had outages during the pandemic outbreak saw significant impacts to their outages and business while others fared much better. A predominate driver to a successful outage during the pandemic related to wearing face coverings and limiting our interactions when not at work. The Outage Pandemic High Impact Team (HIT) continues to implement the remaining portions of the comprehensive plan based on gathered operating experience. Additionally, a whitepaper that was distributed Feb. 28, 2021, is available to employees with more detailed information Pandemic Response HIT .The Outage Pandemic HIT has seven sub-teams of people working together to ensure that R-25 is accomplished safely and on schedule through proactive planning on how to mitigate expected challenges. The Pandemic Outage HIT also putting together a tool to be reactive to site conditions and adapt our work as required. Remember, everyone at Columbia has an important role during R25, although not all employees will need to be on-site full-time during the outage.  Individual managers will work with their teams to ensure that those employees who need to be on-site to support R-25 will be available at the appropriate time.  By having a questioning attitude, elevating equipment issues, and pursuing excellence in work execution and dose reduction, we will have a successful outage. Regarding your question on the travel requirements, they have recently changed due to Governor Inslee's recission of his November 13, 2020- proclamation. The new EN travel advisory is listed in the Managers/Supervisors COVID-19 Guide (rev. 6).    

Has facilities taken steps or considered improving ventilation in the buildings (ex: Deschutes)? Per CDC (link: COVID-19 Employer Information for Office Buildings | CDC), for example:

Q: Has facilities taken steps or considered improving ventilation in the buildings (ex: Deschutes)? Per CDC (link: COVID-19 Employer Information for Office Buildings | CDC), for example:

-Increase the percentage of outdoor air

-Increase total airflow supply to occupied spaces, if possible

-Disable demand-control ventilation (DCV) controls that reduce air supply based on temperature or occupancy

-Improve central air filtration

A: Facilities has adjusted buildings HVAC systems to be within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. Most of the HVAC systems at EN are equipped with economizers which bring in more outside air when the temperature is mild, the systems economize a majority of the time during the outage because of the spring weather, bringing in additional outside air. Facilities has, and will continue, to replace HVAC filters throughout the site, including outage trailers, with a higher MERV rating as recommended by ASHRAE which captures more droplets and reduces the spread of airborne transmissions. The larger central air handlers on the Deschutes and Kootenai buildings have large central air handling units with economizers and two stages of filtration, there is a 4" pre-filtration system followed by 12" final filters. The pandemic response team continues to follow published guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for addressing COVID-19 concerns, including self-screening guidelines, social distancing and routine cleaning, and disinfecting of common areas.

When do appointments for ENW employees for the vaccine begin? I'm patiently waiting my turn but there have been crickets.

Q: When do appointments for ENW employees for the vaccine begin? I'm patiently waiting my turn but there have been crickets. 

A: The Pandemic Response Team has delivered links with appointment dates and times to Managers/Supervisors for each department. The Pandemic Response Team recommends that employees reach out to their Manager/Supervisor regarding the scheduled appointment dates and times that have been offered. If you need further assistance regarding any COVID-19 related questions, please feel free to call the COVID-19 hotline at 509-377-8715 or 8715 if on site.

The governors Travel Advisory Travel Advisory- Washington state.pdf says nothing about a negative test but to reference the CDC’s travel guidelines which says:

Q: The governors Travel Advisory Travel Advisory- Washington state.pdf says nothing about a negative test but to reference the CDC's travel guidelines which says:

"After You Travel Recommendations

•             Get tested 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days after travel.

o             Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.

o             If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.

•             If you don't get tested, it's safest to stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel."

So where did the decision come from that states (in the Managers-Supervisors Covid-19 guide) "• Quarantine for 14 days after their return home OR be tested for COVID-19 upon return to Washington and remain offsite until they receive a negative test result."

Since this is an Advisory action by the Governor and not a Mandate, Executive Action or Law is EN taking some liberties and flexing the "recommendations" by allowing immediate test, and immediate return after travel and negative test? Should in the least this also be updated to say 10 days?

A: The new travel guidance for domestic and international travel has been added to the Managers/Supervisors COVID-19 Guide revision 6.   

As a follow-up to question just submitted. I see where it says 14 days in the Proclamation, however this proclamation has no mention of Negative Test after return.

Q: As a follow-up to question just submitted. I see where it says 14 days in the Proclamation, however this proclamation has no mention of Negative Test after return.

ADDITIONALLY, as a reminder, a travel advisory for all non-essential travel, issued on November 13, 2020, remains in effect. That advisory provides the following guidance:

 1. Persons arriving in Washington from other states or countries, including returning Washington residents, should self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival. These persons should limit their interactions to their immediate household; and 2. Washingtonians are encouraged to stay home or in their region and avoid non [1] essential travel to other states or countries.

A: The new travel guidance for domestic and international travel has been added to the Managers/Supervisors COVID-19 Guide revision 6.   

Governor Inslee got rid of the travel restrictions, are we now able to travel without getting a COVID test?

Q: Governor Inslee got rid of the travel restrictions, are we now able to travel without getting a COVID test?

A: The new travel guidance for domestic and international travel has been added to the Managers/Supervisors COVID-19 Guide revision 6.   

Gov. Jay Inslee on March 19, 2021 rescinded his November 2020 Travel Advisory and now advising Washingtonians and others visiting Washington to comply with the Center for Disease Control’s current COVID-19 travel advisory guidance. Are we to expect a chan

Q: Gov. Jay Inslee on March 19, 2021 rescinded his November 2020 Travel Advisory and now advising Washingtonians and others visiting Washington to comply with the Center for Disease Control's current COVID-19 travel advisory guidance. Are we to expect a change to the travel advisory in accordance with CDC guidance?

A: The new travel guidance for domestic and international travel has been added to the Managers/Supervisors COVID-19 Guide revision 6.   

There is a lot of talk in the workplace of individuals in various departments who are skeptic of taking any of the vaccines which are available. Enough research has been done to prove that the vaccines are safe and effective, but it seems employees, and a

Q: There is a lot of talk in the workplace of individuals in various departments who are skeptic of taking any of the vaccines which are available. Enough research has been done to prove that the vaccines are safe and effective, but it seems employees, and a good amount of the general population, are hesitant on taking any of them. What is the Pandemic Response Team doing to educate employees on the vaccines and encourage them to get vaccinated? Fighting against misinformation these days is a constant battle which requires continuous adjustments and timely responses to fake news and propaganda which discourages vaccinating. We must continue to work hard in encouraging employees to get vaccinated and provide well-vetted research data on the effectiveness of the vaccines themselves.

A:  Thank you for your question. The health and safety of our employees is of the upmost importance at Energy Northwest.  The CDC has stated one of the best ways to protect yourself and others against the coronavirus is to get vaccinated and that the expected benefits of the vaccine outweigh the potential risks.  You can read the CDC analysis at the links below.  Energy Northwest has been fortunate enough to acquire access to enough doses of the vaccine to give all employees the opportunity to be vaccinated if they choose to do so.  

We recognize that getting the vaccine is a personal choice and do not intend to change our policy of making vaccination voluntary. If you have questions about the vaccine or if it is the right choice for you please review the information on the CDC website or discuss with your personal physician who can assist you with your decision.  Please understand however, that some HR policies put in place for the COVID period are set to expire on May 1.  After that date, if you are not vaccinated and cannot pass our daily screening criteria, you will need to stay home on personal time or telework if that is an option. 

The PRT team will continue to provide information and resources on the vaccines on our COVID-19 website and on the digital reader boards throughout ENW.

 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html
https://covid19.bfhd.wa.gov/covid-19-vaccine-information/
 

 

We know that when we get vaccinated for any illness, there can be some mild symptoms of the illness against which we were vaccinated. If one is vaccinated and then experiences some mild symptoms, are we still to stay home, even though we know, with a fair

Q: We know that when we get vaccinated for any illness, there can be some mild symptoms of the illness against which we were vaccinated. If one is vaccinated and then experiences some mild symptoms, are we still to stay home, even though we know, with a fair amount of certainty, that the symptoms are a reaction to being vaccinated? Thank you for clarifying.

A: Thanks for the question. Employees are encouraged to stay home whenever they are feeling ill, regardless of cause. While you may feel confident that your symptoms are related to the vaccine, it typically takes two weeks after vaccination for full protection, leaving a chance to contract COVID-19 even after vaccination. Employees should continue to use the COVID-19 screening checklist and doing a temperature check daily regardless of whether they have been vaccinated, as well as wearing a mask while at work and following EN's other COVID-19 guidelines. If you are having symptoms after receiving the vaccine, talk to you supervisor and check-in with a health care professional.

A generic question was brought up, whether if there could be some sort of survey sent out regarding how many of the permanent Essential Employees plan to receive the vaccine if available.  It was thought that if initially 300 to 350 vaccines will be avail

Q: A generic question was brought up, whether if there could be some sort of survey sent out regarding how many of the permanent Essential Employees plan to receive the vaccine if available.  It was thought that if initially 300 to 350 vaccines will be available then 1300, for example if only ~600 employees intend to receive the vaccine, those extras could be used elsewhere where others may desire them or for others that for the situation warrant pursuit of the vaccine that are not employed by EN.

A: The current process established with the Department of Health allows Energy Northwest employees the opportunity to get the vaccine if they choose to do so. The number of vaccines is important; however, the established number was needed to assist the Department of Health with how many proposed times slots would be needed to support the EN vaccine campaign.  If we are under the project allotment of established vaccines and time slots for EN employees, the remaining vaccines and time slots will be administered to the general public through the Department of Health's current process.  

Hello, I just received my first vaccination shot yesterday through the employee e-mail appointment schedule date/time link provided to us this week.  Will we be receiving another EN worker appointment schedule date/time link in about three weeks or is thi

Q: Hello, I just received my first vaccination shot yesterday through the employee e-mail appointment schedule date/time link provided to us this week.  Will we be receiving another EN worker appointment schedule date/time link in about three weeks or is this something we have to set up on our own for the second shot?

A: There will be 3 weeks of links with dates and times offered for the first shots. Followed up by 3 weeks of links with dates and times for the second shot.

We were told in an earlier announcement that EN was going to get the single vaccine and now it's the two phases at the fairgrounds. A lot of employees were excited about getting the single vaccine not the two phases. Why the change?

Q: We were told in an earlier announcement that EN was going to get the single vaccine and now it's the two phases at the fairgrounds. A lot of employees were excited about getting the single vaccine not the two phases. Why the change?

A: You are correct. The original idea was to utilize the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after it was approved for use by the Department of Health. However, the one-dose vaccine has not been readily available to the Department of Health in the quantities that they originally projected. Rather than waiting for the one-dose vaccine and running the risk it wasn't available prior to outage, we decide to use the available resources from the Department of Health in order to provide a vaccine to EN employees prior to R-25. 

Last week one of my team members asked, for COVID vaccine being given on-site, would ERO essential members be included i.e. are ERO essential members considered essential for COVID vaccine? Thanks.

Q: Last week one of my team members asked, for COVID vaccine being given on-site, would ERO essential members be included i.e. are ERO essential members considered essential for COVID vaccine? Thanks.

A: We are pleased to announce that COVID-19 vaccinations will be available for Energy Northwest employees beginning this week. The Department of Health has made approximately 1,000 doses available for EN. The pandemic response team will work through managers to send employees a link to sign up for a vaccine appointment. Vaccines will be available first to essential workers in preparation for Refueling and Maintenance Outage 25. We will offer additional appointment dates and times on a week-by-week basis. Vaccines will be given at the Benton County Fairgrounds vaccination site. The vaccine is a two-shot sequence. Employees must bring their EN badge to their appointment to validate employment. All employees are encouraged to get the vaccine. Watch for the email from your manager with the link to sign-up. We anticipate all employees will receive an invitation to get vaccinated within the next three weeks. For questions, contact the pandemic response team or call (509) 377-8715.

Will we be able to  be considered essential employees to get vaccinated before the outage?

Q: Will we be able to be considered essential employees to get vaccinated before the outage?

A: We are pleased to announce that COVID-19 vaccinations will be available for Energy Northwest employees beginning this week. The Department of Health has made approximately 1,000 doses available for EN. The pandemic response team will work through managers to send employees a link to sign up for a vaccine appointment. Vaccines will be available first to essential workers in preparation for Refueling and Maintenance Outage 25. We will offer additional appointment dates and times on a week-by-week basis. Vaccines will be given at the Benton County Fairgrounds vaccination site. The vaccine is a two-shot sequence. Employees must bring their EN badge to their appointment to validate employment. All employees are encouraged to get the vaccine. Watch for the email from your manager with the link to sign-up. We anticipate all employees will receive an invitation to get vaccinated within the next three weeks. For questions, contact the pandemic response team or call (509) 377-8715.

​Will there be links sent out for the second vaccine? Thanks for setting up the first.

Q: Will there be links sent out for the second vaccine? Thanks for setting up the first.

A: There will be 3 weeks of links with dates and times offered for the first shots. Followed up by 3 weeks of links with dates and times for the second shot.   

As announced 2/17/21 "Vaccines will be administered through one of the state's mobile vaccination units at the Columbia Generating Station site". Operations department personnel shift workers are unable to leave the protected area while on shift. Is there

Q: As announced 2/17/21 "Vaccines will be administered through one of the state's mobile vaccination units at the Columbia Generating Station site". Operations department personnel shift workers are unable to leave the protected area while on shift. Is there a plan to make accommodations for rotating shift personnel restricted to the protected area, with regards to the above-mentioned plan? Please consider all rotating shift positions: Operations, Maintenance, HP, Laborers, Chemistry, and Security. Thank you for your time and diligence to excellence. 

A: After considering the necessary infrastructure associated with the vaccination process, management and County health officials have determined that the best approach will be for the shots to be given at an existing vaccination location. The senior leadership team is developing plans with support from local and state health officials to provide Energy Northwest mission-essential workers priority access to the COVID-19 vaccines. One of the many items we are addressing during the development phase are available dates and times to support shift workers. Both state and local officials understand our need to have diverse available times to support this process. We will take the necessary safety measures to ensure we have a successful refueling and maintenance outage this spring. We will provide more information once we establish the final plan.  

There have been no new positive tests of employees reported for a couple of weeks now. Is this because there have been no new positive test results reported, or because EN has stopped tracking/reporting positive test results?

Q: There have been no new positive tests of employees reported for a couple of weeks now. Is this because there have been no new positive test results reported, or because EN has stopped tracking/reporting positive test results?

A: The Pandemic Response Team is still monitoring and tracking cases. EN had no new cases to report for few weeks. This is a good time to remember that while we have seen cases decrease as the vaccine becomes more available, COVID is still with us. Protect yourself and your co-workers by continuing to use COVID-safe practices at home and work: self-screen, wear a mask, stay socially distant and wash your hands frequently.

Do the face temperature checking devices we are using need calibrated? If so, are we accomplishing this? I check my temperature when I come to work and get a temperature of 96.4 more than 75% of the days. This seems highly unusual to me.

Q: Do the face temperature checking devices we are using need calibrated? If so, are we accomplishing this? I check my temperature when I come to work and get a temperature of 96.4 more than 75% of the days. This seems highly unusual to me. 

A: The 7" tablet Facial Temperature Monitors uses a temperature sensor thermal array that does not require calibration after implementation. A review of the vendors documentation confirms that a calibration is not required for the style of temperature monitor used at Energy Northwest.    

Are the elevators going to have attendants this outage again? Specifically I believe there will be a need due to COVID, we will need to be making sure less people are on the elevators at a time and also make sure people are wearing their masks etc. this w

Q: Are the elevators going to have attendants this outage again? Specifically I believe there will be a need due to COVID, we will need to be making sure less people are on the elevators at a time and also make sure people are wearing their masks etc. this would help also with the overloading of elevators and also ensure everyone is taking steps to be safe and not break the elevators and wearing masks/complying with COVID guidelines. 

A: The Outage High Impact Team (HIT) is currently creating teams to maintain elevator attendants for R25. In past refueling outages the elevator attendants' primary function was to ensure the elevators were efficiently and correctly used. With the added COVID-19 precautions, the Outage HIT has also gathered operating experience from other stations to ensure safe practices and established behaviors will be followed to ensure the safety of all employees during R25.   

 

Up until recently, we have been told that Energy Northwest would not try to force people to be vaccinated for COVID-19. But now we're told that if we're not vaccinated, we would not qualify for supplemental PT if we contract the virus. We're told to talk

Q: Up until recently, we have been told that Energy Northwest would not try to force people to be vaccinated for COVID-19. But now we're told that if we're not vaccinated, we would not qualify for supplemental PT if we contract the virus. We're told to talk to our HR generalist if we have religious objections. But what do I tell my HR generalist if my objection is not religious, but practical?

This seems a lot like a back door to requiring us to put something in our bodies we may not need (because we are not at-risk individuals) and that has unknown long-term effects. The mRNA technology in these vaccines has never been approved for use in humans anywhere in the world until now. The side effects have been too severe. Now, we're told that a rushed process proves a safe vaccine. Sure, all the boxes may have been checked, but what about long-term effects that take more than eight weeks to discover? Just look at Thalidomide. It was marketed as a safe drug, and available over the counter in many places in Europe. It was given to pregnant women to relieve some of the issues that come with pregnancy. It was only after it had been used for a few years that it was discovered to cause serious birth defects in those children, with 40% dying shortly after birth. Many of us do not trust these vaccines and should not be forced to procure them. 

A: I appreciate your question – not only because we always appreciate the opportunity to respond to concerns or comments, but even more because it gives me the opportunity to explain the difficult decisions that the leadership team must make each day as we attempt to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in a responsible way. As the Pandemic Response Team has stated previously, there are two fundamental principles that govern every decision we make: maintaining the safety of our employees and continuing to provide safe, reliable and cost-effective power to our region.

As previously communicated, Energy Northwest will not mandate any employee get a vaccination.  That is a very personal choice that should be made by the employee and may require input from their personal health care provider.  Whatever the employee decides is acceptable. That said, employees who remain virus free are more available for work (safe, reliable, cost-effective power) and pose less risk to others in the workplace (safe workplace).  Once vaccinated, Energy Northwest has a greater ability to rely on that employee's availability and their reduced risk to coworkers.  Under the most recent CDC guidance, vaccinated individuals are also able to avoid quarantine if they are inadvertently exposed, meaning Energy Northwest can be even more confident that they will remain able to perform their function. 

In addition to this practical advantage, Energy Northwest is a public entity and is governed by Washington state requirements applicable to publicly funded agencies.  One aspect of those requirements is the prohibition of "gifting of public funds."  This is a complex determination in normal circumstances that has been made much more difficult by the Governor's declaration of a public health emergency within the state.  Consistent with guidance issued by the State Attorney General, public agencies may use public funds to pay employee salaries IF this payment is done to protect the safety of other employees.  Therefore, those employees who get vaccinated or are ready, willing and able to be vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available to them will be recognized for their contribution to the continued safety of the workforce through continued access to supplemental leave time. Those who decline the vaccine will continue to have access to their own personal time but will not be paid for non-productive time that may have been avoided if they had been vaccinated.  In this way, Energy Northwest can achieve the two fundamental principles discussed above while not forcing any employee to do something they oppose and also not violating the legal requirements applicable to its operation.

While not easy, we must continually determine the most prudent actions that will minimize the opportunity for a significant percentage of our employees contracting the infection at any one time and adversely affecting safe operations.  Further, we must continue to make prudent financial decisions for cost effective operations and for the region.  We believe the approach we have laid out for continued use of supplemental leave strikes the appropriate balance while still respecting the choices made by our employees.

In Brads email he said he would not make us get vaccinated to come back to work. It appears now that if we get sick after Feb 1st, we cannot use our COVID sick time unless we do agree to be vaccinated. This is not fair.

Q: In Brads email he said he would not make us get vaccinated to come back to work. It appears now that if we get sick after Feb 1st, we cannot use our COVID sick time unless we do agree to be vaccinated. This is not fair.

•Once the vaccine is available, supplemental leave (SLP) or non-productive work orders for COVID-positive or quarantining employees will only be available for employees who have been vaccinated or can demonstrate an attempt to be vaccinated (medial/religious exemptions available).

A: I appreciate your question – not only because we always appreciate the opportunity to respond to concerns or comments, but even more because it gives me the opportunity to explain the difficult decisions that the leadership team must make each day as we attempt to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in a responsible way. As the Pandemic Response Team has stated previously, there are two fundamental principles that govern every decision we make: maintaining the safety of our employees and continuing to provide safe, reliable and cost-effective power to our region.

As previously communicated, Energy Northwest will not mandate any employee get a vaccination.  That is a very personal choice that should be made by the employee and may require input from their personal health care provider.  Whatever the employee decides is acceptable. That said, employees who remain virus free are more available for work (safe, reliable, cost-effective power) and pose less risk to others in the workplace (safe workplace).  Once vaccinated, Energy Northwest has a greater ability to rely on that employee's availability and their reduced risk to coworkers.  Under the most recent CDC guidance, vaccinated individuals are also able to avoid quarantine if they are inadvertently exposed, meaning Energy Northwest can be even more confident that they will remain able to perform their function. 

In addition to this practical advantage, Energy Northwest is a public entity and is governed by Washington state requirements applicable to publicly funded agencies.  One aspect of those requirements is the prohibition of "gifting of public funds."  This is a complex determination in normal circumstances that has been made much more difficult by the Governor's declaration of a public health emergency within the state.  Consistent with guidance issued by the State Attorney General, public agencies may use public funds to pay employee salaries IF this payment is done to protect the safety of other employees.  Therefore, those employees who get vaccinated or are ready, willing and able to be vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available to them will be recognized for their contribution to the continued safety of the workforce through continued access to supplemental leave time. Those who decline the vaccine will continue to have access to their own personal time but will not be paid for non-productive time that may have been avoided if they had been vaccinated.  In this way, Energy Northwest can achieve the two fundamental principles discussed above while not forcing any employee to do something they oppose and also not violating the legal requirements applicable to its operation.

While not easy, we must continually determine the most prudent actions that will minimize the opportunity for a significant percentage of our employees contracting the infection at any one time and adversely affecting safe operations.  Further, we must continue to make prudent financial decisions for cost effective operations and for the region.  We believe the approach we have laid out for continued use of supplemental leave strikes the appropriate balance while still respecting the choices made by our employees.

Many people have questions about R25 being a super spreader, as I've read on this quorum. Will people who can do their work from home be encouraged to do so? In some cases, should it not be mandatory, if for no other reason then to have less "non essentia

Q: Many people have questions about R25 being a super spreader, as I've read on this quorum. Will people who can do their work from home be encouraged to do so? In some cases, should it not be mandatory, if for no other reason than to have less "non-essential" people on site and around people who must do "hands on" work in the plant? I would hope that you would want to have the least amount of people on site as possible, to put your hands-on people in a better position to be able to socially distance and stay healthy? Thank you.

A: The Refueling and Maintenance Outage 25 is quickly approaching. An important measure of our success is reliable and safe operation of Columbia Generating Station for the following full cycle. The Pandemic Response Team released a new COVID-19 Restart Policy in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The strategy and actions outlined in this document will guide our workforce as we bring more employees on-site to support Refueling and Maintenance Outage 25. It is important that essential outage employees acclimate to working on-site and re-establish a strong culture of direct, personal interaction and foster the teamwork necessary for outage success. These changes will begin taking effect in February, with full implementation by March 1. Due to the nature of outage working conditions and the close coordination with co-workers we continue to monitor and evaluate our plan.  Our benchmarking showed us that a couple utilities that had outages during the pandemic outbreak saw significant impacts to their outages and business while others fared much better.  A predominate driver to a successful outage during the pandemic related to wearing face coverings and limiting our interactions when not at work.  The Outage Pandemic High Impact Team (HIT) continues to work on a comprehensive plan based on the gathered OE. More information on the comprehensive plan for R25 will be provided at the upcoming All Employee meeting on February 8. Additionally, a whitepaper will be available to employees by February 28, 2021 with more detailed information. The Outage Pandemic HIT has 7 sub-teams of people working together to ensure that R25 is accomplished safely and on schedule through proactive planning on how to mitigate expected challenges. The Pandemic Outage High Impact Team is also putting together a tool to be reactive to site conditions and adapt our work as required. Not everyone will be required to be on-site to support R25. Individual managers will work with their teams to ensure that those employees who need to be onsite to support R25 will be. Remember, everyone at Columbia has an important role during R25. By having a questioning attitude, elevating equipment issues, and pursuing excellence in work execution and dose reduction, we will have a successful outage. 

Can you please tell us more about the work the R25 pandemic HIT team is doing? There's a lot of information on the R25 site concerning benchmarking that has been done at other plants who did outages during the pandemic, files of ideas and potential things

Q: Can you please tell us more about the work the R25 pandemic HIT team is doing? There's a lot of information on the R25 site concerning benchmarking that has been done at other plants who did outages during the pandemic, files of ideas and potential things that can be done to minimize risk; but no comprehensive CGS plan for R25. Without a comprehensive plan of actions to be taken, it seems to me that our plan is nothing more than hope that the things we're currently doing will work. Some more communication from the HIT team on the actions they're taking, considering, or need help with would be appreciated.

A: The Refueling and Maintenance Outage 25 is quickly approaching. An important measure of our success is reliable and safe operation of Columbia Generating Station for the following full cycle. The Pandemic Response Team released a new COVID-19 Restart Policy in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The strategy and actions outlined in this document will guide our workforce as we bring more employees on-site to support Refueling and Maintenance Outage 25. It is important that essential outage employees acclimate to working on-site and re-establish a strong culture of direct, personal interaction and foster the teamwork necessary for outage success. These changes will begin taking effect in February, with full implementation by March 1. Due to the nature of outage working conditions and the close coordination with co-workers we continue to monitor and evaluate our plan.  Our benchmarking showed us that a couple utilities that had outages during the pandemic outbreak saw significant impacts to their outages and business while others fared much better.  A predominate driver to a successful outage during the pandemic related to wearing face coverings and limiting our interactions when not at work.  The Outage Pandemic High Impact Team (HIT) continues to work on a comprehensive plan based on the gathered OE. More information on the comprehensive plan for R25 will be provided at the upcoming All Employee meeting on February 8. Additionally, a whitepaper will be available to employees by February 28, 2021 with more detailed information. The Outage Pandemic HIT has 7 sub-teams of people working together to ensure that R25 is accomplished safely and on schedule through proactive planning on how to mitigate expected challenges. The Pandemic Outage High Impact Team is also putting together a tool to be reactive to site conditions and adapt our work as required. Not everyone will be required to be on-site to support R25. Individual managers will work with their teams to ensure that those employees who need to be onsite to support R25 will be. Remember, everyone at Columbia has an important role during R25. By having a questioning attitude, elevating equipment issues, and pursuing excellence in work execution and dose reduction, we will have a successful outage.

After receiving the vaccine, are we allowed to return to work or must we quarantine ourselves?

Q: After receiving the vaccine, are we allowed to return to work, or must we quarantine ourselves?

A: Given the limited amount of information on how much the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine may reduce transmission in the general population and how long a vaccine will provide protection against the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccinated people should continue to follow all current CDC guidance to protect themselves and others. This includes wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others and washing hands often. At this time EN will continue following CDC quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with COVID-19. EN employees must also continue to conduct a daily screening and be able to check NO on all boxes prior to return. If employees are able to check NO on all question they may return to work. As many things related to COVID continue to evolve and change on a nearly daily basis, the Pandemic Response Team will monitor and adjust based upon CDC recommendations and guidance.  

​I'm a licensed operator, so I'm essential and can't do my job from home.  As of yet I'm ineligible for the vaccine.  More people are testing positive very day, meaning that my chances of getting COVID are rising every day.  What will EN do to get essenti

Q: I'm a licensed operator, so I'm essential and can't do my job from home.  As of yet I'm ineligible for the vaccine.  More people are testing positive every day, meaning that my chances of getting COVID are rising every day.  What will EN do to get essential workers vaccinated NOW?  We can't get through R-25 or start up the plant if our essential staff are out sick or in quarantine. 

A: The Senior Leadership Team has requested support from local and state governmental authorities in providing mission-essential workers at Energy Northwest priority access to the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently being distributed in the state. Brad Sawatzke sent an urgent letter to Gov. Jay Inslee and has personally spoken with Lisa Brown, head of Washington State Dept. of Commerce, to request prioritization of our essential employees. At our request, Nuclear Energy Institute CEO Maria Korsnick also sent a letter to the governor and senior state officials.  In addition, agency representatives have had numerous conversations with state legislators, agency officials, the state Emergency Operations Center and Drew Shirk, Chief of Staff to Governor Jay Inslee. Energy Northwest is currently awaiting their response; and information will be communicated to all employees once EN receives feedback from these discussions. It's also worth noting that EN established the Pandemic Outage Readiness Team for R-25 back in early July 2020, which has gathered operating experience from those stations that have successfully performed refueling outages without the presence or availability of a vaccine. EN continues to develop measures to protect employees from COVID-19 and will take necessary steps to ensure we have a successful refueling outage this spring.  

Would it be possible to add a link to the Phase Finder on the Covid 19 page? Thank you!

Q: Would it be possible to add a link to the Phase Finder on the Covid 19 page? Thank you!

A: The Pandemic Response Team is currently evaluating this as an option. In the interim the PhaseFinder link can be found on the current.

  • Go to theCurrent
  • Type PhaseFinder (oneword) in search bar upper right corner, hit enter
  • Click on EN News link "State expands vaccination efforts
  • Click link PhaseFinder
We have marked the floor in the PAAP every 6 feet for social distancing in the East-West direction.  However, when we open up both sides of an X-ray machine, people are only separated by the width of the belt (about 3 feet) in the North-South direction. 

Q: We have marked the floor in the PAAP every 6 feet for social distancing in the East-West direction.  However, when we open both sides of an X-ray machine, people are only separated by the width of the belt (about 3 feet) in the North-South direction. So, we have two lines of people that are only standing 3 feet apart. 

A: Social distancing does greatly reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to someone else. When everyone in an area maintains social distance, the chances of getting the virus drops. The risk is of spreading COVID-19 is even further reduced for those who are in close contact for less than 15 minutes based upon CDC close contact guidance. Security understands this and makes every attempt to limit times when adjacent search lanes are to be opened. There are circumstances that do not allow for this to occur. In those rare occasions it is important to limit your time in the area and ensure employees are properly adhering to the EN mask policy. Additional measures are being evaluated by the Outage Pandemic High Impact Team in preparation for R-25.   

with the vaccination rolling out and the side effects of the vaccination being similar to the actual virus, will there be updates made to the screening checklist to account for this? if not, it may make individuals unnecessarily stay home due to side effe

Q: With the vaccination rolling out and the side effects of the vaccination being similar to the actual virus, will there be updates made to the screening checklist to account for this? if not, it may make individuals unnecessarily stay home due to side effects from the vaccine.

A: Because systemic post-vaccination signs and symptoms might be challenging to distinguish from signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or other illnesses, employees are encouraged to continue to use the EN screening criteria each day prior to reporting to work. Using precautionary, selective screening affords a measure of protection to our employees that is in the best interest of our co-workers and family. If an employee has received the vaccine, but they are not able to pass the screening checklist, then they can charge hours to their Supplemental Leave (SLP) until exhausted (up to 80 hrs.) and if they still cannot pass the screening requirements, then regular/project employees can charge the COVID-19 Non-productive work orders as necessary until screening criteria is met and they have been cleared to return to work.​

​If I get a vaccine will I still have to wear a mask at work?

Q: If I get a vaccine will I still have to wear a mask at work? 

A: Given the limited amount of information on how much the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine may reduce transmission in the general population and how long a vaccine will provide protection against the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccinated people should continue to follow all current CDC guidance to protect themselves and others. This includes wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others and washing hands often. At this time EN will continue following CDC quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with COVID-19. As many things related to COVID continue to evolve and change on a nearly daily basis, the Pandemic Response Team will monitor and adjust based upon CDC recommendations and guidance.  

 

 

In previous Q/A it was mentioned that essential employees will be eligible to get the vaccine in Phase 1B. As this phase has already started in WA, is there a plan for who will get the vaccine? and by when? Also, what is the plan for non-essential employe

Q: In previous Q/A it was mentioned that essential employees will be eligible to get the vaccine in Phase 1B. As this phase has already started in WA, is there a plan for who will get the vaccine? and by when? Also, what is the plan for non-essential employees? 

A: As with many things related to COVID, the rules and regulations change on a nearly daily basis.  While early drafts of the states vaccine distribution plan listed all "critical infrastructure workers" as being in Phase 1B, the plan actually put in place does not.  Some subsets of the critical infrastructure list were included in 1B, but most were not.

While Energy Northwest encourages all employees to get the vaccine if they are able to, it is unlikely that Energy Northwest will ever be able to directly administer the vaccine to our employees.  That makes vaccination a very personal issue that you will each need to pursue on your own to address your individual situation.  We recommend: 

  1. Go to the FindYourPhaseWA.org website and take the survey.
  2. When you reach the critical infrastructure question click on the info button and read to ensure that you meet the requirements for designation as a critical infrastructure employee.  The details of the electrical sector worker are included below.
  3. If the result of the survey is that you are not currently eligible, the system will offer to notify you when you are.  Even if you choose this option, we recommend you periodically retake the survey, especially if you know the state phase is changing.
  4. If the survey says you are eligible, follow the instructions to get an appointment.
  5. There may be special circumstances, such as the establishment of the mass vaccination clinic at the Benton County Fairgrounds next week, that end up creating opportunities outside of the FindYourPhase process.  Please keep yourself informed on what is going on in the community and we will strive to put information of that type out as we become aware of it.

While it is not clear we will ever have an elevated priority for nuclear workers, or be able to administer a vaccine ourselves, we are working hard with the state government and our national lobbying agency, Nuclear Energy Institute, to accomplish that.  In the meantime, you will each have to get personally involved in the vaccination process in order to get vaccinated.

The Governor announced the "Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery" phased COVID recovery plan on Jan 5, 2021 to start January 11th where all regions will go back to a new Phase 1 and will need to meet certain criteria to go to Phase 2. These phases hav

​Q: The Governor announced the "Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery" phased COVID recovery plan on Jan 5, 2021 to start January 11th where all regions will go back to a new Phase 1 and will need to meet certain criteria to go to Phase 2. These phases have different requirements than the previous Phase 1 and 2 in the safe start plan. How will this new plan impact the phased COVID recovery approach at Columbia?

A: On Jan. 5, Gov. Jay Inslee announced "Healthy Washington  —  Roadmap to Recovery," a COVID-19 phased recovery plan. As an essential business, our current state of business operations are not impacted by the Healthy Washington plan. Energy Northwest will remain at Phase D of our return-to-work plan until further notice. We will continue to conduct meetings, including core business meetings, virtually to the fullest extent possible. The number of workers on-site will increase as we gear up for the spring refueling and maintenance outage. A safe and successful outage is critical to the reliable operation of Columbia Generating Station. Our outage planning efforts include proactive steps to ensure worker health and safety remain a top priority, including the establishment of a pandemic outage high impact team. Strict adherence to our screening, social distancing and facial covering guidance while at work remains vital as we ramp up for the outage. As always, all employees are encouraged to protect themselves at home and in public settings by maintaining appropriate social distancing, wearing facial coverings as warranted and frequent hand washing.

How can you properly contact trace after a positive COVID-19 case when people are not aware of who has tested positive? Being in a support group, we come in contact with a lot of different workers throughout the day while also working with several differe

Q: How can you properly contact trace after a positive COVID-19 case when people are not aware of who has tested positive? Being in a support group, we come in contact with a lot of different workers throughout the day while also working with several different departments. We even Survey other groups offices, work areas & break rooms. When an individual has tested positive, can they be asked if it's okay to identify them so we can properly contact trace? IMO, our current methods are lacking. I know there are rules regarding HIPAA, but I believe our contact tracing measures are lacking. I can see this being a problem come outage time, when the amount of personnel that are on-site has increased tremendously. 

A: When there is a confirmed positive case, or suspected positive exposure, in coordination with the Pandemic Response Team, the responsible department initiates contract tracing efforts using the Managers Supervisors Contact Tracing Form. Namely, who did the employee have close contact with, for how long, and what locations did they visit. Based on this feedback, the Pandemic Response Team reaches out to the potentially affected individuals to discuss the contact and the next steps. Please keep in mind that this information is considered sensitive and is shared on a need to know basis. Company-wide communications including news articles, text messages and employee advisory log entries are presented to provide as much information as possible while protecting the sensitive information. Facilities also plays a valuable role when areas are identified during the contact tracing process. Any areas that the employee may have visited are thoroughly cleaned after a 24-hour waiting period based upon guidance published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Facial coverings are a critical defense in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus. The coverings protect both the employee, and more importantly, their coworkers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends covering of the nose and mouth to slow the spread of COVID-19. Non-medical grade coverings are encouraged, e.g. bandanas, fabric masks, neck gaiters and homemade coverings. A comprehensive approach to combat the virus is necessary, social distancing, use of masks and diligent hygiene practices remain in effect as our company's overall strategy for keeping everyone safe. This should result in almost no one having any close contact at work.  This is our first layer of defense. Close contact is the rare exception and employees should follow this comprehensive approach and conduct themselves per our policy to avoid potential exposure. As always employees are encouraged to reach out to their supervisor if they have any questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 related issues. Employees are also encouraged to utilize the Pandemic Response Hotline at (509) 377-8715 for additional support.   

 

Have we replaced the HVAC system filters with HEPA filters inside the Deschutes and Kootenai buildings to stop Droplet and Airborne transmissions? Especially now we have about 60 cases and some of them were on site while infected.

Q: Have we replaced the HVAC system filters with HEPA filters inside the Deschutes and Kootenai buildings to stop Droplet and Airborne transmissions? Especially now we have about 60 cases and some of them were on site while infected. 

A: EN has not replaced any filters with HEPA filters.  HEPA filters have a larger pressure drop across the filter, which would require larger motors and fans to achieve the same air flow.  The Deschutes and Kootenai buildings have two stages of filtration, there is a 4" pre-filtration system followed by 12" final filters.  Facilities replaces the filters at regular PM frequencies. Facilities has replaced several of the smaller building's HVAC filters with a higher MERV rating filter as recommended by ASHRAE to capture more droplets and reduce the spread of airborne transmissions. EN continues to follow published guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for addressing COVID-19 concerns, including self-screening guidelines, social distancing and routine cleaning and disinfecting of common areas. Individuals are encouraged to self-screen daily, observe social distancing and practice good hygiene protocols to limit potential exposure to COVID-19. 

 

Where does our ESSENTIAL employees fall in the states scheduling of vaccinations? Are they consider industry essentials under the state’s Phase 2?

Q: Where does our ESSENTIAL employees fall in the states scheduling of vaccinations? Are they consider industry essentials under the state's Phase 2? 

 
A: The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has indicated that Energy Northwest's essential workers will be included in Phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan.  The Pandemic Response Team continues to monitor the state's plan and will advise employees when the vaccine will be available to them in Phase 1B.  The WA DOH has indicated that movement to Phase 1B will depend on the supply of the vaccine that they receive.  The latest information we have is that the start of Phase 1B will be sometime in late January.

​To date, EN has had 55 positive COVID cases. 19 of those cases involve personnel in Operations Support, which accounts for 34% of the total cases. Since 11/1, that department accounts for 57% of the cases reported, with approximately 12% of that departme

Q: To date, EN has had 55 positive COVID cases. 19 of those cases involve personnel in Operations Support, which accounts for 34% of the total cases. Since 11/1, that department accounts for 57% of the cases reported, with approximately 12% of that department having tested positive. By comparison, other departments have had positivity rates in the low single digits. Granted, Operations Support is a large department, and probably has the most potential exposure when at work due to all the contractor and delivery vehicle inspections, as well as manning the security checkpoint at the protected area entrance. Has the pandemic team evaluated this data and identified any particularly risky portions of the job that could be mitigated, or any behaviors in the department that could account for this higher number of cases? Given that Operations Support personnel are essential, is this high positivity rate is placing the rest of the essential personnel at higher risk? 

A: Thank you for the question. I'd ask you to review a question that is being posted regarding the Operations Support Org structure. In short, the Ops Support Org is much larger than just Security. That being said, Security as well as many other departments work with the COVID Pandemic Response Team to continually look for ways to make our workplace safe and prevent the spread of COVID. To date, no one from the entire Ops Support Org has contracted COVID due to work exposure. Management of the entire organization continually works with and reminds their employees to institute safe practices at home and in the public to prevent exposure. Specifically, Security has gone to great lengths to ensure its employees have all the latest data and cleaning supplies due to the nature of their work. Previous questions posted on the COVID website outline those actions. With this in mind we are open to any and all ideas to make our workplace even safer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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​Are we still on track for non-vaccinated workers to be able to stop wearing masks effective June 30?  I'm not sure I've seen an update...

Q: ​Are we still on track for non-vaccinated workers to be able to stop wearing masks effective June 30?  I'm not sure I've seen an update...

A: Changes to COVID-19 restrictions July 1

Effective July 1, Washington state was expected to remove the remaining requirements associated with managing COVID-19. However, specific requirements for businesses remain.

The following specific changes for Energy Northwest are effective July 1:

 Work hours and telecommuting

  • All employees are expected to resume on-site work for work hours charged.
  • Telecommuting is authorized for positions eligible for remote work per GBP-HR-10, "Work Schedules and Telecommuting: Including Adverse Conditions." Ongoing telecommuting arrangements must meet all approvals required per GBP-HR-10 using Form 27005, with a copy of the completed form submitted to the respective HR generalist. Informal, infrequent telecommuting for non-bargaining employees must also follow GBP-HR-10 provisions and be pre-approved by your supervisor. If telecommuting, you must remain fit for duty during your established normal work hours/ERO period, have childcare support if applicable, and be available to immediately report to your designated work location if requested. Previous approval to telecommute during the pandemic period does not guarantee that telecommuting under non-pandemic conditions will be approved.
  • COVID-19 supplemental leave and COVID-19 non-productive work orders are no longer available.

     Masks and social distancing
  • Masks are not required if the employee is fully vaccinated; however, all employees are free to wear a mask if they choose. The CDC still recommends wearing masks indoors in tight spaces, or if required by the employer. Employees will need to show either proof of vaccination or attest that they are fully vaccinated and have their badge appropriately marked.
  • Social distancing is still required if personnel are not vaccinated.
  • Core business meetings shift to in-person for both quorum employees and observers. Selected meetings may choose to have a Teams remote connection as well.
  • Social distancing signs can be removed after July 1. It is recommended that departments retain any signs in sturdy condition.

     

    Illness reporting
  • Formal contact tracing will be performed if an employee reports they are positive for COVID-19. The pandemic response team has been disbanded and Occupational Health will take over the contact tracing function.
  • Employees are encouraged to always evaluate their own health status and should not report to work if they are ill for any reason. The daily screening checklist will remain available through the COVID-19 website.
  • Anyone exposed to COVID-19 can report to work if they are asymptomatic, regardless of vaccination status.  Employees who are not vaccinated must wear a mask while at work and self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.  Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 should not report to work and should notify their supervisor.
  • Employees who test positive for COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and stay home until symptom free. Supervisors should notify Occupational Health.

     Pandemic response resources
  • Temperature monitors located inside Energy Northwest facilities will remain and daily temperature screening is still required.
  • Facilities will remain available for room sanitization on request.
  • The pandemic response team, including email and text notifications of positive COVID-19 cases, will be discontinued. Employees are encouraged to report COVID-19 illnesses to Occupational Health.
  • The pandemic response team internal website will remain accessible as a resource; future updates will be infrequent. The COVID-19 question forum will be closed.

     

    For additional questions about EN's COVID-19 response, contact your supervisor or Occupational Health.

     

     

     
Is there a work order number that we need to put on our timesheet if we get our vaccine on company time?  I got my second dose yesterday afternoon, but not at the Benton-Franklin fairgrounds.  Thanks.

Q: Is there a work order number that we need to put on our timesheet if we get our vaccine on company time?  I got my second dose yesterday afternoon, but not at the Benton-Franklin fairgrounds.  Thanks. 

A: As part of our preparation efforts for Refueling and Maintenance Outage 25, Energy Northwest Senior Leadership and the Pandemic Response Team developed a plan with support from the Washington State Department of Health to offer an opportunity to procure expedited COVID-19 vaccinations for EN employees. The opportunity was established for those employees that choose to attain the COVID-19 vaccine. It is an employee's choice to utilize this opportunity. An employee that has decided to take advantage of the opportunity, is expected to use personal time when scheduling during working hours. Supplemental leave (SLP) is not available for this purpose. Employees are encouraged to communicate with their Manager or Supervisor to select dates and times that best meets their departments work week schedule and may support them receiving the vaccine during non-work hours so that PT use can be avoided.

​I'm waiting on COVID-19 test results. I only went to get tested becuase EN policy requires me to do so before returning to work after traveling outside of WA, OR or ID. While I wait at home for my results, can I use my COVID SLP?

Q: I'm waiting on COVID-19 test results. I only went to get tested because EN policy requires me to do so before returning to work after traveling outside of WA, OR or ID. While I wait at home for my results, can I use my COVID SLP?

A: Personal travel is a private decision. Supplemental leave (SLP) is authorized if the employee was required to be quarantined and/or tested for COVID-19 in accordance with our travel guidelines and was unable to telecommute during that time. However, beginning May 1, employees are no longer able to use SLP tied to personal travel and would have to use Personal Time (PT) or Leave Without Pay (LWOP) for any related testing or quarantine period. The EN travel policy aligns with State and CDC guidance for domestic travel recommendations during the public health emergency. There are no travel restrictions for travel within Washington State or into Oregon or Idaho.  However, if a decision is made to travel elsewhere, employees must be asymptomatic and meet EN screening criteria prior to returning to work. Employees that are fully vaccinated who travel outside of Washington, Oregon or Idaho do not need to quarantine or be tested for COVID-19 upon return to site as long as they are asymptomatic. Employees that are not fully vaccinated who travel outside of Washington, Oregon or Idaho must obtain a negative test result for COVID-19 or quarantine for 10 days before reporting to work.  Therefore, if employees plan domestic travel outside of Washington State, Oregon or Idaho, they should inform their immediate management so contingencies can be put in place in the event the employee is required to remain offsite for an extended period following their personal travel plans.  Depending on which one of the categories an employee must follow, they may need to factor personal time into their plans. This is important to consider when developing contingencies with your supervisor on a return-to-work date.

The latest update to SLP and COVID-19, that requires a person to provide proof of vaccination sounds like a violation of medical privacy. Some employees have existing medical conditions where the doctor advises not to get the vaccine. Then there are the o

Q: The latest update to SLP and COVID-19, that requires a person to provide proof of vaccination sounds like a violation of medical privacy. Some employees have existing medical conditions where the doctor advises not to get the vaccine. Then there are the other vaccines, will that be required for employment in the future? 

A: Proof of vaccination is required in certain circumstances, such as when temporary workers are seeking to use supplemental leave pay (SLP) hours while recovering from the virus despite being vaccinated.  Proof of vaccination is allowed by law and does not constitute of violation of privacy since there are many reasons that may explain why an individual has not been vaccinated.  Simply requesting proof of a vaccination does not elicit details about a medical condition or other private health information. We are not sure what other vaccines you are referring to for employment in the future. We are unable to provide an answer to that question without further information.

It seems that the new SLP and COVID-19 Non-Productive Work Orders Changes are a form of extortion to those who choose to use their right to not be vaccinated. This vaccine has been pushed through without proper checks and balances that normally are given

Q: It seems that the new SLP and COVID-19 Non-Productive Work Orders Changes are a form of extortion to those who choose to use their right to not be vaccinated. This vaccine has been pushed through without proper checks and balances that normally are given to new drugs to validate safety and long term affects. As a pharmaceutical representative has informed me, over 1200 people have died from this vaccine and 2 people have died from COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated. The news media will not report this as it does not support the current political narrative and the pharmaceutical companies don't want the public knowing this. This new policy is an unfair and unethical twisting of arms take get a vaccine that publicly has unknown risks which are known by the pharmaceutical companies to potentially cause death of the recipients. I for one would rather take my chances with the disease than with a potential poison and resent this extortion by the company that I serve to take this vaccine. 

A: EN has been more generous with providing time off for workers for "COVID-19 related" reasons than many other employers, and beyond what the COVID-19 relief laws required. However, as a public employer, we have to shift time reporting back to the appropriate options as we move further into our restart plan. Leadership recognizes that the decision to get vaccinated is a personal one, and employees are not facing any adverse impact if they choose not to get vaccinated.  Employees who do elect to get vaccinated, are just allowed a longer timeframe to possibly use Supplemental Leave (SLP) and the COVID-19 non-productive work orders after 5/1 (if they meet eligibility requirements). COVID-19 time reporting guidance continues to be subject to change throughout the evolution of COVID-19, and employees will be notified when it does.   

If one gets either their first or second shot and has a reaction that causes them to miss work, can they use supplemental COVID PT for any work time missed?

Q: If one gets either their first or second shot and has a reaction that causes them to miss work, can they use supplemental COVID PT for any work time missed?

A: Employees who have been vaccinated and do not pass our COVID-19 Screening Checklist, because they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, are eligible to use Supplemental Leave (SLP). If Supplemental Leave is exhausted and the COVID-19 symptoms continue, the employee may record PT, TTO, or LWOP. Temporary employees (including outage workers) need to provide additional documentation to HR to qualify; see the Supplemental Leave plan document for those details. Other potential reactions (e.g., fatigue, soreness) do not qualify for the use of SLP and the employee should report that time off as a standard illness (PT, TTO, LWOP, etc.).

Are employees allowed to use company time to go get vaccinated at the EN appointments at the Fairgrounds?

Q: Are employees allowed to use company time to go get vaccinated at the EN appointments at the Fairgrounds? 

A: If an employee has chosen to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, employees are encouraged to work with their Supervisor to schedule a time to get vaccinated. For time reporting purposes, an appointment to get vaccinated should be treated in the same way as a doctor's appointment. Employees may use personnel time, or flex their time if applicable, for their scheduled appointment if their scheduled appointment is during their regular work hour schedule. Employees may also choose to schedule their appointment on their days off which does not require the use of personnel time or flexing their time. Questions on time reporting should be directed to your supervisor, HR Generalist, or Payroll. 

​What happens if you run out of Supplemental PT for COVID-19 due to ENW's Quarantine Policy after Holiday travel and then down the road you get infected with the COVID-19 virus? Are you expected to then use your own PT due to not being able to come to wor

Q: What happens if you run out of Supplemental PT for COVID-19 due to ENW's Quarantine Policy after Holiday travel and then down the road you get infected with the COVID-19 virus? Are you expected to then use your own PT due to not being able to come to work with COVID-19?

A: The COVID-19 Supplemental Leave Plan (SLP) eligibility timeframe has been extended to expire on December 31, 2021 or upon thirty (30) days written notice from the CEO.  The answer to your question may vary depending on the timing of the situation. For example, there are different time reporting rules for Phase D and for post-Phase D with regard to employees contracting COVID-19 and other related absence reasons; please see the pay column on the COVID-19 "Return to Work Criteria" for those scenarios. Furthermore, while the governor's travel advisory is in place, employees are expected to use PT if they have made a personal trip out of WA state and have depleted their SLP hours and are still awaiting the ability to return to work. HR will continue to communicate any changes to leave benefits and time reporting requirements, as they are still subject to evolve due to COVID-19 circumstances. If you have further questions about time reporting and leave options, please contact Juliet Gaffney, Barbara Bomotti, or your HR Generalist.

Will the supplemental 80 hours of PT for COVID related illness be extended into 2021? As it is a good possibility that COVID will still be here in January

Q: Will the supplemental 80 hours of PT for COVID related illness be extended into 2021? As it is a good possibility that COVID will still be here in January. 

A: The COVID-19 Supplemental Leave Plan (SLP) eligibility timeframe is being extended to expire on December 31, 2021 or upon thirty (30) days written notice from the CEO.  Therefore, it will be available for use in January 2021.

Q: In light of the new requirement to quarantine if I travel out of state I have a few questions.

1. How Do I document my time while waiting for a test result?

2. Do I have to get tested (or quarantine) to return to work if someone visits me at home from out of state?

3. Do I have to get tested (or quarantine) if someone from my immediate household leaves the state and returns?

A: On Nov. 13, Gov. Jay Inslee issued a COVID-19 travel advisory applicable to all non-essential travel impacting Washington state. For employees conducting essential work related travel follow our normal EN screening guidance and return to work criteria. The majority of travel that employees may be engaged in over the holiday season likely falls within the advisory's definition of non-essential travel. For any employee on non-essential travel the senior leadership team has established the following guidance and expectations regarding out-of-state travel:

  1. Consistent with the governor's guidance, employees are encouraged to refrain from non-essential travel (especially outside of Washington state).

     
  2. If employees plan to travel outside of Washington state, they should inform their immediate management so contingencies can be put in place in the event the employee is required to remain off site for an extended period following the travel.

     
  3. If an employee chooses to travel outside of Washington state, they should either:
    1. Quarantine for 14 days after their return home; or,
    2. Be tested for COVID-19 upon their return to Washington and remain off site until they receive a negative test result.

 Energy Northwest does not intend to authorize business travel for non-essential purposes. Employees are reminded that the general guidance regarding potential exposure to COVID-19 remains in effect, and employees should immediately report to their management any close contact with an individual who is confirmed positive for COVID-19. 
 

On 11/23 EN News announcement, "Non-essential travel guidance for EN employees," clarified the expectations surrounding personal out-of-state travel in accordance with Gov. Jay Inslee's COVID-19 travel advisory.   This advisory also triggers a change in time reporting guidance for those who choose to travel outside of Washington state for any personal, non-essential travel (until the governor's travel advisory is lifted).
Reminder> If an employee chooses to travel outside of Washington state, they should either:

  • Quarantine for 14 days after their return home; or,
  • Be tested for COVID-19 upon their return to Washington and remain off site until they receive a negative test result.

    Upon return from non-essential travel outside of Washington state, the employee should record time as follows:   
  • Those who cannot telecommute, must take Supplemental Leave (SLP) up to 80 hours, or Personal Time (PT), or Leave without Pay (LWOP), for the time they are unable to work while quarantined or getting tested for COVID-19 and waiting to be released to return to work.
     
  • Those who can telecommute, with supervisor's concurrence may telecommute while quarantined or getting tested for COVID-19 and waiting to be released to return to work. However, any non-productive hours while telecommuting during this 'travel waiting period' would need to be recorded to SLP, PT, or LWOP. 

    As you review travel decisions over the upcoming weeks, please remember that employees are only authorized up to a total of 80 hours of SLP per the COVID-19 Supplemental Leave policy
     



     

     

     
​If I cancel my planned trip due to the Governor's COVID-19 travel advisory, will I be able to get a waiver approved to roll over some of my unused PT this year?

Q. If I cancel my planned trip due to the Governor's COVID-19 travel advisory, will I be able to get a waiver approved to roll over some of my unused PT this year?

A. Employees are still encouraged to take their PT locally, but leadership recognizes the Governor's recent travel advisory may make it difficult to take some planned vacation time without compromising the employee's ability to return to work on the date planned.

If employees have to cancel their planned PT due to not traveling outside of Washington state, and that makes them unable to meet their minimum required PT usage for payroll year 2020, they may submit a Request for Personal Time Waiver (Form 26617). Remember, the first 20% of unused annual required PT hours goes to VEBA, so only the hours in excess of the first 20% would be eligible for a PT waiver.  See GBP-HR-25, Personal Time and Disability Supplement for more information.

 

​Can personal telecommuting costs be paid for on a p-card (e.g., home ink cartridges, Wi-Fi, etc.)?

GBP-HR-10, Work Schedules and Telecommuting: Including Adverse Conditions, section 2.7.4.i.2, clarifies that telecommuting employees are “responsible for all operating costs, home maintenance and other incidentals like utilities at their alternate location.” This includes the cost of printing materials, Wi-Fi, etc. It is understood that the savings in gas due to not having to commute to the office should offset for such incidentals. Employees should engage their supervision to discuss ways to possibly avoid other related costs (e.g., saving documents to internal SharePoint pages to print at a future date when back in the office, etc.). EN leadership is currently evaluating potential long-term changes to our telecommuting program and will inform employees if any changes are made.

Has there been any change to the stated comp time policy for the current situation we are in where everyone is (mostly) working remotely? Is it still permissible to use comp days for time worked in excess of 40 hours, even when it has been remote support?

​Energy Northwest does not have "comp time", but does have a procedure for flextime. GBP-HR-10, "Work Schedules and Telecommuting: Including Adverse Conditions," has not been modified at this time; therefore, exempt employees may still flex their hours over three additional pay periods. Telecommuting hours are hours worked and therefore may qualify an employee to flex in accordance with GBP-HR-10. Flextime for exempt employees is still limited to the use of increments of a ½ day or more, and employees need to ensure that they get their supervisor's approval to flex time off. Further questions on flextime can be directed to Juliet Gaffney, HR, or to the Payroll team at Payroll@energy-northwest.com.

I have a dependent that is high risk based on there existing medical conditions. What are my options if I feel that I am placing my family at risk by returning to work for phase A? Am I expected to place my family at risk or take personal time?

​There are no job protections for this situation.  A personal leave of absence using PT is not out of the question and Human Resources is unsure if the person could be eligible for some amount of unemployment through expanded Washington unemployment insurance.

Please work with your HR Generalist.

Some employees also have side jobs such as Uber Eats, Door Dash, Grub Hub etc. Is it ethical or legal for them to work their side job (making an income) during the hours they are still "on the clock" and being paid by Energy Northwest?

No. Employees in these circumstances are in the sole service of Energy Northwest during their regularly scheduled shifts when they are charging for, and being paid for, the non-productive work time\hours. EN has issued multiple communications during the Washington Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order that employees in these circumstances are being paid to stay home to be available and fit-for-duty in the event of being called into service. During regularly scheduled shifts employees are subject to all applicable EN policies and procedures, none of which permit use of EN work time to perform another job. Per GBP-LEG-01, Section 2.3.3, all EN employees are prohibited from performing another job without EN written approval. EN has not granted any employees written approval to perform another job under the above circumstances. Any failure to comply with the above could be grounds for employee discipline up to and including termination of employment.

​One of the proposals being discussed by Congress for the next coronavirus economic package is an up to $25K hazard pay bonus for essential workers. If this should become law, does EN intend to apply for this funding?

​Human Resources is monitoring this proposal along with all applicable legislative changes to Energy Northwest's operations. At this time, since we don't know how COVID-19 Heroes Fund bill provisions might evolve, we do not know whether or not EN would participate if the bill is passed. We closely monitor and evaluate all legislative changes, and will inform employees on any relevant changes.

​Some essential employees are cancelling planned PT due to shelter-in-place/stay home-stay safe.  It may not be possible for all of us to reschedule PT for later this year.  Will there be a waiver of required PT due to COVID-19 or lose PT this year?

GBP-HR-25, Personal Time and Disability Supplement, already contains a process for waiving required personal time usage. Workers should use Form 26617, Request for Personal Time Waiver, to request a waiver. Human Resources will not institute a separate process for COVID-19 impacts.

Can the Employee Assistance Program be used for me and my family during this COVID pandemic?

​Energy Northwest’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider Reliant Behavioral Health (RBH) can support employees in several ways during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

Provide advice on how to manage stress and anxiety, while also engaging in proactive self-care. Click here to access flyers.

Access to the RBH website that offers online tools and educational resources to make life easier. See instructions for locating and accessing the website below.

Up to 3 free phone counseling sessions. Call the 1.866.750.1327 EAP number and request that the counseling service be provided by phone.

Legal and/or financial consultations (30 minutes each by phone). Call the 1.866.750.1327 EAP number and indicate which service you are seeking. 

Website: ibhsolutions.com

- Select Members from the top right corner
- Click on the RBH logo
- Enter Access Code: ennw
- Click the My Benefits button

If you have any questions about or trouble accessing these services, please contact the Pandemic Response Team by submitting questions on the COVID-19 information website or calling 509.377.8715 if you are unable to submit via the web.

If someone wants to write a gold card during the next few weeks do we have a way to get it approved and paid, or do we ask to staff to wait until people have returned to the office?

​At this time, Payroll can accept on-the-spot awards and leadership awards via a scanned award form to payroll@energy-northwest.com. If the supervisor/manager cannot sign the award, they can send their approval via their work email accompanying the award form. The gold card can be filled out using form 25930, green on-the-spot award card can be filled out using form 26038, and for leadership awards use form 26138.  

Telecommuting isn't usually an option for temporary or bargaining unit employees.  Will either of those groups be able to avail themselves of the telecommuting option during this time?

​Energy Northwest and IBEW reached a temporary agreement for IBEW bargaining unit employees related to telecommuting during the COVID-19 response period. To understand availability, conditions and terms please see your supervisor.

Temporary employees will be permitted to telecommute upon manager approval.

Can you use half day supplemental leave and the other half day telecommute if you are an hourly employee?

Can you use half day supplemental leave and the other half day telecommute if you are an hourly employee?
Yes, if approved by the employee’s manager/supervisor and recorded as follows. EN’s COVID-19 Supplemental Leave Authorization (Policy) Article II.F. states “Supplemental Leave hours may be recorded in the same manner as Personal Time, in accordance with GBP-HR-25…” GBP-HR-25 Section 2.1.2.c. states “personal time for hourly nonexempt employees is recorded to reflect actual hour-for-hour absence.” Eligibility to charge time to the Supplemental Leave (SLP) is expected to resume when we end Phase D, unless directed otherwise. Please see your supervision or HR if you have questions about time reporting.

If your child is attending a daycare facility that is still open but you elect to stay home with them, can you still qualify for supplemental leave?
Not on the basis of not having child care. Article II.B. 5 of Energy Northwest’s COVID-19 Supplemental Leave Authorization (Policy) requires a COVID-19 closure of the child’s school or place of care, during the child’s enrollment and attendance, for Supplemental Leave to be authorized for child care.

I believe I would fall into the supplemental leave criteria due to common symptoms of COVID-19 in early March and self-quarantine. I have been tested and cleared by my health care provider. Can I use supplemental leave hours for those days?

​We are glad you have been cleared by your health care provider. Because the supplemental personal time policy didn’t become effective until March 17, your leave is not eligible under the new policy. March 17 is the soonest any supplemental PT could be recorded.

Authorization reason #5 for supplemental leave reads that your child's school or place of care has been closed.  Many daycares are staying open with input from the WA Dept. of Children, Youth and Families AND as a form of service to the community.

​Energy Northwest's COVID-19 Supplemental Leave Authorization (Policy) issued March 17 authorizes employee use of supplemental leave for instances where an employee's lack of child care is not related to a COVID-19 closure of the child's school or place of care. The answer is no. As referenced in the question, Article II.B.5 of the Policy requires a COVID-19 closure of the child's school or place of care for employee use of supplemental leave in such instances. Energy Northwest's authorization for employee use of supplemental leave in this type of instance is limited to when the daycare closes while the child is currently enrolled and attending the daycare. In this instance Energy Northwest would authorize supplemental leave upon receipt of an employee executed written certification of the closure, or official documentation of such closure from the daycare, or official notice from a government agency with jurisdiction over such.

Is cashing out personal time an option due to changing family finances?

​Yes, this option will be made available. See email distributed March 18.

What is the new COVID-19 supplemental leave benefit program?

The new COVID-19 Supplemental Leave (SLP) program provides up to 80 hours of supplemental leave and applies to all EN employees - regular, project or temporary. As of March 24, all employees other than WBL students should stop charging to SLP until further direction is provided.

What are work-based learning students working hours during school closure?

Under the current circumstances, Energy Northwest decided to instruct WBL students to stop coming to work until further notice. Supervisors were provided a list of actions.

If a WBL cannot drop off their badge, have them mail it to:
Energy Northwest
Access MD 964A
PO Box 968
Richland, WA 99352 

What can I do if I self-identify as high risk and cannot perform my work remotely?

Starting March 24, if you choose to stay off work because of yes answers to the COVID-19 self screening checklist, or if you were directed to stay home and are unable to perform work during your scheduled hours, you can charge that time to the COVID-19 non-productive hours work orders.

Columbia WO# 0216000302
Corporate WO# 0216000402
ESD WO# 0216000502

If you are able to perform work, but choose to take time off and/or do not want to remain fit for duty during your scheduled hours, you can use your personal time (PT) or take time off without pay. Employees should discuss time off and ability to work remotely with their supervision for further guidance.

What are my options if I self-identify as high risk or are unable to report to work because of parental responsibilities due to the school closures?
  1. ​Contact your supervisor and request approval to telecommute.  Your manager can approve telecommuting.
  2. If you do not have an RSA token, which is necessary for remote login, ask your supervisor to email the IS Solution Center and request you be issued the RSA token. You will need to load the VMware Horizon Client software on your computer. The IS Solution Center will provide you with information on how to do this.
  3. Follow remote telecommuting best practices and log off as soon as possible or download documents and work offline. EN has limited telecommuting bandwidth so we ask that you not stay logged in for hours at a time if not necessary.
  4. Ensure that you continue to have daily contact with your supervisor and track the work you are performing during telecommuting in writing and share with your supervisor.
If I am injured when telecommuting, is it work related?

​WAC 296-27-01103 Determination of Work-relatedness.
Injuries and illnesses that occur while an employee is working at home are considered work-related if the injury or illness occurs while the employee is performing work for pay or compensation in the home, and the injury or illness is directly related to the performance of work and not to the home environment.
Note: Examples of recordable injury and illnesses that occur when an employee works at home:

  1. If an employee drops a box of work documents and injures their foot, the case is considered work-related.
  2. If an employee's fingernail is punctured by a needle from a sewing machine used to perform garment work at home, becomes infected and requires medical treatment, the injury is considered work-related.
  3. If an employee is injured because they trip on the family dog while rushing to answer a work phone call, the case is not considered work-related.
  4. If an employee working at home is electrocuted because of faulty home wiring, the injury is not considered work-related.
​Are we still on track for non-vaccinated workers to be able to stop wearing masks effective June 30?  I'm not sure I've seen an update...

Q: ​Are we still on track for non-vaccinated workers to be able to stop wearing masks effective June 30?  I'm not sure I've seen an update...

A: Changes to COVID-19 restrictions July 1

Effective July 1, Washington state was expected to remove the remaining requirements associated with managing COVID-19. However, specific requirements for businesses remain.

The following specific changes for Energy Northwest are effective July 1:

 Work hours and telecommuting

  • All employees are expected to resume on-site work for work hours charged.
  • Telecommuting is authorized for positions eligible for remote work per GBP-HR-10, "Work Schedules and Telecommuting: Including Adverse Conditions." Ongoing telecommuting arrangements must meet all approvals required per GBP-HR-10 using Form 27005, with a copy of the completed form submitted to the respective HR generalist. Informal, infrequent telecommuting for non-bargaining employees must also follow GBP-HR-10 provisions and be pre-approved by your supervisor. If telecommuting, you must remain fit for duty during your established normal work hours/ERO period, have childcare support if applicable, and be available to immediately report to your designated work location if requested. Previous approval to telecommute during the pandemic period does not guarantee that telecommuting under non-pandemic conditions will be approved.
  • COVID-19 supplemental leave and COVID-19 non-productive work orders are no longer available.

     Masks and social distancing
  • Masks are not required if the employee is fully vaccinated; however, all employees are free to wear a mask if they choose. The CDC still recommends wearing masks indoors in tight spaces, or if required by the employer. Employees will need to show either proof of vaccination or attest that they are fully vaccinated and have their badge appropriately marked.
  • Social distancing is still required if personnel are not vaccinated.
  • Core business meetings shift to in-person for both quorum employees and observers. Selected meetings may choose to have a Teams remote connection as well.
  • Social distancing signs can be removed after July 1. It is recommended that departments retain any signs in sturdy condition.

     

    Illness reporting
  • Formal contact tracing will be performed if an employee reports they are positive for COVID-19. The pandemic response team has been disbanded and Occupational Health will take over the contact tracing function.
  • Employees are encouraged to always evaluate their own health status and should not report to work if they are ill for any reason. The daily screening checklist will remain available through the COVID-19 website.
  • Anyone exposed to COVID-19 can report to work if they are asymptomatic, regardless of vaccination status.  Employees who are not vaccinated must wear a mask while at work and self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.  Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 should not report to work and should notify their supervisor.
  • Employees who test positive for COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and stay home until symptom free. Supervisors should notify Occupational Health.

     Pandemic response resources
  • Temperature monitors located inside Energy Northwest facilities will remain and daily temperature screening is still required.
  • Facilities will remain available for room sanitization on request.
  • The pandemic response team, including email and text notifications of positive COVID-19 cases, will be discontinued. Employees are encouraged to report COVID-19 illnesses to Occupational Health.
  • The pandemic response team internal website will remain accessible as a resource; future updates will be infrequent. The COVID-19 question forum will be closed.

     

    For additional questions about EN's COVID-19 response, contact your supervisor or Occupational Health.

     

     

     
Now that the governor has put the whole state back in phase 1 are we moving backwards fron ENW phase D?

Q: Now that the governor has put the whole state back in phase 1 are we moving backwards fron ENW phase D?

A: On Jan. 5, Gov. Jay Inslee announced "Healthy Washington  —  Roadmap to Recovery," a COVID-19 phased recovery plan. As an essential business, our current state of business operations are not impacted by the Healthy Washington plan. Energy Northwest will remain at Phase D of our return-to-work plan until further notice. We will continue to conduct meetings, including core business meetings, virtually to the fullest extent possible. The number of workers on-site will increase as we gear up for the spring refueling and maintenance outage. A safe and successful outage is critical to the reliable operation of Columbia Generating Station. Our outage planning efforts include proactive steps to ensure worker health and safety remain a top priority, including the establishment of a pandemic outage high impact team. Strict adherence to our screening, social distancing and facial covering guidance while at work remains vital as we ramp up for the outage. As always, all employees are encouraged to protect themselves at home and in public settings by maintaining appropriate social distancing, wearing facial coverings as warranted and frequent hand washing.

 

The Governor announced the "Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery" phased COVID recovery plan on Jan 5, 2021 to start January 11th where all regions will go back to a new Phase 1 and will need to meet certain criteria to go to Phase 2. These phases hav

​Q: The Governor announced the "Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery" phased COVID recovery plan on Jan 5, 2021 to start January 11th where all regions will go back to a new Phase 1 and will need to meet certain criteria to go to Phase 2. These phases have different requirements than the previous Phase 1 and 2 in the safe start plan. How will this new plan impact the phased COVID recovery approach at Columbia?

A: On Jan. 5, Gov. Jay Inslee announced "Healthy Washington  —  Roadmap to Recovery," a COVID-19 phased recovery plan. As an essential business, our current state of business operations are not impacted by the Healthy Washington plan. Energy Northwest will remain at Phase D of our return-to-work plan until further notice. We will continue to conduct meetings, including core business meetings, virtually to the fullest extent possible. The number of workers on-site will increase as we gear up for the spring refueling and maintenance outage. A safe and successful outage is critical to the reliable operation of Columbia Generating Station. Our outage planning efforts include proactive steps to ensure worker health and safety remain a top priority, including the establishment of a pandemic outage high impact team. Strict adherence to our screening, social distancing and facial covering guidance while at work remains vital as we ramp up for the outage. As always, all employees are encouraged to protect themselves at home and in public settings by maintaining appropriate social distancing, wearing facial coverings as warranted and frequent hand washing.

The recent change to Covid notifications states "Based on employee feedback and email accessibility, Public Affairs will no longer send a text message announcing positive COVID cases."

Q: The recent change to COVID notifications states "Based on employee feedback and email accessibility, Public Affairs will no longer send a text message announcing positive COVID cases." I recognize that some people become frustrated with the amount of text messages received from and about work, but union employees are forbidden from accessing work email from home. Therefore we would have no knowledge of a positive case until we come onsite after a potential exposure. Despite the difficulty in changing policy back-and-forth, this seems like a decision that should be reversed so that the hundreds of essential on-site union workers can remain safe.

A: Thank you for the feedback. Public Affairs will resume text messaging notification for positive COVID cases. Currently, we don't have the capability to send texts to employees on a cell carrier other than Verizon. Information Services is working to resolve the issue.

Q: In light of the new requirement to quarantine if I travel out of state I have a few questions.

1. How Do I document my time while waiting for a test result?

2. Do I have to get tested (or quarantine) to return to work if someone visits me at home from out of state?

3. Do I have to get tested (or quarantine) if someone from my immediate household leaves the state and returns?

A: On Nov. 13, Gov. Jay Inslee issued a COVID-19 travel advisory applicable to all non-essential travel impacting Washington state. For employees conducting essential work related travel follow our normal EN screening guidance and return to work criteria. The majority of travel that employees may be engaged in over the holiday season likely falls within the advisory's definition of non-essential travel. For any employee on non-essential travel the senior leadership team has established the following guidance and expectations regarding out-of-state travel:

  1. Consistent with the governor's guidance, employees are encouraged to refrain from non-essential travel (especially outside of Washington state).

     
  2. If employees plan to travel outside of Washington state, they should inform their immediate management so contingencies can be put in place in the event the employee is required to remain off site for an extended period following the travel.

     
  3. If an employee chooses to travel outside of Washington state, they should either:
    1. Quarantine for 14 days after their return home; or,
    2. Be tested for COVID-19 upon their return to Washington and remain off site until they receive a negative test result.

 Energy Northwest does not intend to authorize business travel for non-essential purposes. Employees are reminded that the general guidance regarding potential exposure to COVID-19 remains in effect, and employees should immediately report to their management any close contact with an individual who is confirmed positive for COVID-19. 
 

On 11/23 EN News announcement, "Non-essential travel guidance for EN employees," clarified the expectations surrounding personal out-of-state travel in accordance with Gov. Jay Inslee's COVID-19 travel advisory.   This advisory also triggers a change in time reporting guidance for those who choose to travel outside of Washington state for any personal, non-essential travel (until the governor's travel advisory is lifted).
Reminder> If an employee chooses to travel outside of Washington state, they should either:

  • Quarantine for 14 days after their return home; or,
  • Be tested for COVID-19 upon their return to Washington and remain off site until they receive a negative test result.

    Upon return from non-essential travel outside of Washington state, the employee should record time as follows:   
  • Those who cannot telecommute, must take Supplemental Leave (SLP) up to 80 hours, or Personal Time (PT), or Leave without Pay (LWOP), for the time they are unable to work while quarantined or getting tested for COVID-19 and waiting to be released to return to work.
     
  • Those who can telecommute, with supervisor's concurrence may telecommute while quarantined or getting tested for COVID-19 and waiting to be released to return to work. However, any non-productive hours while telecommuting during this 'travel waiting period' would need to be recorded to SLP, PT, or LWOP. 

    As you review travel decisions over the upcoming weeks, please remember that employees are only authorized up to a total of 80 hours of SLP per the COVID-19 Supplemental Leave policy
     



     

     

     
Why go backward? I understand cases of COVID-19 have been rising in the area, and that we have now had 22 cases at Energy Northwest. But none of those 22 occurred at work. Doesn't this show that the way we've been conducting business has been effective? S

Q:  Why go backward? I understand cases of COVID-19 have been rising in the area, and that we have now had 22 cases at Energy Northwest. But none of those 22 occurred at work. Doesn't this show that the way we've been conducting business has been effective? So why change now? It's true that many people can work remotely, but how productive are they really being with the distractions of children, or connectivity issues, or all the other myriad distractions at home? Also, many meetings can be conducted via Skype. But how effective are those meetings? Sometimes, the conversations had before and after meetings can be more valuable than the meetings themselves. These are opportunities for people to speak frankly, away from the formality of the meeting. These conversations can't be had when we log off of Skype. Also, think about the mental health of the workforce. Human beings are social creatures. Many people need to be around others, or need to be able to separate their home and work lives. What is the effect of forcing people to shut up in their homes, away from real human contact outside their immediate family? I understand we need to protect our essential workers. I think we've been doing that. Everyone who's gotten sick, including the Operators, have gotten sick outside work. Even still, there are things we can do to protect them that maintain productivity and mental health for everyone else. We know who is truly at risk from this disease. It is the extremely old, and those with other serious conditions. For the vast majority of people, it acts like a bad cold or flu. You're sick for a couple days, then go back to life. We can protect those who are truly vulnerable, while letting the rest of us get back to work. It is possible to abide by the government dictates, protect the vulnerable, and let everyone else return to work, all at the same time. These are not mutually exclusive propositions.

A: I appreciate your question – not only because we always appreciate the opportunity to respond to concerns or comments, but even more because it gives me the opportunity to explain the difficult decisions that the leadership team must make each day as we attempt to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in a responsible way. No one has had to respond to this type of situation in our lifetime, and none of us tasked with managing Energy Northwest claim to know the "perfect" decision to every new situation. That said, there are two fundamental principles that govern every decision we make: maintaining the safety of our employees and continuing to provide safe, reliable and cost-effective power to our region.

Like you, all of us want to return to "normal." I agree, the mental effects of this year on our community and our nation have been significant. Everyone is dealing with "COVID fatigue," and the inability to enjoy many of our holiday traditions over the next two months will likely contribute to this fatigue even more. I understand your question to be, "Why are you now telling us to work from home, when it appears that our efforts to prevent the spread of COVID onsite have been effective, and the ability for us to resume a more-normal work routine provides some 'fatigue relief'?" Even though Governor Inslee increased the restrictions applicable to Washington residents and businesses on November 15th, the answer to this difficult question has less to do with government mandates than it has to do with prudent management of an uncertain (and in many ways, unknowable) future. 

Your comments suggest that asking our non-essential employees to stay home has no impact on safety, because "we know who is truly at risk from this disease." The last 8 months dealing with this virus have demonstrated the risk of significant physical ramifications from a COVID infection are minimal for a large portion of our population. In fact, I can attest from personal experience that many individuals will have no (or very minimal) physical impacts if they do contract the virus.

However, in addition to safety, we also have to be concerned with the continued operation of all of our generating resources, and especially Columbia Generating Station. Again, to make my answer personal, even though I exhibited no symptoms during the entire time that I was infected, I nonetheless had to remain quarantined for 14 days under the rules established by the Center for Disease Control and Prevent and the local Benton-Franklin Health District. So, consider the impacts if a significant number of our operators or maintenance staff were to become infected. Thankfully, the risk that any of them would have major health impacts is low; nonetheless, they would be unable to support plant operations for a 14-day period. With our current staffing levels, very few infections could mean that we would be short of essential personnel, triggering the need for special NRC exemption or relaxation of the standard return-to-work requirements for essential workers. These are both undesirable outcomes, and we do not want to risk the possibility of not being able to meet regulatory required staffing levels while still meeting the Governor's guidance.

Recognizing that this risk is significant, the senior leadership team determined that it was prudent for us to request that a minimum number of staff be present onsite. Echoing Brad's message, we are leaving it up to individual managers to determine which employees need to be physically onsite on any given day. Our goal is to reduce the opportunity for an employee to inadvertently bring the virus onsite and subsequently infect a sufficient number of essential staff to create a challenge to continued operations.

We wish that we could make the decision to ignore what is going on in our local community regarding infections and simply return to normal operations. However, to paraphrase our own Alex Javorik, "wishing is not a strategy." We must continually determine the most prudent actions that will minimize the opportunity for a significant percentage of our employees contracting the infection at any one time to ensure that we can maintain safe operations. We will continue to consider the health of the community and our workforce, applicable government restrictions, and our own assessment of our ability to safely operate our generating resources until an alternative strategy, such as the availability of a vaccine, is an option. In the meantime, we encourage employees to engage with your teams and teammates utilizing those options that are available, such as the use of your camera during Skype / Teams meetings and regular telephonic collaboration with your teams and colleagues. 

 

If we are going minimize the on-site time of non-essential staff, are we also going to minimize the amount of non-essential work?  The "Non-essential" staff, are still essential to the completion of schedule and unscheduled work during day-to-day operatio

Q: If we are going minimize the on-site time of non-essential staff, are we also going to minimize the amount of non-essential work?  The "Non-essential" staff are still essential to the completion of schedule and unscheduled work during day-to-day operations of the plant.

 
A: The Energy Northwest senior leadership team and the pandemic response team continue to monitor the pandemic effects on our local communities. While the virus and those infected continue to rise slightly in our area there are no plans to change our current status. We will continue to operate in Phase D of our plan, which calls for approximately 1/3 of our non-essential workforce to be onsite on any given day.  As EN operates an essential business in the region, using a planned and coordinated return to work criteria is necessary. The stations Return to Work plan was written to be flexible with the ever changing requirements, with the priority solely focused on the safety and health of our employees. That said if we see the need to take action to protect employees we will.

 

​With the local schools planning for on-line, at-home learning for the kids in the fall, how are parents expected to follow the guidance in GBP-HR-10 that explicitly states that employees working remotely may not engage in other activities...

​Q: With the local schools planning for on-line, at-home learning for the kids in the fall, how are parents expected to follow the guidance in GBP-HR-10 that explicitly states that employees working remotely may not engage in other activities such as caring for children? Parents don't have a choice to send their kids to school next month, so telling employees that "Telecommuting employees who need to care for children are therefore expected to make arrangements for others to provide care for any children within their home, by the start of Phase E", means many parents will have to choose between having a job or caring for their children. Many of us do not have family members close enough to assist, private schools are already full in the area, and private tutoring or nannies cost more than most of us can afford without significant raises. This new "guidance" has only caused more questions since it seems to be very contradictory on the surface. And providing a link to the WA state COVID resource website is just a slap in the face because it sends the message that EN doesn't care, and we should look elsewhere for guidance. While I'm sure many of us understand that having children is a choice, and not the responsibility of EN, it feels as though parents are being discriminated against during an already stressful time.
 
A: Thank you for asking your heartfelt question. Our EN teammates are highly valued, and the continued COVID-19 challenges our workers are facing are not taken lightly. We recognize the difficult impacts so many teammates are dealing with, like financial stressors, health concerns and childcare needs. We understand that many of our employees and contractors are parents impacted by on-line schooling and daycare changes, and are facing a multitude of difficult situations (i.e., such as the tough circumstances you captured within your question).
 
We are a public employer that has to meet commitments, including the statute requirement to not gift public funds. Therefore, we have to carefully manage the COVID-19 impacts along with the requirements to reliably maintain our facilities and power generation, while meeting commitments to our stakeholders. We believe we are fortunate that we’ve been able to accommodate numerous alternative work arrangements through our Phases A-D. However, when we enter Phase E of our COVID-19 Restart Plan, the expectation is for all of our employees to be back to a normal schedule. 
 
At this time, we do not know when Phase E will commence. With the 2020-2021 school year starting soon, we realize that several employees face difficult decisions to plan for the needs of their children and their positions at EN.  We encourage any employees who are struggling to find options that work for their work-life balance to reach out to their supervisors and HR generalists. By expanding the team, we hope employees don’t feel isolated in exploring options as we prepare for the transition to the onset of fall schooling.

Why are some people are back on site that can, and have been, successfully working from home?  It seems they are being exposed to potential contamination when they don't have to be.  There are cases on site, and who knows how many carriers not showing sym

Q: Why are some people are back on site that can, and have been, successfully working from home?  It seems they are being exposed to potential contamination when they don't have to be.  There are cases on site, and who knows how many carriers not showing symptoms are here? Everyone does not wear a mask as it should be worn, nor do they social distance.  The rules for bringing people back are not consistent site wide.  Those that have been working from home with great success are back working 2-4 days a week.  Why not limit this to one day a week if need be?  That would be adequate for most.  Staggering people's days within a group would also ensure a body is on site every day of the work week. I realize the "phases" but if we learned we can work from  home why not allow that to continue?  Isn't what is important, is that the work IS getting done, more so than where they are doing it from? If this is still going on during outage, are the benefits of having people work from home so less people are actually on site being recognized?

A: We understand your concern and are confident our phased approach to bringing EN personnel back adequately addresses the issues that you raise.  First, we are only bringing back portions of departments at one time such that others, including those in any of the special risk categories, are allowed to continue working remotely.  This ensures there is adequate space to social distance on site and minimize the risk inherent in having a large number of people together in confined areas.  We are also enforcing adherence to CDC guidelines for how to remain healthy (e.g., masks, distancing, temperature checks) in order to ensure everyone's safety while on site.  Following these protocols reduces the risk of infection in general, and specifically for each department as personnel return. Observations have shown that the predominant majority of people on-site are wearing masks properly and social distancing whenever possible. To help support the health and safety of all employees, it is important to coach individuals when they are seen in the workplace not properly wearing a mask or not following our social distancing expectations. Working together, while applying the right level of coaching, will only strengthen our ability to ensure a safe workplace for all. 

Balancing work needs with personnel safety is an ongoing effort that EN leaders do daily and take seriously. Leaders are continuously monitoring the health of employees and conditions in the local community.  If the situation changes, adjustments can and will be made as necessary, which has occurred repeatedly since the pandemic began as EN responded to changing circumstances.

Keep in mind that EN provides an essential service that needs to be done safely and effectively, which requires personnel on-site to perform necessary tasks.  While we could allow more personnel to work from home in the beginning of the pandemic, over time that becomes more difficult to sustain, which is why we've taken a careful and measured approach to returning personnel to the site.  If any employee has concerns or questions about what they are being asked to do, they should talk with their supervisor.
Remember our competing goals to protect the health and safety of our employees while at the same time protecting the health and safety of the public by operating our facilities safely and reliably. To do both effectively will require strict adherence to our screening, social distancing and facial covering guidance while at work.  Employees are also encouraged to protect themselves at home and in public settings with the appropriate social distancing and facial covering behaviors.

With the Governors extension for those in a special category (e.g., high risk) to an yet to be determined expiration date, how does this affect when those indivdiuals will return to work and at what Phase will they return to work in?

QUESTION: With the Governors extension for those in a special category (e.g., high risk) to an yet to be determined expiration date, how does this affect when those individuals will return to work and at what Phase will they return to work in?

 
RESPONSE: Employees who are covered by the Governor's proclamation on high-risk individuals have the option of returning to work with their supervisor's approval. If they wish to stay off-site, we will continue to work with the employee on alternative work arrangements through Phase D. Once we enter Phase E, if the Governor's order is still in place, we will be reevaluate and provide further guidance to the workforce (e.g., telecommuting consideration, reasonable accommodations, leave options, etc.). If you have any questions/concerns at this time, please reach out to your supervisor and HR generalist.

​I hear that some managers are bringing all their employees back on 8/3. That is not what the EN COVID plan indicates on the website and I'm afraid. If one manager brings all their employees back then the others will start following suit...

​Q: ​I hear that some managers are bringing all their employees back on 8/3. That is not what the EN COVID plan indicates on the website and I'm afraid. If one manager brings all their employees back then the others will start following suit. Does everyone need to fill out the telecommuting paperwork to keep from being forced back to site with all the buildings full of all employees while the COVID cases in Benton and Franklin counties continue to rise?

A: Thank you for the question.  Previously, we did layout a return to work plan that set a target for all employees returning to work roughly over a one month period. This plan was developed in June in anticipation that local counties would soon transition to Phase 2 and Phase 3 could be entered three weeks after that.

Given the current situation in the local counties, we are no longer that optimistic. On July 15, we revised our return to work plan to align with the Phase 3 for bringing all employees back to work. This expectation is captured in the COVID-19 Restart Planning document located on the COVID website (see Phase E).

We will discuss the revised COVID-19 Restart Planning document at the next Leadership Alignment Meeting so that all managers are aware of the new expectation and adjust their department return to work plans accordingly.

​I have been telecommuting and will be until August 1 per current status of phases.  All this time I have been sending my supervisor an email in the morning stating I have no symptoms or known exposures. Since they have stopped questioning employees upo

Q: I have been telecommuting and will be until August 1 per current status of phases.  All this time I have been sending my supervisor an email in the morning stating I have no symptoms or known exposures.   Since they have stopped questioning employees upon entering the site, can I just check my temp and call it good without a formal email?

A: It is important that supervisors have a way of knowing who on their staff is available for work, especially during a pandemic when staffing critical positions could become challenging.  Telecommuting can create additional difficulties in this regard since employees are no longer physically reporting to the workplace where the supervisor can quickly see who is available.  Therefore, having a method to alert your supervisor if you're not available remains important, such as when you are not feeling well or have been exposed and don't meet screening criteria for entering the site.  In some cases this can be done on an exception basis, where there is an understanding that the employee is healthy and available unless they notify the supervisor otherwise.  Then, if the employee is exhibiting symptoms of the virus or is otherwise unavailable due to exposure, the supervisor will be immediately alerted and can respond accordingly.  Employees are encouraged to work with their supervisor on the best approach to keeping their status up to date, especially during a time when virus transmission is occurring in the local and/or surrounding area.

In terms of coming to the site, every employee is expected to review the Energy Northwest COVID-19 Site Access Screening Checklist in advance. The Screening Checklist contains the same questions that were asked by the Screening Team at the Security Roadblock. By reviewing and answering the established questions on the Screening Checklist, each employee will aid in the health and safety of all EN employees and their families. The Energy Northwest COVID-19 Site Access Screening Checklist can be found on the COVID-19 website icon on the top page of the Current. It is also important that each employee have a discussion with their supervisor or manager on the expectations for reporting to work. Temperature screening using the onsite temperature portals upon entry into any EN property is to be completed in addition to completing the Daily Self-Screening Checklist prior to reporting for work.

​Is Energy Northwest making any provisions for people to continue working remotely that are in high risk category and/or have children that cannot stay home alone while schools  and day cares are closed? 

Q: Is Energy Northwest making any provisions for people to continue working remotely, that are in high risk category and/or have children that cannot stay home alone while schools and day cares are closed? 

  
A: EN is allowing for the current work accommodations to continue through Phase D for all employees  The state of Washington has issued a proclamation for high risk employees that encourages alternative work arrangements for high risk (as defined by the CDC) employees through 8/1/2020 and EN will support that regardless of our phase of returning to normal operations.  

Our Phase E currently scheduled to trigger when the local counties move to state Phase 3, will have our employees returning to a normal schedule, while maintaining social distancing.

In Phase E, parents are expected to find other arrangements to care for their children, while still having the ability to telecommute if in an eligible position with an approved telecommuting plan. If an employee cannot work in Phase E due to the school/daycare arrangements, they may be eligible to take the expanded FMLA (eFMLA) leave benefit:  click here to view eFMLA document.

Employees who are in a high risk category will still have the ability to telecommute if they are in an eligible position, with an approved telecommuting proposal.  If a high risk employee is not able to be approved for a telecommuting arrangement that precludes them from coming on site, they will be eligible to use personal time (PT) or take a leave without pay (LWOP).   If an employee anticipates they may be in this situation in Phase E, they are encouraged to contact their supervisor and HR Generalist to discuss options.

In both cases, a telecommuting arrangement needs to adhere to the GBP-HR-10 updates and is subject to department manager approval (i.e., Phase E arrangements are expected to have the employees fully productive and in an arrangement that works for the team & business needs).

​Does it make sense to require in person attendance at meetings? Meetings seem to be working Okay through skpe, so why change right now? ...

Q: ​Does it make sense to require in person attendance at meetings? Meetings seem to be working Okay through skpe, so why change right now? With many departments having partial work forces, in person meetings will eat up much of the time of those who are here. This will decrease the value of even being on site.

A: Over the past few months, we have learned we can be effective when using Skype for meetings; however, that does not mean that Skype meetings are the most effective way to conduct business.  As you are probably aware, a significant portion of human communication is non-verbal; much of this aspect of communication is lost in a Skype-only meeting.  In addition, a lot of conversations occur before and after meetings to get aligned.  For phase D, we implemented an expectation for core business meetings.  As communicated, we expect some meetings to be performed with quorum members present while practicing social distancing and mask wearing while non-quorum members continue to participate in these core business meetings via Skype.  We feel it is important for quorum members to be present to facilitate and foster teamwork.  This policy only affects those quorum members who attend core business meetings.  If the meeting is not a core business meeting then it should continue using the Skype format.  The phase D policy for core business meetings is in the best interests of Energy Northwest as we continue to stay focused on the safe, reliable operation of Columbia Generating Station.

​Given our recent uptick in number of personnel testing positive and the number of personnel getting tested for various reasons, is it a good plan to increase the number of personnel required to be on-site and in meetings?...

Q: ​Given our recent uptick in number of personnel testing positive and the number of personnel getting tested for various reasons, is it a good plan to increase the number of personnel required to be on-site and in meetings?  I understand the precautions that can be taken but why challenge our current status?

A: Thank you for your question about our restart plans. We will only bring back portions of departments at one time while the others, including those in any of the special categories, continue to work remotely.  We will also strictly enforce our expectations that CDC guidelines to limit potential infections are followed by everyone onsite. This reduces the risk of inadvertently infecting other employees in general, and specifically an entire department. Consequently, we believe the likelihood of infecting an entire Department, whether it is large or small, to be very remote.  Department plans have identified groups of about 1/3 of employees, or in the cases of smaller departments ½ of the employees, who would return for varying lengths of time and then rotate off being replaced by one of the other groups. This limits the total number of employees on site at one time which improves our ability to provide adequate social distancing.  We are constantly monitoring the health of our employees and conditions in the local community.  If the situation changes, we can adjust our response as necessary and have had to as the state has modified its own restart guidance several times.

Remember our competing goals to protect the health and safety of our employees while at the same time protecting the health and safety of the public by operating Columbia safely and reliably.  We feel that after 3 months (2 months for our essential workers) of working from home it is safe and appropriate to begin reintegrating our work force to their normal work locations.  To do this safely will require strict adherence to our screening, social distancing and facial covering guidance while at work.  All employees are also encouraged to protect themselves at home and in public settings with the appropriate social distancing and facial covering behaviors.

​In the COVID-19 Restart Plan, the trigger listed for Phase D is "WA State Phase 2 Implemented in Tri-Cities Area." Why is the modified phase 1 being used as a trigger instead of what was previously laid out in the plan?...

​Q: ​In the COVID-19 Restart Plan, the trigger listed for Phase D is "WA State Phase 2 Implemented in Tri-Cities Area." Why is the modified phase 1 being used as a trigger instead of what was previously laid out in the plan? On a side note, if we, like many communities who re-opened recently, are rolled back to phase 1 (or the equivilant) is there a plan in place to roll back EN employees as well, or are we just going to continue moving forward?

A:  We will only bring back portions of departments at one time while the others, including those in any of the special categories, continue to work remotely.  We will also strictly enforce our expectations that CDC guidelines to limit potential infections are followed by everyone onsite. This reduces the risk of inadvertently infecting other employees in general, and specifically an entire department. Consequently, we believe the likelihood of infecting an entire Department, whether it is large or small, to be very remote.  Department plans have identified groups of about 1/3 of employees, or in the cases of smaller departments ½ of the employees, who would return for varying lengths of time and then rotate off being replaced by one of the other groups. This limits the total number of employees on site at one time which improves our ability to provide adequate social distancing.  We are constantly monitoring the health of our employees and conditions in the local community.  If the situation changes we can adjust our response as necessary and have had to as the state has modified its own restart guidance several times.

Remember our competing goals to protect the health and safety of our employees while at the same time protecting the health and safety of the public by operating Columbia safely and reliably.  We feel that after 3 months (2 months for our essential workers) of working from home it is safe and appropriate to begin reintegrating our work force to their normal work locations.  To do this safely will require strict adherence to our screening, social distancing and facial covering guidance while at work.  All employees are also encouraged to protect themselves at home and in public settings with the appropriate social distancing and facial covering behaviors.

With the return to work now being rolled out, I am concerned that Supply Chain, being such a small group (11 total), would be severely impacted if one of our team members were to get sick from this...

Q: With the return to work now being rolled out, I am concerned that Supply Chain, being such a small group (11 total), would be severely impacted if one of our team members were to get sick from this.  Also, if one of us gets sick, that would cause all of the remaining team members to be in a 2-week quarantine rendering us unable to support the plant if needed on site (i.e. OCC) during that time.  My question for leadership is, since we have been such high performing organization during this time of telecommuting, why would we push for such a small department to return so soon?

A: We will only bring back portions of departments at one time while the others, including those in any of the special categories, continue to work remotely.  We will also strictly enforce our expectations that CDC guidelines to limit potential infections are followed by everyone onsite. This reduces the risk of inadvertently infecting other employees in general, and specifically an entire department. Consequently, we believe the likelihood of infecting an entire Department, whether it is large or small, to be very remote.  Department plans have identified groups of about 1/3 of employees, or in the cases of smaller departments ½ of the employees, who would return for varying lengths of time and then rotate off being replaced by one of the other groups. This limits the total number of employees on site at one time which improves our ability to provide adequate social distancing.  We are constantly monitoring the health of our employees and conditions in the local community.  If the situation changes we can adjust our response as necessary and have had to as the state has modified its own restart guidance several times.

Remember our competing goals to protect the health and safety of our employees while at the same time protecting the health and safety of the public by operating Columbia safely and reliably.  We feel that after 3 months (2 months for our essential workers) of working from home it is safe and appropriate to begin reintegrating our work force to their normal work locations.  To do this safely will require strict adherence to our screening, social distancing and facial covering guidance while at work.  All employees are also encouraged to protect themselves at home and in public settings with the appropriate social distancing and facial covering behaviors.

Would phase E allow remote working option for parental needs until June 2021? Based on the information on superintendent’s website, the schools districts across the state may have full or partial distant learning for the entire 2020-2021 school year.

​At this time, Energy Northwest is reviewing and evaluating changes to the telecommuting policy. It is too early to know what the exact policy for long-term telecommuting will be. As Washington state moves through the plans for re-opening, evaluates the future school year, and arrangements for childcare that are available to parents, individual EN employees will need to evaluate their circumstances and any changes to the EN telecommuting policy at that time.

​​Today I got a call from my supervisor that I had an "emergent" meeting at the MPF. Could not say with who, about what or even what room. What is the point of secrecy with regards to FFD all of a sudden?

​Covid-19 responses have presented unique challenges to meeting licensee NRC regulatory requirements.  Meeting the Fitness for Duty Part 26 requirements are no exception.  The largest number of employees who are telecommuting have never telecommuted before, but the FFD requirements have not changed and were already covered under existing procedure and process.  You should have been told by your supervisor that you were meeting with your supervisor.  If one is on the clock and working from home, then one must be able to meet with their supervisor, at their request. This was a requirement in existing procedure prior to Covid-19 response plans. There could be a huge variance in response times to the MPF (or Columbia during non-Covid-19 telecommuting).  There are a host of reasons an employee must meet with their supervisor. But the individual has not been notified of a FFD test and the required timeline to test after notification has not started.  With individuals driving from home and telecommuting there could also be a host of reasons someone did not meet the regulatory timeline for testing following notification. This method rules out the possibility that a refusal to test would be considered when an individual does not respond to a request from their supervisor to meet as required.  Part 26 also requires that there be no “safe haven” from testing requirements when those holding UAA/UA are under an authorized behavioral observation program.  Nuclear workers holding UAA/UA have unique responsibilities and as stated earlier the Covid-19 response has been unique and challenging as well.  Other than reporting to the MPF to meet with your supervisor while telecommuting nothing in the telecommuting process has changed.  Meeting with your supervisor at the MPF for any reason during the national and global emergency protects those essential workers at Columbia from unnecessary risk. For more on the requirements referenced above please review 10 CFR 26, SWP-FFD-01 Section 4.3.8 (2-telecommuting).

If I'm high risk, but still want to return to work when everyone else does, is that a choice I can make?

Our priority is for the safety and health of our employees. Management outlined a return to work plan.

​Does the governor's newest proclamation regarding high-risk employees mean that employees that can work at home will continue to work at home until June 12?

The senior team is monitoring the decisions around Washington's stay at home order. Management outlined a return to work plan.

Proclamation 20-25 (Stay Home, Stay Healthy order) is amended to extend all of its provisions and each expiration date therein to 11:59 p.m. May 4. Is EN going to change the work reporting date? Why? Or why not?

​To align with governor's direction of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order we extended essential only until May 4. Energy Northwest operates an essential business in the region and we intend to evaluate our staffing on a weekly basis in the event that some staffing changes are necessary in order to continue safe operation.

When should I take personal time (PT) versus charging my time to the COVID-19 non-productive time work order?

​As of March 24, employees may charge to the COVID-19 non-productive time work order if they can work but are unable to based on the inability to telecommute or lack of work as confirmed with their supervision. They must remain fit for duty, available for FFD testing, readily accessible by phone (answer the call or call back within 30 minutes, and be able to promptly report to work if asked to do so. Employees may also charge to the COVID-19 non-productive time work order if they met the reasons for the COVID-19 supplemental leave and have been directed to stay home.

Otherwise, their time off should be recorded as personal time (PT). Here are a few examples of when to use PT (i.e., be sure to still seek approval by your supervision):

 If you are choosing to not remain fit for duty.
You are wishing to take the day off and not perform work or respond to work if needed.
If you have chosen to run personal errands which will take you away from the ability to respond to work within 30 minutes.
If you would have normally taken the time of as PT and not work (e.g., preapproved day off to travel to see family, etc.)

​I see that we can check out computer hardware for telecommuting. What about our office chair or desktop sit/stand? Is bringing something like that home an option?

​The removal of office furniture from work is not an option. There are limited Facility support resources available to assist and the moving of office items such as an office chair and desk presents an increased industrial safety risk to employees. 

​I'm attempting to use Word here at home. I need the procedure macros, but the "Procedure Macros User Guide" isn't compatible with remote access.

​Users can download the guide titled Remote Access Procedure Macros Installation Guide. For assistance, email ECRMSupport@energy-northwest.com and a member of RIM will follow up.

​Since so many of us are telecommuting, the remote client is very slow this afternoon (Wednesday).  Is there something we can do collectively to speed up the remote such as not keeping multiple applications open or any other options?

Information Services realizes having so many telecommuters could potentially put a strain on our remote information technology resources. Fortunately, we have been able to stay ahead of the curve ensuring that our remote sessions are able to function at a high level. Our internet and server resources are showing usage well below our maximum capabilities.

Internet resources as a whole, around our community and the world, are being taxed. Ensuring your home connection is as stable as it can be, by using wired connections if possible, and making sure the rest of your household is not consuming too much bandwidth gaming or streaming movies, will help with your experience.

Internet based service providers around the globe are doing their part to help these issues by limiting video streaming quality and increasing capacity where they can. Demand from all telecommuters, as well as from family being home from school and their workplaces, is having an impact on the internet's performance and reliability.

Here are some best practices to ensure resources continue to be available to our users.

  • Sign off, don't just X out, but click "start button" then click the "User Icon" and choose "Sign Out" on your virtual machine (VM) when you are away, even if it's just for lunch.
  • Limit how long you share your video camera feed during meetings. Saves bandwidth and helps your VM perform better.
  • Browse the internet from your local or home computer not in your VM (especially for personal related browsing).
  • If all you need is access to email, then use Webmail (link available on the employee portal @ http://www.energy-northwest.com/Pages/Employee-Portal.aspx). This frees up VMs for users that need access to other network resources and applications.
  • If you have an EN laptop at home and only need on for a Skype meeting, then use Skype directly on that laptop without logging into a VM.
  • Use computer based audio for conversations with a headset in lieu of tying up a phone line at work.
  • Review telecommuting tips on the COVID-19 Information SharePoint site.

Remember, if you need it, use it. Information Services worked hard to make these resources available to you and your experience as seamless as possible. These are stressful times, and we want to ensure that we do our part to keep your telecommuting experience as pleasant as possible. If you require assistance with implementing any of these tips please contact the ISSC via email @ ISCALLCENTER@energy-northwest.com or create self-serve help ticket on the IS SharePoint site http://changegear/CGWeb/CGClient/SSP/Index.aspx  or call us at 509.377.8400.

​Not knowing how long EN's or the state's "stay at home" posture will remain in place, how will the organization and personnel handle Unescorted Access requirements, specifically processing into the PA every 30 days?

​The BOP interaction every 28 days (30 by regulation, we insert the buffer) is the requirement. Badge scanning that occurs at the Security checkpoint is a tracking aid for this requirement, but is not going to be as effective during our large scale telecommuting. This used to be tracked at the PA card readers, but that change occurred almost eight years ago.

Managers and supervisors will attest to this BOP interaction on their monthly BOP report, which is the same as they were doing prior to COVID-19. The addition of performing this interaction via a Skype style video conference will assist the team with the volume of telecommuting employees.

​If we need something for our job like a file can we come out there to get it?

​Employees can come to the site to retrieve a needed file. Please limit your time on site, the spaces you visit and the people you interact with.

​Can I forward my work emails to my personal (non-EN) email account?

​Using personal email/texts to conduct EN business is not prohibited, but in order to comply with the Washington state public disclosure laws and EN procedures employees that do this have several obligations.

First, any digital conduct of EN business outside of the systems must be forwarded to our email system, per GBP-IS-24. This is required so that when EN is required to respond to public records requests we can readily search all business related documents and provide timely, complete and accurate information. 

Second, if there is a question of potential EN business records in employee personal email or on their cell phone, those personal archives could become searchable under the public records act. While using personal emails during this time is convenient we strong discourage the use of non-EN systems to conduct business. If the systems EN provides are not sufficient to conduct business effectively, please reach out to Information Services to report the gaps and request assistance in resolving the issues.

How should I record my time if I was only able to work 5 hours of my 10 hour shift?

​All 10 hours would be recorded to Regular Time (REG) with 5 hours on your regular work order, and 5 hours on the applicable COVID-19 Non-Productive Time Work Order number order number.

Columbia – COVID–19 Non-Productive Time – WO# 0216000302
Corporate – COVID–19 Non-Productive Time – WO# 0216000402
ESD – COVID–19 Non-Productive Time – WO# 0216000502

How should I record my time when I was instructed to stay home?

​Starting March 24, any EN employee who does not have the ability to work via telecommuting or is unable to perform enough work in a scheduled workday, should charge any non-productive hours within their regular work schedules to Regular Work (REG), but charge those applicable non-productive hours to these work orders:

Columbia – COVID–19 Non-Productive Time – WO# 0216000302
Corporate – COVID–19 Non-Productive Time – WO# 0216000402
ESD – COVID–19 Non-Productive Time – WO# 0216000502

Can I request computer hardware to support work from home?

​In consideration of the temporary ability for non-bargaining employees to engage in Energy Northwest approved work from home (WFH) capacity during the pandemic, non-bargaining employees may remove the certain computer hardware from their existing work stations to their homes to support extended WFH durations.

In order to support this, download and complete the form for each individual non-bargaining employee. We need to document what equipment is being taken home and ensure that the employee and the department manager agree to ensure the equipment is returned when this phase of work from home is ended.

Completed forms need to be forwarded to the IS Solution Center to provide the ability to perform asset tracking.

Questions can be forwarded to IS Solution Center at 509.377.8400 or off-hours, the IS duty officer 509.372.5656. 

Is it possible to get a second or even a third Skype call in number, 377-6111 has significant challenges. With all the meetings individuals are having difficulty connecting and being apart of the meetings.

When using Skype, use the Skype audio (through the computer), instead of using a phone to call into 509.377.6111. The challenge with connecting to Skype meetings is limitations on the number of physical phone lines at Energy Northwest, not how many numbers are assigned to Skype. EN is working with local phone companies to expand the number of lines available, but meeting participants using the computer for audio instead of a physical phone line will have access to the audio and will reduce congestion on the limited number of physical phone lines available at EN.

I am having difficulty using Skype while Telecommuting. It seems Skype will not transmit voice or webcam video if you are remotely logged into EN.

Information Services encourages the use of Skype for audio and video conferencing, because it does not require the use of our limited number of physical phone lines.

The VMware Horizon View desktop application fully supports Skype audio and video. However, some users have reported issues due to using an EN laptop from home that does not have the VMWare Horizon View desktop application on it. If individuals are using an EN laptop at home and this application was not previously installed, then EN recommends they log into Microsoft Webmail (accessible from the employee portal on the energy-northwest.com website), click on the meeting invitation, and join the Skype conference through the provided link.

If individuals are using a personal laptop or computer, we recommend users download the latest VMWare Horizon View desktop application, remote in using this software and join the Skype conference once remoted in.

EN offers an option to remote in using a VMWare Horizon View HTML browser client. This method does not support Skype conferences.

Each individuals home computer and network configuration is unique, but we encourage you to call the IS Solution Center at 509.377.8400 to trouble shoot any issues you are having with audio or video connections.

​If we get elected for random FFD testing and have to report in for it, should we download the "Essential Employee Authorization" form prior to heading out in case we get pulled over by law enforcement?

​Yes, that would be appropriate. BOP and FFD functions are covered in the "essential" energy sector category that are allowed to continue under the Governor's orders.

​Now that some employees are working from home, some requals are coming due.  How do employees stay current on requals that require a "proxy" to take the test?

​All Energy Northwest employees that have an RSA token can complete all their CBTs from home without a proctor. However, supplemental employees are required to be proctored for FFD/PAT/RWT exams. They can complete all other CBTs from home if they have an RSA token. The individuals who perform proctoring for such exams will not be available after March 23 as they are not essential workers and hence working from home as well.

If I'm in Seattle, is that considered my local address and would there be any issues for me to telecommute from Seattle?

​Given the need to maintain badging requirements, employees are expected to telecommute from their local address within normal commuting distance to Energy Northwest.  Any exceptions should be requested through their manager and reviewed by human resources prior to any work being performed at an alternate location.

Telecommuting isn't usually an option for temporary or bargaining unit employees.  Will either of those groups be able to avail themselves of the telecommuting option during this time?

​Energy Northwest and IBEW reached a temporary agreement for IBEW bargaining unit employees related to telecommuting during the COVID-19 response period. To understand availability, conditions and terms please see your supervisor.

Temporary employees will be permitted to telecommute upon manager approval.

I am telecommuting, what is expected from me?

​Telecommuting employees are expected to:

• Work from their local residence or normal home location and be readily accessible during work hours for contact from their supervision and others with a business need to interface with them;

• Remain in contact with their supervisor daily by telephone to at least report their health status (this will assist management in understanding its available resources);

• Provide a daily email to their supervisor at the end of their shift summarizing their work activities for the day;

• Remain fit for duty and if they have a green badge, remain prepared to report in-person for FFD testing if contacted to do so;

• Remain available to meet in-person or through other means with their supervisor in order to fulfill Behavioral Observation Program (BOP) requirements.

In addition, non-exempt employees have the following additional rules that apply during this temporary telecommuting authorization:

• All hours of work performed must be tracked and these hours must be submitted on at least a biweekly basis for proper compensation.  Under no circumstances, does management support, approve or authorize any “off the clock” hours of work.  Timely and accurate submission of the hours is essential and expected, as they can have an impact on the amount of overtime compensation due.

• Only perform work remotely during the employee’s normally scheduled work hours.  Work outside of normal work hours is not authorized unless specifically approved in writing by the employee’s supervisor. 

• Only perform up to 40 hours of work remotely each week, unless specifically authorized by management otherwise in writing.  Employees must seek advanced approval from supervision for any hours of work that exceeds this threshold. 

• If the employee’s work phone is forwarded to their home or cell phone during this time, it is expected they refrain from logging on before their normal work hours start and that they log off when their normal work hours end.  This will ensure they are not called for work related matters during their off time.

• Discontinue work remotely when notified that this authorization has ended.  This authorization will be in effect only for the time period allowed by Energy Northwest in responding to the pandemic.

I am called for fitness for duty while I am telecommuting, what do I do?

​The below information outlines how Fitness for Duty (FFD) and Behavioral Observation Program (BOP) requirements will be maintained during a time period when non-essential employees will be telecommuting. It is important for all of us to understand that FFD/BOP requirements are not afforded any allowance for being discontinued under these circumstances.

Fitness for Duty testing
Random testing: All personnel with active Unescorted Access Authorization (UAA/UA) will continue to be selected randomly for drug and alcohol screening. Personnel on site will follow the current station process. The FFD Lead/Designee will notify the Manager/Supervisor/Designee that one of their employees have been selected for random screening along with a timeframe to report for collection. If the selected individual is telecommuting, their Manager/Supervisor/Designee will inform the employee within the timeframe provided by the FFD Lead/Designee. FFD collection for personnel telecommuting will be conducted at an offsite location.

All other FFD testing: For Cause, Pre-Access, and Follow-up testing will be administered according to our existing station process, or if necessary utilizing the method described above. The FFD Lead/Designee will make all notifications and provide details if they differ from the normal station process.

Behavioral Observation Program
The current process requirement of conducting face-to-face interaction with an employee once every 28 days (at minimum) still applies. An interim compensatory measure for this face-to-face interaction is being instituted while the station is dealing with the COVID-19 station limitations.

While employees are telecommuting, it will be acceptable to perform your BOP observation in one of two ways.

1. You may set up a meeting with the individual offsite to conduct this interaction. This meeting should be of business relevance and intentionally planned, and should not be a random interaction such as running into someone at the grocery store. Face-to-face contact is required with the individual in a work status; meaning the individual being observed must be available for FFD drug and alcohol testing.

2. BOP Supervisors/Managers may utilize a Skype style interaction to conduct their BOP. The intent is that the employee can be visually observed (virtual face-to-face), and the interaction should be of business relevance with the employee in a work status. Again, the individual must be available for FFD drug and alcohol testing in order for the BOP interaction to be official.

Please contact Brian Staniszewski at ext. 8331 or Julie Hansen at ext. 8392 for questions.

If I am injured when telecommuting, is it work related?

​WAC 296-27-01103 Determination of Work-relatedness.
Injuries and illnesses that occur while an employee is working at home are considered work-related if the injury or illness occurs while the employee is performing work for pay or compensation in the home, and the injury or illness is directly related to the performance of work and not to the home environment.
Note: Examples of recordable injury and illnesses that occur when an employee works at home:

  1. If an employee drops a box of work documents and injures their foot, the case is considered work-related.
  2. If an employee's fingernail is punctured by a needle from a sewing machine used to perform garment work at home, becomes infected and requires medical treatment, the injury is considered work-related.
  3. If an employee is injured because they trip on the family dog while rushing to answer a work phone call, the case is not considered work-related.
  4. If an employee working at home is electrocuted because of faulty home wiring, the injury is not considered work-related.
​Are we still on track for non-vaccinated workers to be able to stop wearing masks effective June 30?  I'm not sure I've seen an update...

Q: ​Are we still on track for non-vaccinated workers to be able to stop wearing masks effective June 30?  I'm not sure I've seen an update...

A: Changes to COVID-19 restrictions July 1

Effective July 1, Washington state was expected to remove the remaining requirements associated with managing COVID-19. However, specific requirements for businesses remain.

The following specific changes for Energy Northwest are effective July 1:

 Work hours and telecommuting

  • All employees are expected to resume on-site work for work hours charged.
  • Telecommuting is authorized for positions eligible for remote work per GBP-HR-10, "Work Schedules and Telecommuting: Including Adverse Conditions." Ongoing telecommuting arrangements must meet all approvals required per GBP-HR-10 using Form 27005, with a copy of the completed form submitted to the respective HR generalist. Informal, infrequent telecommuting for non-bargaining employees must also follow GBP-HR-10 provisions and be pre-approved by your supervisor. If telecommuting, you must remain fit for duty during your established normal work hours/ERO period, have childcare support if applicable, and be available to immediately report to your designated work location if requested. Previous approval to telecommute during the pandemic period does not guarantee that telecommuting under non-pandemic conditions will be approved.
  • COVID-19 supplemental leave and COVID-19 non-productive work orders are no longer available.

     Masks and social distancing
  • Masks are not required if the employee is fully vaccinated; however, all employees are free to wear a mask if they choose. The CDC still recommends wearing masks indoors in tight spaces, or if required by the employer. Employees will need to show either proof of vaccination or attest that they are fully vaccinated and have their badge appropriately marked.
  • Social distancing is still required if personnel are not vaccinated.
  • Core business meetings shift to in-person for both quorum employees and observers. Selected meetings may choose to have a Teams remote connection as well.
  • Social distancing signs can be removed after July 1. It is recommended that departments retain any signs in sturdy condition.

     

    Illness reporting
  • Formal contact tracing will be performed if an employee reports they are positive for COVID-19. The pandemic response team has been disbanded and Occupational Health will take over the contact tracing function.
  • Employees are encouraged to always evaluate their own health status and should not report to work if they are ill for any reason. The daily screening checklist will remain available through the COVID-19 website.
  • Anyone exposed to COVID-19 can report to work if they are asymptomatic, regardless of vaccination status.  Employees who are not vaccinated must wear a mask while at work and self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.  Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 should not report to work and should notify their supervisor.
  • Employees who test positive for COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and stay home until symptom free. Supervisors should notify Occupational Health.

     Pandemic response resources
  • Temperature monitors located inside Energy Northwest facilities will remain and daily temperature screening is still required.
  • Facilities will remain available for room sanitization on request.
  • The pandemic response team, including email and text notifications of positive COVID-19 cases, will be discontinued. Employees are encouraged to report COVID-19 illnesses to Occupational Health.
  • The pandemic response team internal website will remain accessible as a resource; future updates will be infrequent. The COVID-19 question forum will be closed.

     

    For additional questions about EN's COVID-19 response, contact your supervisor or Occupational Health.

     

     

     
​Is there a resource available to show/tell employees how to clean or sanitize computers/phones, etc. and with what?  These things are not cleaned by the janitors and some have many users throughout the day.

Q: Is there a resource available to show/tell employees how to clean or sanitize computers/phones, etc. and with what?  These things are not cleaned by the janitors and some have many users throughout the day.

A: Thank you for your question. The Pandemic Response Team has worked with IS to developed cleaning criteria to address your question. The Disinfecting Guidelines listed on the COVID Info page has been updated.

​I know that previously, we were instructed not to use personal fans but with the weather turning colder, is it OK to use a personal heater?

Q: I know that previously, we were instructed not to use personal fans but with the weather turning colder, is it OK to use a personal heater.

 
A: The Center for Dieses Control and Prevention guidance does not currently oppose the use of personal office space heaters. It is important that workers refer to ISPM-06 and meet the specific requirements for portable electric heaters for personal use.  

​In planning for employee return to work, what consideration is there for the communal tools such as printer to keep them clean after each use? Will there be cleaning supplies stationed at the communal tools so the user can clean prior to and after use?

​We encourage staff to take this opportunity to reduce the volume of printed, copied and scanned documents as a method to prevent individual exposure. Information Services leases the copier devices from a local company. The copier company is committed to increasing the frequency of machine cleaning. However, given that EN has almost 200 copiers in diverse geographical they cannot all be cleaned continuously. Individuals may also use disposable latex gloves when working with the printer to minimize their risk. The copier touch screens should not be cleaned with regular Lysol or Clorox cleaning wipes. Information Services is working to find sufficient quantities of an appropriate cleaning wipe for the copiers to provide the option for individuals to perform just-in-time cleaning as well.

​Is it safe to use the water fountains here at EN?
​Employees can use the water fountains at EN. Reminder to get water from the flow versus putting your mouth over the outlet. Facilities wipes the surfaces frequently, several times throughout a shift. Employees can help with this effort after their own use to help limit the potential for transmission from frequently touched surfaces by practicing good hygiene.
Yokes had a designated cart cleaner, and 2 workers constantly cleaning areas throughout the store. This concern has been raised several times by EN employees and our responses have been, clean your own areas and we are short-staffed in Facilities.

​Facilities is not short staffed and is working seven days a week cleaning and wiping down areas and common touch surfaces. As the agency prepares for more people on site, Facilities will continue with this effort and bring in staff as required to meet demand. Facilities doesn’t wipe personal spaces, as we can’t be responsible if something gets wet or damaged and some employees are very protective of their space. Facilities provides supplies so anyone can wipe down their personal space. If a group needs supplies, please let Facilities know by calling the Facilities help line at ext. 8484. Facilities gives the supplies to one person in group so they can be accountable for the products. There isn’t enough to give each person their own cleaning supplies.

Background on Yokes – To overcome the national shortage on disinfecting wipes, Yokes staffed individuals to clean carts and other areas with an antibacterial cleaning agent.   

Are the argos cleaned often enough or correctly to make a real difference – meaning the screen is not removed?

The whole body monitors are cleaned at a set frequency. They are cleaned in accordance with the manufacture instructions. The cleaning process and materials are aligned with the industry’s pandemic response.

Could we bypass the geometry machines for now? There are less individuals reporting to site that would need to be processed through a different means. Spray bottles of disinfectant by the machine could be a possible solution too.

Facilities has directed the janitorial staff to ensure we keep sanitizer stations leaving the protected area access point and in the Yakima Building operational at all times. There is a limited supply of sanitizer and there is enough for a few weeks. Facilities is exploring different options to keep these sanitizers going if we run out of the bags (i.e. trying to refill with other sanitizer product, setup a station with a pump). Facilities has an indication from the supplier that we could receive some refill bags by mid-April. Facilities will keep the team informed of the sanitizer status. There is a limited a supply across nation and we are a tier 2 user (hospitals/medical are tier 1).

The hand geometry unit is a regulatory requirement and cannot be bypassed. The platen on the reader is covered with a specially formulated antimicrobial coating with silver ions in order to inhibit the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew to mitigate hygiene concerns. Utilizing hand sanitizer and/or washing hands, along with other good hygiene practices will remain paramount as we continue to navigate the current state of affairs.

​Walking through the 1st floor of the Deschutes I noted cubes that have Caution signs indicating possable COVID-19.  What are the plans for these cubes?

Facilities will disinfect these cubicles today and will remove signage.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic cleanliness is paramount to avoid spreading the virus. Normally we have site services (janitorial staff) that cleans our facilities (bathrooms, kitchen, hallways, etc.).

​Facilities cleans the Yakima building common areas and restrooms. We have been calling out overtime for the crew to stay longer during normal work days. Overtime was approved last weekend to perform additional cleaning. Weekend shifts will clean areas that are staffed 24/7.

Can employees bring cleaning products from home to clean their workspaces?

​Employees can bring their own personal-size cleaning products (hand sanitizer or wipes) to clean their workspaces with the following exceptions:

• Cleaning liquids cannot be poured down the sinks in the plant power block
• Cleaning products cannot be used on plant components
• Cleaning products will be provided to the control room

Workers must follow the product use instructions when using the product in their workspace. This is a personal-use product, when you are done using it at Energy Northwest please take it home.

What steps is Facilities taking to ensure cleanliness?

Janitors increased focus on cleaning common touch areas such as handrails, doorknobs and common touch surfaces. Facilities and Industrial Safety are working together to ensure the antibacterial cleaning agent is effective. The crew is working overtime to meet the sanitation efforts.

Facilities would like to remind everyone that there is a limited supply of wipes, sprays and disinfectants available to use.  The products left in common areas are for common areas only. If you need to use the supplies take what you need and return the supplies so others can use them as well. Your continued support and understanding will help us all get through this. 

  
​Are we still on track for non-vaccinated workers to be able to stop wearing masks effective June 30?  I'm not sure I've seen an update...

Q: ​Are we still on track for non-vaccinated workers to be able to stop wearing masks effective June 30?  I'm not sure I've seen an update...

A: Changes to COVID-19 restrictions July 1

Effective July 1, Washington state was expected to remove the remaining requirements associated with managing COVID-19. However, specific requirements for businesses remain.

The following specific changes for Energy Northwest are effective July 1:

 Work hours and telecommuting

  • All employees are expected to resume on-site work for work hours charged.
  • Telecommuting is authorized for positions eligible for remote work per GBP-HR-10, "Work Schedules and Telecommuting: Including Adverse Conditions." Ongoing telecommuting arrangements must meet all approvals required per GBP-HR-10 using Form 27005, with a copy of the completed form submitted to the respective HR generalist. Informal, infrequent telecommuting for non-bargaining employees must also follow GBP-HR-10 provisions and be pre-approved by your supervisor. If telecommuting, you must remain fit for duty during your established normal work hours/ERO period, have childcare support if applicable, and be available to immediately report to your designated work location if requested. Previous approval to telecommute during the pandemic period does not guarantee that telecommuting under non-pandemic conditions will be approved.
  • COVID-19 supplemental leave and COVID-19 non-productive work orders are no longer available.

     Masks and social distancing
  • Masks are not required if the employee is fully vaccinated; however, all employees are free to wear a mask if they choose. The CDC still recommends wearing masks indoors in tight spaces, or if required by the employer. Employees will need to show either proof of vaccination or attest that they are fully vaccinated and have their badge appropriately marked.
  • Social distancing is still required if personnel are not vaccinated.
  • Core business meetings shift to in-person for both quorum employees and observers. Selected meetings may choose to have a Teams remote connection as well.
  • Social distancing signs can be removed after July 1. It is recommended that departments retain any signs in sturdy condition.

     

    Illness reporting
  • Formal contact tracing will be performed if an employee reports they are positive for COVID-19. The pandemic response team has been disbanded and Occupational Health will take over the contact tracing function.
  • Employees are encouraged to always evaluate their own health status and should not report to work if they are ill for any reason. The daily screening checklist will remain available through the COVID-19 website.
  • Anyone exposed to COVID-19 can report to work if they are asymptomatic, regardless of vaccination status.  Employees who are not vaccinated must wear a mask while at work and self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.  Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 should not report to work and should notify their supervisor.
  • Employees who test positive for COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and stay home until symptom free. Supervisors should notify Occupational Health.

     Pandemic response resources
  • Temperature monitors located inside Energy Northwest facilities will remain and daily temperature screening is still required.
  • Facilities will remain available for room sanitization on request.
  • The pandemic response team, including email and text notifications of positive COVID-19 cases, will be discontinued. Employees are encouraged to report COVID-19 illnesses to Occupational Health.
  • The pandemic response team internal website will remain accessible as a resource; future updates will be infrequent. The COVID-19 question forum will be closed.

     

    For additional questions about EN's COVID-19 response, contact your supervisor or Occupational Health.

     

     

     
Where can I get the grommet on my badge saying I've been vaccinated? I just hit my 2 weeks and haven't been able to find anyone stationed in the Deschutes. I've tried in the evening and the morning.

Q: Where can I get the grommet on my badge saying I've been vaccinated? I just hit my 2 weeks and haven't been able to find anyone stationed in the Deschutes. I've tried in the evening and the morning.

A: Pandemic response team members will verify vaccination status seven days a week beginning May 21 in the Palouse Building, Room 103, from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. Verification will also be done in the Industrial Safety Office in the Deschutes Building, Room 1-162 between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

For information call the COVID-19 hotline at 377-8715.

Under the updated Energy Northwest facial coverings and mask policy, individuals who wish to can provide proof they are fully vaccinated from COVID-19 and be exempt from wearing a facial covering.

All of the simptoms listed on the D15 for Heat Stress are also amplified by wearing a mask. "Discuss signs/ symptoms of heat stress in prejob briefings (headache, dizziness, excessive sweating, nausea, weakness)." At what point are we going to recognize t

Q: All the symptoms listed on the D15 for Heat Stress are also amplified by wearing a mask. "Discuss signs/ symptoms of heat stress in pre-job briefings (headache, dizziness, excessive sweating, nausea, weakness)." At what point are we going to recognize that masks are doing harm and impacting employees in a very negative way? This could get very dangerous as the temperatures begin to climb for summer. 

A: There are available options offered to employees in certain circumstances. Individuals that have an underlying health condition (accommodated through Human Resources) may seek relief from wearing a mask and replace the facial covering with another type suited for their situation. Employees are encouraged to communicate with their supervisor and HR generalist on further details.  

I and possibly many others who chose to get a vaccine and/or wear a mask may face discrimination (have already heard questions about political affiliation) because of this new mask policy. It also has given license to many unvaccinated individuals to not

Q: I and possibly many others who chose to get a vaccine and/or wear a mask may face discrimination (have already heard questions about political affiliation) because of this new mask policy. It also has given license to many unvaccinated individuals to not even have the pretense of having or using a mask; if someone else doesn't need one, why do I. How are we to coach individuals or groups of individuals to wear a mask if they have not been vaccinated? Get close enough to examine their badge and risk the charge of harassment? 

 A: Thanks for your question.  When the CDC and Governor Inslee changed the mask requirements last week, ENW senior leadership reviewed our options and determined that we will continue to follow the CDC and the WA state policies.  We have heard from our workers that some are in agreement with our stance and others are opposed. We understand this but will continue with our path of following the CDC and state.

We do not believe that our changes will lead to discrimination. We are not violating any medical privacy issues with our policy.  The un-vaccinated mask wearers are protecting other un-vaccinated workers. No one is forced to reveal their status; it is done entirely on a voluntary basis.  Secondly, and not insignificantly, "normal" HIPAA laws do not universally apply during a pandemic environment.  If you search Washington State Department of Labor or Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration websites, you can easily find guidance related to information that employers are allowed to ask and collect from employees that would otherwise be considered protected.  The justification for this additional authority is the fact that COVID is easily passed from one person to another and can have severe health effects; consequently, this is a public safety issue, and more authority is given to employers to collect and use this type of information to protect public health.  In combination, these two factors result in Energy Northwest having the legal authority to mark individual badges with an indication of vaccination without violating HIPAA.

Employees are encouraged to respectfully coach one another when incorrect behaviors are observed.  If repeated instances of incorrect behavior are seen in the same individual despite coaching, the observer should notify their own supervisor of the observation so that appropriate leadership can be informed to further investigate and/or address the situation.

If anyone feels that they are being discriminated against, please contact your supervision, Human Resources or Legal.

Does the current mask policy allow removing your mask while walking outside?  Nothing is explicitly stated and it seems people can interpret the policy either way.

Q: Does the current mask policy allow removing your mask while walking outside?  Nothing is explicitly stated, and it seems people can interpret the policy either way.

A: One of the exceptions to wearing a mask listed in the EN Mask Policy pertains to being alone. When alone working in an office, cubical, common work area, vehicle, or job site (alone means at least 6 feet of social distance is always maintained). However, if approached in any of these areas and 6 feet distance is not maintained, you must cover your nose and mouth with a mask or facial covering. Employees are encouraged to wear their mask if required while walking in doors in the event you suddenly encounter another employee around a corner.  

With the new CDC Guidelines with regards to wearing masks, fully vaccinated person no longer have to wear masks. What is going to be CGS stance on this new guideance?

Q: With the new CDC Guidelines with regards to wearing masks, fully vaccinated person no longer must wear masks. What is going to be CGS stance on this new guidance?

A: On Thursday the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and Governor Inslee updated their policies for controlling COVID-19.  Taking the two announcements together the net result is:

            On June 30 Washington state will return to normal pre-COVID life. No one will be required to socially distance or wear a mask.*  All counties will advance to Stage 3 May 18 (Benton and Franklin are already there).

            Between now and June 30, if the total vaccination percentage for eligible populations in Washington reaches 70% (it is currently about 59%) then no one will be required to wear a mask or socially distance.  All that is required to support this objective is that 70% of residents get one shot of a two-shot vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) or a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

            Between now and June 30, those who are fully vaccinated will not need to wear a mask.*  For this situation, "fully vaccinated" means two weeks after receiving the second shot of a two-shot vaccine (Pfizer/Moderna) or 2 weeks after receiving the J&J vaccine.

* There are some restrictions, such as masks still required in public transportation, and mask wear remains encouraged for all who are in crowded settings.  Additionally, should COVID rebound to the point that hospital ICU beds are challenged, general mask wearing could be reinstituted. 

Over the last 24 hours we received numerous requests for information on the changes in the government's policy.  While most were interested in how and when we might implement the changes, some expressed concerns that with the outage in progress and while we are showing good control of COVID with our current policy now is not the time to loosen our restrictions.

Policy Update

Senior Leadership team discussed the issue yesterday and realizes that whatever path we take will not please everyone. So, we have decided the best course of action is to do what we have done all along – implement CDC recommendations while following state mandates.  Effective Sunday, May 16, employees - including our teammates who are with us for the outage - who can demonstrate proof of full vaccination will not need to wear a mask on company property.  Workers who are not vaccinated will need to continue to follow our existing mask policy. No employee or temporary worker is required to disclose their vaccination status; however, those who choose not to disclose their status or not be vaccinated will be required to continue following the current mask policy.  To support those who have travelled a long distance to get here, we will accept as proof of vaccination a picture, photocopy or scanned image of your record of vaccination. 

Requiring proof of vaccination provides a reasonable balance between our requirement to follow the CDC and Washington guidance, while at the same time addressing the concerns of employees about potential spread of the virus or who might be in the high-risk category.  All employees, regardless of their vaccination status, are of course free to wear a mask and socially distance at all times.

To help easily identify those who are not required to wear masks, Sunday, May 16, Energy Northwest staff will be stationed at the Deschutes flag pole during shift changes (5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.) to verify proof of vaccination and will mark individual EN badges so you will not have to repeat the verification daily. Additional verification times beyond shift change will be established Monday. 

The Energy Services & Development leadership team will develop a plan for rolling out this change with all ESD employees, including remote sites. ESD employees who have questions should reach out to their supervisor or manager. 

Guidance for implementing the changes scheduled for June 30 will be provided at a later date.

If you have any questions, the best and quickest way to get an answer is to ask your supervisor or submit your question to the Pandemic Response Team.

 

It appears the CDC revised there guidance to allow no masks for personnel who are fully vaccinated both outdoors and indoors for most instances.  When will we switch to this guidance.

Q: It appears the CDC revised their guidance to allow no masks for personnel who are fully vaccinated both outdoors and indoors for most instances.  When will we switch to this guidance? 

A: On Thursday the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and Governor Inslee updated their policies for controlling COVID-19.  Taking the two announcements together the net result is:

            On June 30 Washington state will return to normal pre-COVID life. No one will be required to socially distance or wear a mask.*  All counties will advance to Stage 3 May 18 (Benton and Franklin are already there).

            Between now and June 30, if the total vaccination percentage for eligible populations in Washington reaches 70% (it is currently about 59%) then no one will be required to wear a mask or socially distance.  All that is required to support this objective is that 70% of residents get one shot of a two-shot vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) or a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

            Between now and June 30, those who are fully vaccinated will not need to wear a mask.*  For this situation, "fully vaccinated" means two weeks after receiving the second shot of a two-shot vaccine (Pfizer/Moderna) or 2 weeks after receiving the J&J vaccine.

* There are some restrictions, such as masks still required in public transportation, and mask wear remains encouraged for all who are in crowded settings.  Additionally, should COVID rebound to the point that hospital ICU beds are challenged, general mask wearing could be reinstituted. 

Over the last 24 hours we received numerous requests for information on the changes in the government's policy.  While most were interested in how and when we might implement the changes, some expressed concerns that with the outage in progress and while we are showing good control of COVID with our current policy now is not the time to loosen our restrictions.

Policy Update

Senior Leadership team discussed the issue yesterday and realizes that whatever path we take will not please everyone. So, we have decided the best course of action is to do what we have done all along – implement CDC recommendations while following state mandates.  Effective Sunday, May 16, employees - including our teammates who are with us for the outage - who can demonstrate proof of full vaccination will not need to wear a mask on company property.  Workers who are not vaccinated will need to continue to follow our existing mask policy. No employee or temporary worker is required to disclose their vaccination status; however, those who choose not to disclose their status or not be vaccinated will be required to continue following the current mask policy.  To support those who have travelled a long distance to get here, we will accept as proof of vaccination a picture, photocopy or scanned image of your record of vaccination. 

Requiring proof of vaccination provides a reasonable balance between our requirement to follow the CDC and Washington guidance, while at the same time addressing the concerns of employees about potential spread of the virus or who might be in the high-risk category.  All employees, regardless of their vaccination status, are of course free to wear a mask and socially distance at all times.

To help easily identify those who are not required to wear masks, Sunday, May 16, Energy Northwest staff will be stationed at the Deschutes flag pole during shift changes (5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.) to verify proof of vaccination and will mark individual EN badges so you will not have to repeat the verification daily. Additional verification times beyond shift change will be established Monday. 

The Energy Services & Development leadership team will develop a plan for rolling out this change with all ESD employees, including remote sites. ESD employees who have questions should reach out to their supervisor or manager. 

Guidance for implementing the changes scheduled for June 30 will be provided at a later date.

If you have any questions, the best and quickest way to get an answer is to ask your supervisor or submit your question to the Pandemic Response Team.

Related to the ask senior management question posted on 5/13 and the Governor Inslee press release dated 5/13 titled  "Inslee announces statewide reopening date of June 30 and short-term statewide move to Phase 3" where he stated "that Washington will ful

Q: Related to the ask senior management question posted on 5/13 and the Governor Inslee press release dated 5/13 titled  "Inslee announces statewide reopening date of June 30 and short-term statewide move to Phase 3" where he stated "that Washington will fully adopt masking guidance issued by the CDC earlier today." and "The state will update our guidance documents — working with the Department of Health and Labor & Industries — to reflect this as soon as possible. Businesses retain the right to require customers wear masks." Are we going to remove the mask requirement for fully vaccinated people, thus encouraging vaccination by providing a benefit?

A: On Thursday the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and Governor Inslee updated their policies for controlling COVID-19.  Taking the two announcements together the net result is:

            On June 30 Washington state will return to normal pre-COVID life. No one will be required to socially distance or wear a mask.*  All counties will advance to Stage 3 May 18 (Benton and Franklin are already there).

            Between now and June 30, if the total vaccination percentage for eligible populations in Washington reaches 70% (it is currently about 59%) then no one will be required to wear a mask or socially distance.  All that is required to support this objective is that 70% of residents get one shot of a two-shot vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) or a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

            Between now and June 30, those who are fully vaccinated will not need to wear a mask.*  For this situation, "fully vaccinated" means two weeks after receiving the second shot of a two-shot vaccine (Pfizer/Moderna) or 2 weeks after receiving the J&J vaccine.

* There are some restrictions, such as masks still required in public transportation, and mask wear remains encouraged for all who are in crowded settings.  Additionally, should COVID rebound to the point that hospital ICU beds are challenged, general mask wearing could be reinstituted. 

Over the last 24 hours we received numerous requests for information on the changes in the government's policy.  While most were interested in how and when we might implement the changes, some expressed concerns that with the outage in progress and while we are showing good control of COVID with our current policy now is not the time to loosen our restrictions.

Policy Update

Senior Leadership team discussed the issue yesterday and realizes that whatever path we take will not please everyone. So, we have decided the best course of action is to do what we have done all along – implement CDC recommendations while following state mandates.  Effective Sunday, May 16, employees - including our teammates who are with us for the outage - who can demonstrate proof of full vaccination will not need to wear a mask on company property.  Workers who are not vaccinated will need to continue to follow our existing mask policy. No employee or temporary worker is required to disclose their vaccination status; however, those who choose not to disclose their status or not be vaccinated will be required to continue following the current mask policy.  To support those who have travelled a long distance to get here, we will accept as proof of vaccination a picture, photocopy or scanned image of your record of vaccination. 

Requiring proof of vaccination provides a reasonable balance between our requirement to follow the CDC and Washington guidance, while at the same time addressing the concerns of employees about potential spread of the virus or who might be in the high-risk category.  All employees, regardless of their vaccination status, are of course free to wear a mask and socially distance at all times.

To help easily identify those who are not required to wear masks, Sunday, May 16, Energy Northwest staff will be stationed at the Deschutes flag pole during shift changes (5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.) to verify proof of vaccination and will mark individual EN badges so you will not have to repeat the verification daily. Additional verification times beyond shift change will be established Monday. 

The Energy Services & Development leadership team will develop a plan for rolling out this change with all ESD employees, including remote sites. ESD employees who have questions should reach out to their supervisor or manager. 

Guidance for implementing the changes scheduled for June 30 will be provided at a later date.

If you have any questions, the best and quickest way to get an answer is to ask your supervisor or submit your question to the Pandemic Response Team.

The face masks that are provided for use at the PAPP do not meet the stations requirement for double layer and should be removed and replaced with appropriate masks.

Q: The face masks that are provided for use at the PAPP do not meet the stations requirement for double layer and should be removed and replaced with appropriate masks. 

A: On Jan. 31, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released modified recommendations about the use of face coverings and masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The CDC now recommends that non-medical grade coverings, such as bandanas, fabric masks, neck gaiters and homemade face coverings, be made of two or more layers. Energy Northwest has required a cloth facial covering since June 8, 2020, in compliance with state requirements; we have adjusted our guidelines to the CDC recommendations.

Personal facial coverings or masks such as bandanas, fabric masks, neck gaiters and homemade masks are still permissible at EN; however, they must consist of at least two layers of material or be flipped/folded in such a way that produces two layers. Non-medical grade single-layer masks can also be doubled-up to meet this requirement. Medical grade masks are supplied in some Fastenal machines throughout the site, and in the Deschutes Building, Room 1-217, in the COVID-19 PPE bin across from the cafeteria and in the PAAP. The blue masks located in the Fastenal machines and the masks located in the COVID-19 PPE bins are considered medical grade due to the stringent testing requirements they must meet. Agency-supplied medical grade masks are not required to be doubled up.

Employee-supplied N95 and K95 masks do not require a mask fit or special qualifications when the use is voluntary. As it is more difficult to achieve a proper fit with an N95 or K95 mask, these are not recommended for use by people with facial hair. EN policy is that masks are required if within 6 feet of any other person on company property. This is the minimum standard and employees are encouraged to wear masks more extensively, particularly if you are walking around, to ensure you are compliant with the policy if you inadvertently come within 6 feet of another employee. Research and operating experience have shown that the combination of mask usage, social distancing and rigorous hand washing are together very effective behaviors to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. For information about EN COVID-19 policies, see the COVID-19 website. Instructions and graphics are also being evaluated for the information kiosks around the site. Thanks for you feedback and ideas to assist with this new information.

I have a question in regarding mask use in the PA. I was wondering what we are doing to mitigate masks becoming Foreign Material in the plant.

Q: I have a question in regarding mask use in the PA. I was wondering what we are doing to mitigate masks becoming Foreign Material in the plant. Should we standardize wearing a certain type in the PA that won't fall off your ears like the ones worn around a person's neck or some kind of way of strapping it to a person, kind of like we do with safety glasses... like the "chums"  Just a thought?

A: Our Foreign Material Exclusion crew, led by Tom Powell, has determined that in FME areas any facial covering that loops around the ears will need to be secured with a lanyard to ensure it cannot fall into a protected system.  Double layered neck gaiters are allowed per EN Facial Coverings and Mask Policy and are encouraged in FME areas.  Also, from industry OE, N-95 masks with exposed metal will not be allowed into an FME area.

Please see the article that appeared in EN News on 4/28/21. 

What is the status on use of personal fans to keep us cool as the temperature heats up? I know at one-point last year fan use was discouraged and have not seen an update since.

Q: What is the status on use of personal fans to keep us cool as the temperature heats up? I know at one-point last year fan use was discouraged and have not seen an update since. 

A: CDC Guidance suggests that fans would close the social distance benefits by potentially spreading exhaled aerosols. Therefore, at this time personal use fans are NOT to be used in office buildings. Use of fans in industrial areas will be evaluated on a case by case basis by Facilities & Commercial Engineering and approved by a manager.

Will the station consider relaxing face mask requirements for work groups/offices that are 100% vaccinated? This would still be IAW CDC guidelines?

Q: Will the station consider relaxing face mask requirements for work groups/offices that are 100% vaccinated? This would still be IAW CDC guidelines? 

A: Given the limited amount of information on how much the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine may reduce transmission in the general population and how long a vaccine will provide protection against the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccinated people should continue to follow all current CDC guidance to protect themselves and others. This includes wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others and washing hands often. At this time EN will continue following CDC quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with COVID-19. As many things related to COVID continue to evolve and change on a nearly daily basis, the Pandemic Response Team will monitor and adjust based upon CDC recommendations and guidance.  

I have asked a few times what cleaning wipes are available for the hot tool crib usage (for inside the work office) that can be controlled by the tool crib attendants.  I was informed that they may be some different limitations for use on equipment, howev

Q: I have asked a few times what cleaning wipes are available for the hot tool crib usage (for inside the work office) that can be controlled by the tool crib attendants.  I was informed that they may be some different limitations for use on equipment, however what is approved for the Chem lab, Main Control Room and of the Calibration lab would seem appropriate to filter through and obtain approval for use.  I have found three different varieties with various chem permits.  I really desire to find something (wipe either station made) or purchased that the tool crib personnel can control for use knowing any limitations. 

A: Employees may Refer to the Network folder and click the MSD (web based) tab. Employees can locate cleaning supplies that are available and approved for use inside of the power block. Using the search option assists employees in locating the specific cleaning wipes that are approved for use. If you have additional questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to the Environmental Department for additional guidance.   

​Are the masks (white with hashed grey lines) that are staged in the COVID PPE boxes in the PAAP double layered?  It was brought up as a question in the D15.   Thanks much.

Q: Are the masks (white with hashed grey lines) that are staged in the COVID PPE boxes in the PAAP double layered?  It was brought up as a question in the D15. Thanks much.

A: Personal facial coverings or masks such as bandanas, fabric masks, neck gaiters and homemade masks are still permissible at EN; however, they must consist of at least two layers of material or be flipped/folded in such a way that produces two layers. Non-medical grade single-layer masks can also be doubled-up to meet this requirement. Medical grade masks are supplied in some Fastenal machines throughout the site, and in the Deschutes Building, Room 1-217, in the COVID-19 PPE bin across from the cafeteria. The blue masks located in the Fastenal machines and the masks located in the COVID-19 PPE bin are considered medical grade due to the stringent testing requirements they must meet. Agency-supplied medical grade masks are not required to be doubled up.

Do the face temperature checking devices we are using need calibrated? If so, are we accomplishing this? I check my temperature when I come to work and get a temperature of 96.4 more than 75% of the days. This seems highly unusual to me.

Q: Do the face temperature checking devices we are using need calibrated? If so, are we accomplishing this? I check my temperature when I come to work and get a temperature of 96.4 more than 75% of the days. This seems highly unusual to me. 

A: The 7" tablet Facial Temperature Monitors uses a temperature sensor thermal array that does not require calibration after implementation. A review of the vendors documentation confirms that a calibration is not required for the style of temperature monitor used at Energy Northwest.    

​The CDC has posted some new mask wearing instructions/graphics.  It might be a good idea to publish them since some guidelines have changed, such as using double layers if wearing gaiters.

Q: The CDC has posted some new mask wearing instructions/graphics.  It might be a good idea to publish them since some guidelines have changed, such as using double layers if wearing gaiters.

A: On Jan. 31, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released modified recommendations about the use of face coverings and masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The CDC now recommends that non-medical grade coverings, such as bandanas, fabric masks, neck gaiters and homemade face coverings, be made of two or more layers. Energy Northwest has required a cloth facial covering since June 8, 2020, in compliance with state requirements; we have adjusted our guidelines to the CDC recommendations.

Personal facial coverings or masks such as bandanas, fabric masks, neck gaiters and homemade masks are still permissible at EN; however, they must consist of at least two layers of material or be flipped/folded in such a way that produces two layers. Non-medical grade single-layer masks can also be doubled-up to meet this requirement. Medical grade masks are supplied in some Fastenal machines throughout the site, and in the Deschutes Building, Room 1-217, in the COVID-19 PPE bin across from the cafeteria. The blue masks located in the Fastenal machines and the masks located in the COVID-19 PPE bin are considered medical grade due to the stringent testing requirements they must meet. Agency-supplied medical grade masks are not required to be doubled up.

Employee-supplied N95 and K95 masks do not require a mask fit or special qualifications when the use is voluntary. As it is more difficult to achieve a proper fit with an N95 or K95 mask, these are not recommended for use by people with facial hair. EN policy is that masks are required if within 6 feet of any other person on company property. This is the minimum standard and employees are encouraged to wear masks more extensively, particularly if you are walking around, to ensure you are compliant with the policy if you inadvertently come within 6 feet of another employee. Research and operating experience have shown that the combination of mask usage, social distancing and rigorous hand washing are together very effective behaviors to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. For information about EN COVID-19 policies, see the COVID-19 website. Instructions and graphics are also being evaluated for the information kiosks around the site. Thanks for you feedback and ideas to assist with this new information. 

With the new guidelines and requirements that masks must have 2 or more layers, will EN be providing masks that meet this requirement?  The resources to the public are sometimes limited to ensure that all people have access to masks that meet the constant

Q: With the new guidelines and requirements that masks must have 2 or more layers, will EN be providing masks that meet this requirement?  The resources to the public are sometimes limited to ensure that all people have access to masks that meet the constantly changing requirements being released by CDC.

A: On Jan. 31, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released modified recommendations about the use of face coverings and masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The CDC now recommends that non-medical grade coverings, such as bandanas, fabric masks, neck gaiters and homemade face coverings, be made of two or more layers. Energy Northwest has required a cloth facial covering since June 8, 2020, in compliance with state requirements; we have adjusted our guidelines to the CDC recommendations.

Personal facial coverings or masks such as bandanas, fabric masks, neck gaiters and homemade masks are still permissible at EN; however, they must consist of at least two layers of material or be flipped/folded in such a way that produces two layers. Non-medical grade single-layer masks can also be doubled-up to meet this requirement. Medical grade masks are supplied in some Fastenal machines throughout the site, and in the Deschutes Building, Room 1-217, in the COVID-19 PPE bin across from the cafeteria. The blue masks located in the Fastenal machines and the masks located in the COVID-19 PPE bin are considered medical grade due to the stringent testing requirements they must meet. Agency-supplied medical grade masks are not required to be doubled up.

Employee-supplied N95 and K95 masks do not require a mask fit or special qualifications when the use is voluntary. As it is more difficult to achieve a proper fit with an N95 or K95 mask, these are not recommended for use by people with facial hair. EN policy is that masks are required if within 6 feet of any other person on company property. This is the minimum standard and employees are encouraged to wear masks more extensively, particularly if you are walking around, to ensure you are compliant with the policy if you inadvertently come within 6 feet of another employee. Research and operating experience have shown that the combination of mask usage, social distancing and rigorous hand washing are together very effective behaviors to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. For information about EN COVID-19 policies, see the COVID-19 website.

For R25, have we thought about having workers be issued an ED for the entirity of the outage so we are not pulling them out of a common bin everyday or each time we go into the plant. I understand that if we go this direction we will need a place to store

Q: For R25, have we thought about having workers be issued an ED for the entirety of the outage, so we are not pulling them out of a common bin every day or each time we go into the plant. I understand that if we go this direction, we will need a place to store them for the individuals to prevent the cross contamination.

A: The R25 Outage Pandemic Team along with support from Radiation Protection have benchmarked many processes for issuing Electronic Dosimeters (ED's) to workers during R25. Benchmarking from other stations that have attempted this approach, found that many of the ED's were misplaced and/ or lost over the duration of an outage. A sterilization measure that is currently being evaluated is the use of ultraviolet lights over the ED containers for surface disinfection.  Additionally, all workers will be encouraged to practice good hygiene, wash their hands before and after going into the RCA, social distancing whenever safely feasible, and practicing proper mask usage.   

During the outage what the mask usage protocol for mask usage in contaminated areas will be. Are there going to be disposable masks staged at entrances to contaminated areas? Masks not required. If the answer is disposable masks has that been allocated in

Q: During the outage what the mask usage protocol for mask usage in contaminated areas will be. Are there going to be disposable masks staged at entrances to contaminated areas? Masks not required. If the answer is disposable masks has that been allocated into the budget for outage (~500 people, four trips into a containment area per shift, two shifts potentially 4,000 masks per day x 35 days = 140,000 masks) 

A: Supply Chain Services has contracts in place to purchase the necessary personal protective equipment to support all activities during Refueling and Maintenance Outage 25. The outage readiness team is working closely with our vendors to ensure we have an adequate supply of PPE on-site, which includes disposable masks, hand sanitizer and wipes. The pandemic outage team has allocated the necessary funds associated with this PPE to successfully execute the outage while maintaining the safety of all employees. The outage readiness team is working closely with Facilities to establish site maps to help illustrate where these items will be available across the station to assist workers with the information and details to obtain PPE. Regarding containment, EN will stage disposable masks at the exit of the contaminated area so employees can discard the mask they're currently wearing along with their disposable contamination clothing. We will communicate more information and details over the next few weeks.    

We have marked the floor in the PAAP every 6 feet for social distancing in the East-West direction.  However, when we open up both sides of an X-ray machine, people are only separated by the width of the belt (about 3 feet) in the North-South direction. 

Q: We have marked the floor in the PAAP every 6 feet for social distancing in the East-West direction.  However, when we open both sides of an X-ray machine, people are only separated by the width of the belt (about 3 feet) in the North-South direction. So, we have two lines of people that are only standing 3 feet apart. 

A: Social distancing does greatly reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to someone else. When everyone in an area maintains social distance, the chances of getting the virus drops. The risk is of spreading COVID-19 is even further reduced for those who are in close contact for less than 15 minutes based upon CDC close contact guidance. Security understands this and makes every attempt to limit times when adjacent search lanes are to be opened. There are circumstances that do not allow for this to occur. In those rare occasions it is important to limit your time in the area and ensure employees are properly adhering to the EN mask policy. Additional measures are being evaluated by the Outage Pandemic High Impact Team in preparation for R-25.   

​In the latest CEO video update concerning COVID actions Brad stated that we would now be giving credit for wearing a mask when it comes to determining if "close contact" occurred. While the CDC did revise guidance to indicate masks provide some degree of

Q: In the latest CEO video update concerning COVID actions Brad stated that we would now be giving credit for wearing a mask when it comes to determining if "close contact" occurred. While the CDC did revise guidance to indicate masks provide some degree of protection for the wearer, that degree of protection is dependent upon the type of mask, it's fit, and its ability to filter micron sized particles. A spandex neck gaiter does not provide the same degree of protection as a multi-layered cloth mask, or an N95 mask. As a result, the CDC has not revised their guidance on what constitutes close contact and specifically states the determination of close contact should be made irrespective of mask PPE. Can the company please re-evaluate this position? Why would we ignore the CDC guideline in this instance?  In an effort to keep myself, my family, and my co-workers safe, I know that personally, I would prefer to be contacted if there is any potential that I interacted with a COVID positive individual to allow me to assess my own risk and whether to seek testing or not.

A:  When the CDC announced that it no longer recommended determining "close contact" based on the use of masks, the senior leadership team determined that EN would distinguish between our essential and non-essential workers when determining whether or not close contact occurred.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security identifies all EN employees as essential to continued critical infrastructure viability. With this designation, EN is following the CDC guidance for essential employees on contact tracing.  This is defined as: for essential employees - if both employees were wearing a face covering, then close contact did not occur. Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

The agency has a different definition of essential and non-essential employees and this may cause some confusion when we apply the CDC guidance. The Federal Government defines all EN employees as essential so, we are using that categorization in the CDC guidance for those employees that we have determined as essential.  As we continue to say, we urge all employees to utilize masks AND maintain at least 6 feet of distance at all times, if possible.

If our contact tracing indicates that an employee may have been exposed, please be sure that EN will contact the employee and provide guidance to them.

Regarding gaiters, the CDC does approve of gaiters as an acceptable face covering, so EN will continue to follow the CDC guidance and allow gaiters. See EN Face Coverings for additional information.

 

 

 

 

Gaiters do not provide the same protection as layered masks.  Also, gaiters alllow users to easily pull down the mask below the nose or below the chin, observed many, many times while on site, even in crowded conference rooms while persons thought they we

Q: Gaiters do not provide the same protection as layered masks.  Also, gaiters allow users to easily pull down the mask below the nose or below the chin, observed many, many times while on site, even in crowded conference rooms while persons thought they were distancing by sitting 6' away.  Is there any thought given to requiring masks, not gaiters, to be worn and how should persons be coached if they pull down their gaiters? 

A: Energy Northwest's compliance with Washington state requirement for all employees to wear a "cloth facial covering" began Monday, June 8. Facial coverings are a critical defense in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus. The coverings protect both the employee, and more importantly, their coworkers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommends covering of the nose and mouth to slow the spread of COVID-19. It encourages non-medical grade coverings e.g. bandanas, fabric masks, neck gaiters and homemade coverings. Effective June 8, Washington State began requiring all employees at all places of business to wear "face coverings" at all times except in certain circumstances. Based on the CDC and Washington State guidance, EN will continue to allow employees to choose the cloth facial covering of their choice as long as it meets the requirements. EN expects all workers to carry an EN or self-provided facial covering with them at all times and to wear your mask when within 6 feet of any other employee, unless otherwise exempted. Individuals are encouraged to self-screen daily, observe social distancing and practice good personal hygiene (cleaning hands as often as possible and refraining from touching the face). Employees are encouraged to respectfully coach one another when incorrect behaviors are observed. If repeated instances of incorrect behavior are seen in the same individual despite coaching, the observer should notify their own supervisor of the observation so that appropriate leadership can be informed to further investigate and/or address the situation.  

Due to our safety requirements to use them, handrails seem a likely vector for spreading germs, including COVID-19, common cold, flu, etc. Can we increase the frequency of our handrail cleaning regimen? Or provide buckets of wipes at the bottoms or tops o

Q: Due to our safety requirements to use them, handrails seem a likely vector for spreading germs, including COVID-19, common cold, flu, etc. Can we increase the frequency of our handrail-cleaning regimen? Or provide buckets of wipes at the bottoms or tops of staircases? Or consider other handrail sanitation solutions? Thank you!

A: Facilities has increased focus on cleaning common touch areas including handrails, doorknobs and other surfaces. The Pandemic Response Team and Facilities continue to work together to ensure these areas maintain a high level of care. Facilities would like to remind EN employees that there is a limited supply of wipes available to use in other locations than those left in common areas. Due to the limited supply of wipes, PRT developed a plan with Facilities to purposefully place hand sanitizer stations at the top and bottom of stairwells. CDC advises to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

 

Does wearing a plastic face shield meet the requirement for a cloth face covering?

Q: Labor and Industry guidance for protection from COVID-19 has consistently mentioned face shields as acceptable for limiting the spread of the virus. Is it acceptable for EN employees to use a face shield in lieu of a face mask? 

R: Based upon information from the Washington State Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control, face coverings are to be tight to the face without leaving gaps.  This keeps any droplets that are released into the air from reaching the nose and mouth.  A face shield is not tight to the face and although would provide adequate protection from the direct front of the wearer, it would not provide protection from the side. The only time EN has allowed a face shield rather than a cloth face covering is when an employee has provided medical evidence that a cloth face covering could not be worn.  In the one case addressed to date, a face shield was deemed to be a reasonable medical accommodation specific the employee's circumstances, providing additional controls were also in place.
 

Why are employees be allowed to not wear a mask at work and are within 6 ft. most of the time?

Q: Why are employees be allowed to not wear a mask at work and are within 6 ft. most of the time?

A: The expectation is that employees will wear an EN or employee provided facial covering at all times unless an exception is met. A list of exceptions can be found along with the current mask policy on the COVID-19 website. With that being said, if you are working in an area with adequate distance from others, you can remove your mask. You must keep a mask with you at all times and don that mask if you approach or are approached by another individual. The exceptions include those set forth by the Governor, as well as those EN has determined to be necessary to ensure workplace safety (e.g., safe conduct of work). When falling under an exception, the 6 feet social distancing is still expected if possible to do so.  Employees are encouraged to respectfully coach one another when incorrect behaviors are observed.  If repeated instances of incorrect behavior are seen in the same individual despite coaching, the observer should notify their own supervisor of the observation so that appropriate leadership can be informed to further investigate and/or address the situation.

​Hi, RP Tech 927H needs more masks.  Can we get them through this site

Q: Hi, RP Tech 927H needs more masks.  Can we get them through this site

 

A: ​Industrial Safety has a supply of masks, which are located at Deschutes 1-217. Additional mask are on order to support with inventory along with multiple varieties of masks for EN employees.   

We are planning to perform an ERO drill in a few weeks. I don't particularly think this is a good idea but how are we going to ensure that no gets sick given the realities of "close quarters" that occur during the drills. There are a number of aspects to

Q: We are planning to perform an ERO drill in a few weeks. I don't particularly think this is a good idea but how are we going to ensure that no gets sick given the realities of "close quarters" that occur during the drills. There are a number of aspects to the drills that simply won't work / aren't good ideas in a COVID-19 environment (microphone use, briefing huddles, hand held documents as an information exchange, constant close (LT 6 ft) desk proximity, the lunches unfortunately, and probably a number of other issues that I can't even imagine right now). And forgive me for being blunt but simply saying wear masks is not a sufficient answer for people that are going to be near one another for 6-7 hours.

A: The Emergency Preparedness department is planning a reduced scope drill for ERO team Bravo Aug. 25 that focuses on training to maintain vital ERO qualifications and proficiency in key areas.  Additional information will be conveyed to the ERO team members involved with the drill over the next three weeks. The drill will involve reduced center staffing and a shorter duration.  In addition, EP selected some functions that will not be demonstrated in the August drill, meaning that that ERO function would not be staffed. 

Drill participants will be directed to pre-screen the morning of the drill and perform a formal screening upon arrival at work near their drill location, just as they would for a regular work day.  Current agency policy expects all workers to carry an EN or self-provided facial covering with them at all times and to wear the mask when within 6 feet of any other employee, unless otherwise exempted.  Due to the nature of ERO drills, mask usage will be mandatory during the drill unless the ERO member has an exemption or the work they're engaged in requires wearing respiratory protection greater than that provided by a cloth face covering. While the reduced staffing for the August drill will make it possible for many responders to socially distance themselves for extended periods, these periods will not be continuous.  Therefore, the decision was made to require face masks to be worn for the full duration of the drill and post-drill critique.  ERO members who have an exemption from wearing a face mask are asked to notify their emergency center planner as soon as possible. The EP department has also taken measures in each of the centers to maximize social distancing while performing ERO functions.

ERO team member involvement during the August drill will be similar to what our workers experience during recent training sessions.  During the August drill, equipment sharing will be minimized or eliminated wherever possible.  Lunches will be provided but will not be available for consumption during the drill.  Participants will be asked to consume their lunch outside of the confines of drill activities.

Where can I get a facemask?

​Please ask your supervisor for a facemask if you need one. If they do not have a supply they can obtain facemasks from Deschutes 1/217 — this office has them staged for use by EN departments.

It seems the Washington state guideline is for "facial coverings," but the EN specifies "non medical face masks are preferred." Can you clarify? Do we need to purchase cloth masks as well now?

​Directives from the state and local counties are to don facial coverings which can be made of a variety of material and styles. While medical surgical masks and N95 meet these criteria, there are directives to allow those supplies to be first made available to the healthcare industry. Energy Northwest procured a supply of disposal N95 and K95 masks, these are not reusable and washable and we would exhaust our supply quickly, and require re-ordering, given the length of time our area may be subject to the mask order from the governor. Energy Northwest procured a supply of washable and reusable masks available to our staff, and additional reusable masks of a slightly different style are expected shortly. As always, if you have a mask that you find comfortable (which may be a cloth mask or your own N95/K95), you are welcome to bring and use your own mask at EN.

​When working alone in an office, cubical, vehicle or at a job site (alone means at least 6-feet social distance is always maintained). Why can this not include walking outdoors alone?

The guidance for mask wearing is been updated. Everyone should carry a mask with them at all times. It is the expectation that you wear your mask when within 6 feet of any other employee. Other exceptions as listed in the original guidance remain (specific areas of the plant, industrial or operational safety risk, underlying health conditions, etc). If walking or working alone (greater than 6 feet separation) you need not wear your mask, but if approaching or approached by another employee within 6 feet put your mask on.

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With the state opening back up and new rules on July 1st, will the rules for travel be changing as well?

​Q: With the state opening back up and new rules on July 1st, will the rules for travel be changing as well?

A: No changes at this time, employes are to follow the cirrent travel policy listed on the COVID-19 website.

​As of July 1st, 2021, are there specific travel restrictions for vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals?  Do employees need to test in either case if they have traveled domestically or internationally?

Q: ​​As of July 1st, 2021, are there specific travel restrictions for vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals?  Do employees need to test in either case if they have traveled domestically or internationally?

A: No changes at this time, employes are to follow the cirrent travel policy listed on the COVID-19 website.

Over the last fifteen months, we've realized some efficiencies through remote/virtual collaborations and meetings. Teams has turned out to be an effective method of engagement. With department managers sending out the message that we're soon returning to

Q: Over the last fifteen months, we've realized some efficiencies through remote/virtual collaborations and meetings. Teams has turned out to be an effective method of engagement. With department managers sending out the message that we're soon returning to normal, is the station considering maintaining some of these efficiencies such as continuing with Teams/virtual D15s? Having someone at their workstation participate in a D15 through Teams has been beneficial and efficient. Requiring people to stop work to go to a room for an "in-person" D15 is not as beneficial or efficient.

A: Changes to COVID-19 restrictions July 1

Effective July 1, Washington state was expected to remove the remaining requirements associated with managing COVID-19. However, specific requirements for businesses remain.

The following specific changes for Energy Northwest are effective July 1:

 Work hours and telecommuting

  • All employees are expected to resume on-site work for work hours charged.
  • Telecommuting is authorized for positions eligible for remote work per GBP-HR-10, "Work Schedules and Telecommuting: Including Adverse Conditions." Ongoing telecommuting arrangements must meet all approvals required per GBP-HR-10 using Form 27005, with a copy of the completed form submitted to the respective HR generalist. Informal, infrequent telecommuting for non-bargaining employees must also follow GBP-HR-10 provisions and be pre-approved by your supervisor. If telecommuting, you must remain fit for duty during your established normal work hours/ERO period, have childcare support if applicable, and be available to immediately report to your designated work location if requested. Previous approval to telecommute during the pandemic period does not guarantee that telecommuting under non-pandemic conditions will be approved.
  • COVID-19 supplemental leave and COVID-19 non-productive work orders are no longer available.

     Masks and social distancing
  • Masks are not required if the employee is fully vaccinated; however, all employees are free to wear a mask if they choose. The CDC still recommends wearing masks indoors in tight spaces, or if required by the employer. Employees will need to show either proof of vaccination or attest that they are fully vaccinated and have their badge appropriately marked.
  • Social distancing is still required if personnel are not vaccinated.
  • Core business meetings shift to in-person for both quorum employees and observers. Selected meetings may choose to have a Teams remote connection as well.
  • Social distancing signs can be removed after July 1. It is recommended that departments retain any signs in sturdy condition.

     

    Illness reporting
  • Formal contact tracing will be performed if an employee reports they are positive for COVID-19. The pandemic response team has been disbanded and Occupational Health will take over the contact tracing function.
  • Employees are encouraged to always evaluate their own health status and should not report to work if they are ill for any reason. The daily screening checklist will remain available through the COVID-19 website.
  • Anyone exposed to COVID-19 can report to work if they are asymptomatic, regardless of vaccination status.  Employees who are not vaccinated must wear a mask while at work and self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.  Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 should not report to work and should notify their supervisor.
  • Employees who test positive for COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and stay home until symptom free. Supervisors should notify Occupational Health.

     Pandemic response resources
  • Temperature monitors located inside Energy Northwest facilities will remain and daily temperature screening is still required.
  • Facilities will remain available for room sanitization on request.
  • The pandemic response team, including email and text notifications of positive COVID-19 cases, will be discontinued. Employees are encouraged to report COVID-19 illnesses to Occupational Health.
  • The pandemic response team internal website will remain accessible as a resource; future updates will be infrequent. The COVID-19 question forum will be closed.

     

    For additional questions about EN's COVID-19 response, contact your supervisor or Occupational Health.

     

     

     
Has there been any change to the use of personal fans? Last I saw they were not allowed.

Q: Has there been any change to the use of personal fans? Last I saw they were not allowed.  

A: CDC has recently updated their guidance on the use of personal fans on June 2, 2021. After having a discussion and review of the recent CDC guidance change with EN Industrial Safety and the Pandemic Response Team the use of personal fans is allowed for the workplace when following the below CDC recommended guidance measures.

As with all fan use during the COVID-19 pandemic, take care to minimize the potential to create air patterns that flow directly across one person onto another:

  • Avoid the use of the high-speed settings
  • Use ceiling fans at low velocity and potentially in the reverse-flow direction (so that air is pulled up toward the ceiling)
  • Direct the fan discharge towards an unoccupied corner and wall spaces or up above the occupied zone.
Is it ok to laminate a vaccination card?

Q: Is it ok to laminate a vaccination card?

A: The CDC currently doesn't have a standard on whether the COVID-19 vaccine card should be laminated or not. The only requirement is that the card is completely up to date. Anyone who received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine is welcome to enroll in V-Safe or VaxText. The CDC said these tools will help individuals access their vaccination information. You should get a vaccination card that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it. Keep your vaccination card in case you need it for future use. Consider taking a picture of your vaccination card as a backup copy. Our local Office Max offers a free lamination and copy of your vaccination card through July.

 

Q: Same Question as the Phase 3 Question. Since Inslee rescinded the WA state travel advisory on 3/19/21 to default to the CDC Travel Advisory which does not have a specific interstate travel advisory, when will EN's policy be updated to reflect this change which is a shorter quarantine duration? The CDC does not specify how they define "Travel" which means this could include intrastate trips as well. 

"CDC does not require that domestic travelers undergo a mandatory federal quarantine, but CDC recommends you get tested AND stay home and self-quarantine after travel."

Get tested 3-5 days after your trip and stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel, even if your test is negative. If you don't get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.

A: The new travel guidance for domestic and international travel has been added to the Managers/Supervisors COVID-19 Guide revision 6.   

​Is there a way to search the questions and answers?

To search for questions and answers on the COVID site go to EN Questions and Answers - All Items. From there use the "Find an item" search function.

Are we still required to quarantine after non-essential travel out of the state?

Q: Are we still required to quarantine after non-essential travel out of the state?

A: On Nov.13, Gov. Jay Inslee issued a COVID-19 travel advisory applicable to all non-essential travel impacting Washington state. For employees conducting essential work-related travel follow our normal EN screening guidance and return to work criteria. Most of the travel that employees may be engaged in likely falls within the advisory's definition of non-essential travel.

1.         Consistent with the governor's guidance, employees are encouraged to refrain from non-essential travel (especially outside of Washington state).

2.         If employees plan to travel outside of Washington state, they should inform their immediate management so contingencies can be put in place in the event the employee is required to remain off site for an extended period following the travel.

3.         If an employee chooses to travel outside of Washington state, they should either:

a.         Quarantine for 14 days after their return home; or,

b.         Be tested for COVID-19 upon their return to Washington and remain off site until they    receive a negative test result.

The Pandemic Response Team continues to monitor for any updates to the Governor's current travel advisory. Employees are reminded that the general guidance regarding potential exposure to COVID-19 remains in effect, and employees should immediately report to their management any close contact with an individual who is confirmed positive for COVID-19.

What are the current restrictions for travel outside of Washington state, and when do we anticipate that to be changed?

Q: What are the current restrictions for travel outside of Washington state, and when do we anticipate that to be changed?

A: On Nov.13, Gov. Jay Inslee issued a COVID-19 travel advisory applicable to all non-essential travel impacting Washington state. For employees conducting essential work-related travel follow our normal EN screening guidance and return to work criteria. Most of the travel that employees may be engaged in likely falls within the advisory's definition of non-essential travel.

1.         Consistent with the governor's guidance, employees are encouraged to refrain from non-essential travel (especially outside of Washington state).

2.         If employees plan to travel outside of Washington state, they should inform their immediate management so contingencies can be put in place in the event the employee is required to remain off site for an extended period following the travel.

3.         If an employee chooses to travel outside of Washington state, they should either:

a.         Quarantine for 14 days after their return home; or,

b.         Be tested for COVID-19 upon their return to Washington and remain off site until they    receive a negative test result.

The Pandemic Response Team continues to monitor for any updates to the Governor's current travel advisory. Employees are reminded that the general guidance regarding potential exposure to COVID-19 remains in effect, and employees should immediately report to their management any close contact with an individual who is confirmed positive for COVID-19.

It looks like the new "Healthy Washington–Roadmap to Recovery" Washington State plan will necessitate changes to Energy Northwest's Covid-19 Restart Planning. Our Phase E for transitioning all employees back to work was previously tied to Benton County en

Q:It looks like the new "Healthy Washington–Roadmap to Recovery" Washington State plan will necessitate changes to Energy Northwest's Covid-19 Restart Planning. Our Phase E for transitioning all employees back to work was previously tied to Benton County entering Washington State Phase 3, which no longer exists in the new Roadmap to Recovery plan. The new plan looks like it only has two phases so far, and both look quite restrictive (compared to pre-COVID life). For example, even in the more relaxed phase 2, which would need to be achieved collectively by our South Central Region, at-home gatherings are still limited to only five people from outside the household, and remote work is strongly encouraged for professional services. It appears that for the time being, we no longer have a milestone to which to tie our Phase E transition back to work. Will we wait until the "Healthy Washington–Roadmap to Recovery" further evolves before we can have a milestone to which to tie a full return to work?

A: On Jan. 5, Gov. Jay Inslee announced "Healthy Washington  —  Roadmap to Recovery," a COVID-19 phased recovery plan. As an essential business, our current state of business operations are not impacted by the Healthy Washington plan. Energy Northwest will remain at Phase D of our return-to-work plan until further notice. We will continue to conduct meetings, including core business meetings, virtually to the fullest extent possible. The number of workers on-site will increase as we gear up for the spring refueling and maintenance outage. A safe and successful outage is critical to the reliable operation of Columbia Generating Station. Our outage planning efforts include proactive steps to ensure worker health and safety remain a top priority, including the establishment of a pandemic outage high impact team. Strict adherence to our screening, social distancing and facial covering guidance while at work remains vital as we ramp up for the outage. As always, all employees are encouraged to protect themselves at home and in public settings by maintaining appropriate social distancing, wearing facial coverings as warranted and frequent hand washing.

Are EN contractors included in the notices of personnel testing positive, or only EN employees?

Q: Are EN contractors included in the notices of personnel testing positive, or only EN employees?

A: All workers including EN employees and contractors are included in the total case count. All workers including employees and contractors receive EN News email communications. Text message notifications are sent to workers who voluntarily signed up for the notification. Employees and contractors can voluntarily sign up via adverseweatheralert/newform to receive text message alerts.

 

 

If we are going minimize the on-site time of non-essential staff, are we also going to minimize the amount of non-essential work?  The "Non-essential" staff, are still essential to the completion of schedule and unscheduled work during day-to-day operatio

Q: If we are going minimize the on-site time of non-essential staff, are we also going to minimize the amount of non-essential work?  The "Non-essential" staff are still essential to the completion of schedule and unscheduled work during day-to-day operations of the plant.

 
A: The Energy Northwest senior leadership team and the pandemic response team continue to monitor the pandemic effects on our local communities. While the virus and those infected continue to rise slightly in our area there are no plans to change our current status. We will continue to operate in Phase D of our plan, which calls for approximately 1/3 of our non-essential workforce to be onsite on any given day.  As EN operates an essential business in the region, using a planned and coordinated return to work criteria is necessary. The stations Return to Work plan was written to be flexible with the ever changing requirements, with the priority solely focused on the safety and health of our employees. That said if we see the need to take action to protect employees we will.

 

​If there is no vaccine for everyone by spring what are the plans for implementing the R25 refueling outage?

Q: If there is no vaccine for everyone by spring what are the plans for implementing the R25 refueling outage? 

A: Due to the nature of outages, the working conditions, and close coordination with other co-workers, EN has gathered operating experiences from utilities that have had outages during the 2019-2020 COVID-19 outbreak. Conversely, there were some utilities that fared much better and their success can be attributed to safe health practices, social distancing, and taking other preventative measures. A Pandemic Response Strategy for refueling outages whitepaper has been developed primarily from operating experience from what industry peers (including global participants) have experienced and what has worked well versus what has not. Additionally, local government response timelines have been documented to provide future perspective on what to expect when a future outbreak occurs. As every pandemic will be different on many levels, it is not prescriptive on the specifics, but still drives actions to align with best practices pertaining to controlling the subject pandemic. The Pandemic Response Team has been working closely with our outage High Impact Team and Outage Management to ensure the developed criteria provides guidance and recommendations to respond to pandemic conditions and to minimize the impact these events have on planned and forced outages. 

​If a person travels overseas to an area the CDC considers high risk, are ENW employees required to self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to work?

Q: If a person travels overseas to an area the CDC considers high risk, are ENW employees required to self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to work?

 A: Employees are encouraged to follow the Governor's Stay Home Stay healthy order and continue to frequently monitor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 travel site. Prior to returning to work from personal travel, employees should review EN's COVID-19 Screening Checklist prior to returning to site. There is currently no requirement to self-quarantine if you are able to answer NO to the all of the screening questions. If you plan to travel outside of the U.S., remember to contact Access Authorization at least two weeks in advance.

 

​Is there anywhere that tells me what phase the company is in at any given time?    I would expect this to be found prominently on the Covid page and/ or D-15 page.

Q: Is there anywhere that tells me what phase the company is in at any given time?    I would expect this to be found prominently on the COVID-19 page and/ or D-15 page.
  
A: The Pandemic Response Team has updated the COVID-19 website to reflect the current phase of our COVID-19 Restart Plan.   

​Why are we only seeing part of the question?  Can the entire question be repeated in the answer before the answer?

​We're still learning. Questions were unintentionally cutoff because the character count is limited. The team has noted this and will paste long questions that exceed character count in to the response field going forward.

​Are there any plans to facilitate effective meeting/training during the transitional period we are currently in where meetings and training may end up being part in person and part online?...

Q: ​Are there any plans to facilitate effective meeting/training during the transitional period we are currently in where meetings and training may end up being part in person and part online?  Conference rooms and individual cubicles and offices are not necessarily setup to do audio/video conferencing effectively.  Challenges are: lack of audio/video capabilities in conference rooms and for users without laptops, laptop users may not have docking stations oriented such that the laptop's built in camera is oriented in a manner that would effectively allow video use during a session where video was to be used, and cubicle users may not have enough separation to allow for them to participate in meetings without disturbing neighbors or picking up background noise.  Has the company evaluated more widespread use of webcams, headsets or other equipment that would make hybrid meetings easier to do from on site?

A: ​Several initiatives are in process to facilitate support for training activities during this time of social distancing.  The Training department has adjusted class size and configurations for licensed training programs. A pilot of the Webex Training service will be used next week for manager/supervisor training to provide remote training internally. This service provides abilities to have breakout rooms, shared whiteboards, and conduct participant polls.  Information Services has standards for headsets and webcams that can be purchased by any admin through the Staples technology purchase program.  Use of headsets in cubicle environments is key to minimizing disruption to the cubicle environment.  Information Services is investigating reports of issues with laptops and docking stations to identify options for resolving those configuration specific issues. A few conference rooms have video conference capabilities but additional analysis needs to be done to identify what equipment would be needed to expand the number of conference rooms with this ability.  Information Services will identify technology options to facilitate expanded capability in conference rooms.

 

​I'm confused how the site entered 'Phase D' of the restart plan when the official restart plan document specifically states that 'Phase D' is triggered by 'WA State Phase 2 entered in the Tricities area'...

Q: ​I'm confused how the site entered 'Phase D' of the restart plan when the official restart plan document specifically states that 'Phase D' is triggered by 'WA State Phase 2 entered in the Tricities area'. This question was asked last week and was never directly adressed. Seems like if we want to meet the pillar of "Doing what we say we'll do" then we either need to remain in 'Phase C' or revise the restart plan document to reflect our current circumstances.

A: ​The Pandemic Response Team has revised the verbiage in our COVID-19 Restart plan to reflect an approved plan by Washington State that allows Benton and Franklin counties to initiate the reopening of businesses in a safe manner. We are currently in Phase D, and will continue to check and adjust our restart plan. It is important for all employees to follow Phase D actions to ensure the health and safety of all EN employees.

​Does the new face mask order from the governor change how and when we wear face masks at Energy Northwest?

​Based upon our review of the governor's change it has been determined that there are no changes to EN's current mask policy. Facial coverings are a critical defense in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus. The coverings protect both the employee, and more importantly, their coworkers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends covering of the nose and mouth to slow the spread of COVID-19. Non-medical grade coverings are encouraged, e.g. bandanas, fabric masks, neck gaiters and homemade coverings. EN expects all workers to carry an EN or self-provided facial covering with them at all times and to wear your mask when within 6 feet of any other employee, unless otherwise exempted. A list of exceptions can be found along with the current mask policy on the COVID-19 website.

Has there been any talk of changing required PT usage for this year? If not, the last half (or quarter) of the year may be full of people wanting or needing to use PT leaving us short handed as we come back to full staffing and catch up on postponed work?

​GBP-HR-25, Personal Time and Disability Supplement, already contains a process for waiving required personal time usage. Workers should use Form 26617, Request for Personal Time Waiver, to request a waiver. Human Resources will not institute a separate process for COVID-19 impacts.

Leadership encourages the use of PT to provide a healthy work-life balance, especially considering COVID-19 stressors. Although our travel options are limited, we can still benefit from taking time off locally. Managing our PT bank also helps control costs to EN.

So, with over half of the year left, we encourage employees to review options for using PT with your supervision. HR will continue to monitor this topic, in case there are changes due to business requirements (e.g., such as the inability to approve PT due to coverage to support plant operations). If any changes are made to our PT program before the end of 2020, we will be sure to inform all employees.

​You may want to update the external link going to the WA state Governor site or add it as a separate link....

We ​updated the link and title to Washington State Coronavirus Response on COVID page.

​What is the expectation for working if an employee who is able to telecommute tests positive for COVID-19 and is asymptomatic or has mild symptoms?

​If an employee feels comfortable working in a telecommuting role, then he or she can do so. When returning to the office please follow the return to work guidelines.

​When COVID began the scheduled ERO Exercise was 'cancelled' but expected to be rescheduled.  When can we expect to have a new drill and exercise schedule published for 2020-2021? Will there be an ERO graded exercise in 2020?

​Energy Northwest's Emergency Preparedness and off site agencies will meet June 18 to develop new 2020-2021 ERO drill schedules. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission graded exercise is scheduled for Oct. 27, 2020.

​It would be helpful if every 'document' or communication issued related to COVID has a date issued.  Things are changing so fast I can't be sure if I'm looking at the latest/valid information.

​Thank you for the suggestion to add a date to documents on the COVID-19 website. All documents on the COVID site are the latest revision. A revision and associated date are included in the document itself. Note that there are many documents linked to each other using the document's specific title. Adding a revision or date in the document title would break the links setup for associated documents.

​How will employees and visitors be notified if they are at risk if someone is confirmed to have COVID-19?

​When there is a confirmed positive case or suspected positive exposure, in coordination with the pandemic response team, the department initiates contract tracing efforts. Namely, who did the employee have contact with, for how long and where did they visit. Based on this feedback, Energy Northwest reaches out to the potentially effected individuals to discuss the contact and next steps. Please keep in mind that this information is considered sensitive and is shared on a need to know basis. Company-wide communications, including new articles, text messages and employee advisory log entries are presented to provide as much information as possible while protecting sensitive detail.

See mask policy question below.

Q. I understand if a person is working alone in an office they don't have to wear a mask.  How about walking alone, provided the person has a mask around their neck and can don the mask if someone else approaches them?  How about two or three people sitting in a conference room or large break room while maintaining a 6 foot spacing?  Would either of these two examples be acceptable?

A. The guidance for mask wearing is been updated. Everyone should carry a mask with them at all times. It is the expectation that you wear your mask when within 6 feet of any other employee. Other exceptions as listed in the original guidance remain (specific areas of the plant, industrial or operational safety risk, underlying health conditions, etc.). If walking or working alone (greater than 6 feet separation) you need not wear your mask, but if approaching or approached by another employee within 6 feet put your mask on.

See mask legality and enforcement  question below.

Q. ​Is the requirement to wear face coverings while on EN property really a "New State Law" as stated in the "EN Face Coverings Required" document? And if it is a new state law, how is that being enforced on EN property? What are the ramifications for leaving ones office to use the restroom and forgetting to put ones face covering on? Would this be an opportunity for coaching and documenting the event in a CR, or does one get turned into the sheriff to be fined or potentially jailed? If this is in fact a bona fide LAW, then perhaps our company needs to rethink the decision to return workers to the station. If WA state has passed an enforceable law, complete with ramifications for violating it, then perhaps it is more dangerous to return to work than previously thought. I am sure that most people are unwilling to sacrifice their criminal record, and potentially affect their ability to hold unescorted access to a nuclear facility, or face jail time for trying to get their work done.

A. We admit that referring to the new requirement as a “law” was for convenience to deliver the straight-forward message that EN’s compliance with this requirement is not a choice. As an essential business licensed to operate within the state of Washington, we are required to follow this order from the Governor’s Proclamation 20-25.4 in the same way that we must comply with any other state requirement, whether it is duly passed by the legislature and signed into “law” by the governor, developed by an authorized state agency as an applicable “regulation,” or duly enacted by the governor as an “order” under the powers given to him when Washington has declared a “state of emergency.” We hope that you will appreciate that placing the statement “It’s An Order” on the document would not have conveyed the same meaning as “It’s The Law.” That said, you are correct to say that it is not a “law” as that term is defined. However, as stated, this is a difference without a distinction. The primary purpose of these requirements is for the protection of your coworkers in the event that you are infected with the COVID-19 virus and asymptomatic; studies have shown that this is a method of COVID-19 transmission and that the use of masks significantly reduces the rate of infection.

Regarding the enforcement of this requirement, the document you refer to is very explicit about the requirements regarding face coverings, and management’s expectations regarding their use. Management does not anticipate that these requirements and expectations will require “enforcement.” However, management does view these as required personal protective equipment, just like gloves, hardhats and safety glasses. If an employee refuses to use a mask, they will be dealt with in the same way an employee would be dealt with who refuses to use other PPE. Fortunately, because all of us recognize the purpose and need for PPE, management does not believe that compliance will be a significant issue.

​How are masks being used/controlled in contaminated areas? Are they going to be considered protective clothing from a radiological protection standpoint?

​Face coverings are not required for entry into and work in contaminated work areas. If an individual wants to wear a face covering while working in a contaminated area, they can. The face covering should be treated like your safety glasses. Do not touch them while in the contaminated area. Upon exit from the contaminated area, wear the face covering into the contamination monitor just like wearing safety glasses.
 
Workers are reminded that while working in the radiologically controlled area you should minimize touching your face to adjust your safety glasses and face covering. This minimizes the likelihood of getting your face contaminated with loose surface contamination.

The face mask required guidance document was revised to include this exemption. It now states: Inside the following locations: main control room, radwaste control room, control room simulator when conducting operator training, the Security firing range during live weapons training and while working in a contaminated area (CA).

​For those of us that wear glasses, how do we address the safety issue created by our glasses fogging up while wearing a cloth facial covering? This creates a line of site safety issue.  Also, the covering changes line of site in general.

​There are a few strategies for individuals who wear glasses. You want to make sure your mask fits securely over the nose. With glasses, a mask with a nose bridge will keep warm air from exiting up to your glasses as opposed to other face coverings. To this extent, you could also tape the top of the mask with medical or sports tape to create a seal. You can also try a method used in the healthcare industry. Wash your lenses with soapy water and shake off the excess liquid. Allow the lenses to air dry or gently wipe them off with a soft cloth before wearing your glasses again. Why does this method work? The soap leaves behind a thin film that acts as a fog barrier. Note: This method is not prescribed for some glasses that have special coatings and a commercial “anti-fog” product may be a better solution.

​Will a face covering be required if all of the other workers in the area are 6 feet away?

​The expectation is that employees will wear an EN or employee provided facial covering at all times unless an exception is met. With that being said, if you are working in an area with adequate distance from others, you can remove your mask. You must keep a mask with you at all times and don that mask if you approach or are approached by another individual.  The exceptions include those set forth by the governor, as well as those EN has determined to be necessary to ensure workplace safety (e.g., safe conduct of work). When falling under an exception, the 6 feet social distancing is still expected if at all possible to do so.

​At what point at arriving to work will we be required to wear a mask?

​Facial coverings are required starting with when an employee leaves their personal vehicle in the parking lot.

​Do our current safety measures negate the need to wear a mask?

​Governor Inslee mandated that facial coverings be worn in the workplace starting June 8 until further notice. Regardless what measures EN already has in place to keep the workplace safe from COVID-19, it and employees must comply with the law. Recent studies indicate a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms and facial coverings can substantially reduce the spread of the virus in these situations.

​If I am working alone in my office or cubicle do I need to wear a mask?

​When walking or working alone in an office, cubical, vehicle or at a job site, a facial covering is not required. However, it will be important to keep in mind that any transition from one location to another will require that the facial covering be carried with you, as it is no longer certain that the person will continue to be alone. Additionally, a mask should be donned if someone were to enter your cubicle or work area or approach you while you transition from one area to another. It is the expectation that you have a mask with you at all times.

​The 'when and how to wear face masks' info sheet is out of date.

​We are updating all of the documents regarding facemask use today to comply with the governor's new face mask policy.

​Should employees use the showers here at EN? I've noticed personal soap and towels hanging in the shower areas.

​People can use the showers at Energy Northwest. Like under any circumstances, please don't touch other people's towels or soap.

​What was the significant virus outbreak at Fermi?

The significant virus outbreak at Fermi Nuclear Station was COVID-19 related. Fermi entered a refueling and maintenance outage with major projects to be implemented during the outage, including a recoating of the Torus (similar to Columbia’s suppression pool). At one point, over 2,100 individuals were tested for COVID-19 due to a very large number of positive cases at the station. The testing identified 230 plus individuals positive for COVID-19. Furthermore, 75% of dedicated crew supporting the Torus work had tested positive. Eventually, the non-infected individuals supporting the Torus project were sequestered in a secure facility for their health and safety. They overcame the challenge by focusing on social distancing and using face masks when social distancing could not be maintained. 

This operating experience further emphasizes the need for all EN employees to self-screen for health challenges associated with COVID-19. This supports the continued health and safety of our fellow coworkers. 

​Are there talks of not participating in USA shared resources this fall for outages due to COVID-19?

​We are intending to support; however we continue to monitor industry and government response to the virus, including the following considerations, that could result in us cancelling USA support.

- No employee will be required to travel who does not want to travel.
- There may be a significant virus outbreak at the outage station, similar to what was seen at Fermi in the spring.
- Many sites with spring outages significantly reduced outage scope in an effort to keep on-site staffing at an absolute minimum. Some USA sites may not want resource sharing.
- Should there be an unanticipated increase in COVID-19 in Benton and Franklin counties, we may need to curtail travel to ensure sufficient workers to operate and maintain Columbia.
- Governmental travel restrictions may not allow travel out of our area or into another.

We will continue to monitor the situation and update those employees who are identified to support USA outages.

​Prior to entering Phase 4 in Washington state what will be the required dress code?

​We will allow a relaxed dress code (jeans) through Phase D of the EN Return to Work strategy.

In response to a May 11 post about mandatory testing. Is it still EN's position that employment is at risk if an employee elects to not provide their personal information?

​It is correct that to date no law requires mandatory testing for COVID-19, nor disclosure of personal information in response to contact tracing, nor deployment of the National Guard to support such. If such is not law, but rather industry or agency guidelines or recommendations, it would be at Energy Northwest’s discretion whether to make such an expectation of employment. To date EN has not done so, thus there is no impact on employment. If these circumstances were to change EN will communicate the expectations to employees.

​It would be helpful to have a date at the start or end of the question text of when the answer was last updated.

​Thanks for the recommendation. The team added a field to include date and time.

Employee comment

​​There is information being spread around right now that some supervisors performing walkdowns with the individual who tested positive for COVID-19 last week. Performing walkdowns and using the same elevators is close contact yet these individuals have not been tested and do not believe they were at risk. I hope that everyone at EN realizes that we are as a group, only as strong as each individual. It takes one person not being conservative and doing the right thing to potentially create a real mess/disaster at work with this. I would truly hate to see us have to shut down the plant due to a COVID-19 outbreak at EN. This isn't so much a question, but a chance to reiterate how important each individual is to provide a success path during a pandemic such as this. We are only as strong as our weakest link.

Thank you for your message, we agree with your takeaway. We intend to keep communicating the importance of early notification, open communication regarding wellness and timely coordination with the pandemic response team. Additionally, part of understanding the risk is evaluating close contact, and individuals' adherence to our defense strategies: staying 6 feet apart, wearing a mask and avoiding touching our faces. All of these actions help to protect our population and are used to evaluate if further actions are warranted.

Is there a way to have our current phase posted on the website? With some groups working and some being sent home (no work computer access) it might be good to have it on our external COVID site as well.

​All of the content posted on the internal COVID-19 site is also posted on Energy Northwest's external site under Employee Portal.

Currently, there are 14 individuals in-processing the week of May 18, five of which are interns. Currently, the site is only in-processing essential employees, how are we ensuring these individuals are essential to our operation?

​Careful decisions are being made about any in-processing. For example, all in-processing for EN new hires has been postponed for six weeks and intern start dates have been delayed. Senior leadership approved the in-processing of 19 employees the week of May 18. More than just essential employees must be in-processed, specifically, new hire employees including interns who accepted job offers before the governor's order went into effect. They have made significant life changes to join EN for gainful employment and a source of income and cannot be put off indefinitely. Since the governor's order was issued, EN has had a hiring freeze in place and hasn't made new offers to external candidates in part to minimize in-processing and other needs for face-to-face contact. EN will continue to evaluate the prudency of in-processing for both new hires and contractors on a case-by-case basis, with a predisposition towards minimizing the activity until the governor's order is lifted.   

​In the May 11, D-15 the Safety message includes a link to " Face Covering Guidance Document" with contradicting information concerning N95 mask.

​The information is intended to allow the personal use of N95 and K95 masks and Energy Northwest wouldn’t not distribute those masks due to the need to reserve the use to healthcare workers. We acknowledge that individuals may have N95 or K95 within their personal inventory and are allowed to bring and wear them if they choose.

​Is there an adverse effect of wearing face masks for a prolonged period?

​Prolonged use of face masks may cause skin irritation. If the skin surrounding the nose and mouth gets irritated, this will likely lead to more hand to face touching, which directly increases the likelihood of contracting the virus. Face masks should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use.

​WAC 296-800-23020 requires a minimum number of toilets based on the number of employees. I heard we are reducing the number of toilets available in areas as a measure to improve sanitation - Did we receive some relief from compliance with these codes?

​All restrooms are open and will stay open to support the return to work schedule. During the first few weeks of the COVID response, Facilities did temporarily close a few restrooms in the nearly vacant buildings as a measure to improve sanitation and keep janitorial focused on essential activities. Facilities always provided a sufficient number or restroom fixtures per code based on the building occupant load. Facilities also monitored the number of employees in buildings and ensured we had resources to support them. 

Do workers in the plant, who want to be protected and protect others from COVID need to wear a flame retardant mask?

​For inside the plant, workers use of a face covering doesn’t have a requirement to have any type of flame retardant material. If there was a pile of them stored to exceed a total of 100 pounds, then it would require compensatory measures. For outside the plant, there is no requirement for fire retardant material on a manufactured respirator or dust mask or other face covering such as a homemade COVID mask. 

​Are the masks provided to workers in the plant to protect from COVID flame retardant?

​The face masks provided by local sewing groups and EN family members and friends distributed to employees on site are not fire retardant.

I discovered that if I forward  meeting or training invites from work, it automatically puts it on my personal calendar and it sends me a reminder. Is this something that could be communicated to the rest of the company to help alleviate missed meetings?

Thank you for your question about forwarding calendar events to personal email accounts to set reminders for events such as meetings and training. Information Services has several tools to enable employees to receive reminders for training and meetings such as secure remote connectivity to the Energy Northwest network via a virtual machine (VM) https://view.energy-northwest.com/, Microsoft Exchange access via the Outlook Web Access (OWA) https://email2.energy-northwest.com/owa/ or an Outlook Client on your mobile device (Form 26883 required). 

Here are some of the challenges with forwarding calendaring events. Email itself is a best effort vehicle for communication (built into the email standard protocol); there is absolutely no guarantee for email delivery as we are dependent on many autonomous systems outside of EN control. When one forwards an email, you will not get an automatic update when the event is changed or modified. Should you notice an updated event and forward that updated event, you will receive a duplicate event, which can easily lead to user error. We are also expected to be in alignment with Washington state records requirements, which can lead to your personal owned devices and accounts being discoverable for records or legal inquiries.

Again, thank you for your inquiry regarding forwarding of calendaring events to personal email accounts. We understand that working from home can be challenging and keeping up to date on the latest news and meetings is important to all employees.  Please reach out to your supervision about any challenges you might have with keeping up to date with news and events. 

Information Services is working to improve information accessibility and intends to deploy Microsoft Office 365 in the near future.

Thank you to senior leadership team

​I want to say THANK YOU very much to the senior leadership team for all of the video updates to keep us informed of the latest developments, and more importantly giving your videos a personal touch. The personal touch aspect brings this all down to a common level for all of us, and reminds us that we are all working our way through this epidemic together and that we all have similar family matters to deal with.

​I consider having my temperature taken as a condition for entering the site an invasion of my privacy; can I continue to work from home until this requirement is lifted?

​​EN is following the CDC recommendations for workplace safety and protection of the workforce. We are also monitoring the information coming out of Gov. Jay Inslee’s office. If anyone has concerns about returning to their normal work environment, they should discuss with their supervisor and we will review on a case-by-case basis.

Why is Energy Northwest not waiting to return to work on site until COVID-19 related safety measures are fully removed? Can I continue working remotely to avoid temperature taking and social distancing?

EN is following the CDC recommendations for workplace safety and protection of the workforce. We are also monitoring the information coming out of Gov. Jay Inslee’s office. If anyone has concerns about returning to their normal work environment, they should discuss with their supervisor and we will review on a case-by-case basis.

The phases for returning to work make sense and seem well-thought out. However, I care for my high-risk parent (as defined by the CDC) at my home. Are there any considerations for keeping our high-risk parents safe while we return to work?

​We didn’t lay out a specific plan for employees who care for high-risk individuals who are not symptomatic. Employees caring for a high-risk individual should discuss any needed flexible work options with their supervisor. The management team will be working on non-essential employee return to work planning the week of May 11. Additional details and resources will be developed during that time to facilitate discussions with your supervisor.

the person working in the cubicle next to mine is within 6 feet of my desk/chair, but we are separated by the divider wall. Is that acceptable?

​Generally, a divider can help to aid the social distancing between individuals. However if you feel this office arrangement poses undo risk with two individuals who are only separated by the divider and very little additional distance, talk with your supervisor to discuss initiating a cubicle re-arrangement by Facilities.

​Is it safe to use the water fountains here at EN?
​Employees can use the water fountains at EN. Reminder to get water from the flow versus putting your mouth over the outlet. Facilities wipes the surfaces frequently, several times throughout a shift. Employees can help with this effort after their own use to help limit the potential for transmission from frequently touched surfaces by practicing good hygiene.
​​Today I got a call from my supervisor that I had an "emergent" meeting at the MPF. Could not say with who, about what or even what room. What is the point of secrecy with regards to FFD all of a sudden?

​Covid-19 responses have presented unique challenges to meeting licensee NRC regulatory requirements.  Meeting the Fitness for Duty Part 26 requirements are no exception.  The largest number of employees who are telecommuting have never telecommuted before, but the FFD requirements have not changed and were already covered under existing procedure and process.  You should have been told by your supervisor that you were meeting with your supervisor.  If one is on the clock and working from home, then one must be able to meet with their supervisor, at their request. This was a requirement in existing procedure prior to Covid-19 response plans. There could be a huge variance in response times to the MPF (or Columbia during non-Covid-19 telecommuting).  There are a host of reasons an employee must meet with their supervisor. But the individual has not been notified of a FFD test and the required timeline to test after notification has not started.  With individuals driving from home and telecommuting there could also be a host of reasons someone did not meet the regulatory timeline for testing following notification. This method rules out the possibility that a refusal to test would be considered when an individual does not respond to a request from their supervisor to meet as required.  Part 26 also requires that there be no “safe haven” from testing requirements when those holding UAA/UA are under an authorized behavioral observation program.  Nuclear workers holding UAA/UA have unique responsibilities and as stated earlier the Covid-19 response has been unique and challenging as well.  Other than reporting to the MPF to meet with your supervisor while telecommuting nothing in the telecommuting process has changed.  Meeting with your supervisor at the MPF for any reason during the national and global emergency protects those essential workers at Columbia from unnecessary risk. For more on the requirements referenced above please review 10 CFR 26, SWP-FFD-01 Section 4.3.8 (2-telecommuting).

Would EN be interested in encouraging employees at home on "non-productive time" to support a local charity like 2nd Harvest? Specific to 2H, there is an increased need for mid-week support for 2-hour shifts. Social distancing is strictly enforced?

​Based on General Business Procedure, Finance 21, "Charitable Organizations and Community Service," Section 3.3.1 allows Energy Northwest employees to use their working hours to participate in EN's designated charities if they have advance management/supervisor approval. We are limited to three charities, Head Start, March of Dimes and United Way. Since 2nd Harvest and other charities are not currently recognized, we cannot allow employees to use work time to support those charities. If employees want to take time off (PT or LWOP), they are free to do that.

Some employees also have side jobs such as Uber Eats, Door Dash, Grub Hub etc. Is it ethical or legal for them to work their side job (making an income) during the hours they are still "on the clock" and being paid by Energy Northwest?

No. Employees in these circumstances are in the sole service of Energy Northwest during their regularly scheduled shifts when they are charging for, and being paid for, the non-productive work time\hours. EN has issued multiple communications during the Washington Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order that employees in these circumstances are being paid to stay home to be available and fit-for-duty in the event of being called into service. During regularly scheduled shifts employees are subject to all applicable EN policies and procedures, none of which permit use of EN work time to perform another job. Per GBP-LEG-01, Section 2.3.3, all EN employees are prohibited from performing another job without EN written approval. EN has not granted any employees written approval to perform another job under the above circumstances. Any failure to comply with the above could be grounds for employee discipline up to and including termination of employment.

​In today's video message Bob Schuetz said we won't be bringing everyone back to work all at once, but we'll start about May 4.  Will we be doing some sort of phased approach to returning non-essential employees to work?

​​Yes, plans are being developed to return non-essential employees to work after the governor's order ends May 4 at 11:59 p.m. We are monitoring any changes in the governor's orders and will adjust our plans accordingly. Employees will receive additional guidance for returning to work as we get closer to the May 4 at 11:59 p.m. date. Please continue to monitor the COVID-19 website for details.

I know there is no company foreign travel, what about personal travel. Is EN forbidding personal travel and if not, are there restrictions for coming back to work?

​Employees are encouraged to follow the governor's Stay Home, Stay Healthy order and continue to frequently monitor the Centers for Disease and Prevention COVID-19 travel site. Prior to returning to work from personal travel, employees should review the agency's screening guidance. If you plan to travel outside of the U.S., remember to contact Access Authorization at least two weeks in advance.

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Employee Advisory Bulletins

​Company Specific COVID-19 Notifications

  
  
Common symptoms comparison.pdfCommon symptoms comparison
COVID 19 Screening Checklist.pdfCOVID 19 Screening Checklist
COVID-19 Restart Plan_Full Text Version.pdfCOVID-19 Restart Plan_Full Text Version
Disinfecting Guidelines.pdfDisinfecting Guidelines
EN Mask Policy.pdfEN Mask Policy
Essential Employee Authorization Letter.pdfEssential Employee Authorization Letter
GBP-HR-40 Pandemic Plan.pdfGBP-HR-40 Pandemic Plan
Guidance for Screening and Actions for Employees with Risk of COVID-19 Exposure or Symptoms.pdfGuidance for Screening and Actions for Employees with Risk of COVID-19 Exposure or Symptoms
Instructions for making a facemask.pdfInstructions for making a facemask
Managers-Supervisors Contact Tracing Form.pdfManagers-Supervisors Contact Tracing Form
Managers-Supervisors COVID-19 Guide.pdfManagers-Supervisors COVID-19 Guide
Return to Work Criteria.pdfReturn to Work Criteria
Temperature Self-screening Station Instructions.pdfTemperature Self-screening Station Instructions
Travel Guidance.pdfTravel Guidance
  
Establishing Remote Access

If you do not already have remote access, please review the procedure GBP-IS-19 Remote Access.

Please review the Remote Access User Guide (ISDI-MAN-07)

Call Forwarding

1. Login to the Cisco Unified Communications Self Care Portal with your normal user credentials at the following link: http://phonesettings

2. Select 'Call Forwarding'

3. Check the box to 'Forward all calls to:'

4. Enter the desired phone number, starting with '9' + Area Code. ( see following screenshot).

5. Click 'Save'.

CallFwdng.png 

Using Skype

 

Click the following link to view the Skype Instructions.

Add / Update Cell Phone Number in Outlook

How to Add your mobile phone number:

Open your mailbox settings in Outlook on the Web  (Webmail, OWA)

From an Internet Browswer on internal network type: webmail
This will resolve to: https://email2.energy-northwest.com/owa/

In the Upper right hand corner there is a "Gear" icon next to your picture
Left Click on that Icon

Now Left Click on: Options


When the Options Window Opens up Expand>General  and click: My account

Towards the Bottom of the "My account" window you can fill in, add or remove your mobile phone number.

Enter your Mobile phone number in the format XXX-XXX-XXXX

Once you have your phone number entered then press, Save (towards the top of the screen above "My Account" and your picture).
OutlookProfilePhoneNumber.png

Your mobile phone number will be updated in the Outlook address book, It may take up to 24hrs for it to appear for all users. This phone number will not display in "https://TheCurrent"  "Employee Directory".

If you try to modify any other field then it will not let you save this form. Only modify the "Mobile phone" field.

By adding your Mobile phone number in the directory you are permitting ALL energy northwest Employees and Contractors (with LAN accounts) to see your Mobile phone number. This information could be shared by individual users if they forward your complete contact information to an outside entity.

Please ensure you understand the impacts of allowing anyone in the organization access to your personal or work mobile phone number. Energy Northwest assumes no responsibility for the costs 
incurred with calls made to your mobile device from Energy Northwest employees or contractors.

Audio Conferencing

Click the link to view the voice conference instructions.

Signatures

Because of the increased number of employees working remotely, the following methods are allowable in place of physical signatures.

  • Electronic signature via APW for those items using APW workflows
  • DocuSign - for help on this contact the ECRM Team at ECRMSupport@energy-northwest.com
  • Signature per telecom - just include words per telecom and date and time of approval, along with printed name and signature of individual signing with the words for and who they are signing for (e.g. Linda Mar for Jon Cohen).
  • Email in lieu of signature - an email approval may be used in place of signature as long as the email then gets attached to the document​
Home Office Ergonomics

​Optimizing the ergonomics of your home office can boost productivity and reduce the risk of injury.

Click here for a guide on setting up an ergonomic home office.

General WFH and Skype Tips and Tricks

​This is a comprehensive list based on calls the IS Solution Center has been receiving. Not all situations apply to all users. There are many different setups and configurations while working remotely. Many users encounter issues are localized to them due to the personal equipment and reliability connection problems. Users that have newer equipment and stable hard wired high speed (100mb plus) internet connections usually do not have issues with Audio or video when using the remote sessions. 

Different Scenarios:

  • Home PC connecting to VMware Horizon remote session.
  • Home Laptop connecting to VMware Horizon remote session.
  • Home Mac or iPad connecting to VMware Horizon remote session.
  • EN laptop at home connecting to VMware Horizon remote session.
  • Home Device connecting to VMware Horizon remote session, then remoting to EN laptop/pc onsite.

Refer to the Knowledge base articles or help files for comprehensive detailed responses and instructions. This is just a list of things to consider. 

  • Slow internet- We have talked to several users with less than 2mb connection shared with their family and spouses also working remotely.
    • Test your connection at https://www.speedtest.net/ to see what kind of throughput your ISP (internet service provider) is providing. Also check out the Ping (ms) section which indicates an important latency metric that can impact the quality of voice calls and remote session experience. An ideal number is below 40. If this number is above 60-80 your experience will be degraded.
    • Users should look at alternative ISP or upgrading bandwidth with their current ISP during this time.
  • Unstable internet or Wi-Fi issues in your house.
    • Try unplugging your ISPs equipment (cable modem, wireless antenna) and your personal router for 30 seconds, then power it back on again. Wait a few minutes before attempting to connect again.
    • Users should consider hard wiring there pc into their router
    • Consider upgrading/replacing your Wi-Fi router
    • Consider disconnecting wireless devices not in use or not essential
  • Slow old personal computers – or infected computers
    • If you're still running Windows 7, your personal device is a security risk (GBP-IS-06) and should not be used to access EN resources.
    • It may be time to consider a new computer at home
    • Request a Loaner Laptop from ISSC
  • Using the wrong tools –
    •  VMware Web (HTML) instead of installing the full client
      • This is handy when out and about but the full client should be used.
      • Skype audio and video will not work through the Web version of Horizon View.
    • DON'T install the universal web platform (Windows Store) version UWP of Horizon.
    • DO upgrade to the latest version available at https://www.vmware.com/go/viewclients#win64
    • You may need to connect to your VM using PCoIP vs Blast. Right click on the Windows 10 Standard Desktop option to switch types.
  • Using outdated VMware clients- not updated on personal machines.
  • Not reading the tips and tricks and procedures. (Available internally only).
  • Running multiple instances of Skype
    • Don't run skype in multiple locations such as Cell Phone, VM and Remoted desktop onsite.
    • Run skype in 1 location, in your VM.
    • Don't use skype on a remote desktop after you already remoted into a VM. Audio and video will not work.
  • Skype Delegate issues:
    • The delegate and Delegator must be on the same version of skype.
    • They must be delegate with at minimum editor rights on the calendar.
    • Both the delegate and delegator must have Skype Open. Only 1 instance of skype each.
  • NOTE: Skype will run on your EN laptop on home wi-fi with limited functionality (no calendar), however you will see prompts for password as it tries to connect to exchange calendar, this can be ignored. And ensure you do not also have skype running in your VM if you are using it locally at home on your EN laptop.
  • If you are not able to upgrade your equipment or your internet speeds there are some general things you can do to keep our session running smoothly. This does not apply to users with reliable high speed internet and newer computers.
    • Limit video sharing in the VM session (video camera and playing videos)
    • Reduce the size of the video or presentation so it's not in Full screen mode.
    • Close internet tabs not in use
    • Close applications not in use (both on your home PC and the VM)
    • During Skype meetings or presentations limit what apps you have open in your VM
    • Don't use High resolution or multiple (TVs, large monitors) displays, the more HD the display the more bandwidth required
  • Joining Skype from a NON EN Computer
    • Joining a meeting from a home (without a VM) or from non EN computer should be joined through the "Try Skype Web App" link in a meeting invite, this method does not require the client to be installed on the computer you are using. (if you have a VM, join in the VM)
    • Microsoft Skype for Business - Getting Started
  • If you have a USB headset use it or get one, this will provide the best audio experience and limit "feedback or echo"
    • If you are using your Home PC/laptop to connect to your VM you can connect your Bluetooth headset (same one you use with your cellphone, airpods, bose, etc.) to your home PC and it will work in your VM session.
  • Some settings will not Stick each time you log in
    • You are using a pool of 600 computers, each day or each time you log in you might be put on a different computer.
    • Plug-ins you install for your browser, applications you install from the software catalog may not show up next time because you are not on the same Virtual PC.
  • Sign off, don't just X out, but click "Start Button" then click the "User Icon" and choose "Sign Out" on your virtual machine (VM) when you are away, even if it's just for lunch.
  • Limit how long you share your video camera feed during meetings. Saves bandwidth and helps your VM perform better.
  • Browse the internet from your local or home computer not in your VM (especially for personal related browsing).
  • If all you need is access to email, then use Webmail (link available on the employee portal @ http://www.energy-northwest.com/Pages/Employee-Portal.aspx). This frees up VMs for users that need access to other network resources and applications.
  • If you have an EN laptop at home and only need on for a Skype meeting, then use Skype directly on that laptop without logging into a VM.
  • Use computer based audio for conversations with a headset in lieu of tying up a phone line at work.
  • Review telecommuting tips on the COVID-19 Information SharePoint site.
  • Review Protecting EN's corporate resources (Available internally only).
Request for Computing Hardware to Support Work from Home

​​In consideration of the temporary ability for non-bargaining employees to engage in Energy Northwest approved work from home (WFH) capacity during the pandemic, non-bargaining employees may remove the certain computer hardware from their existing work stations to their homes to support extended WFH durations.

In order to support this, download and complete the form for each individual non-bargaining employee. We need to document what equipment is being taken home and ensure that the employee and the department manager agree to ensure the equipment is returned when this phase of work from home is ended.

Completed forms need to be forwarded to the IS Solution Center to provide the ability to perform asset tracking.

Questions can be forwarded to IS Solution Center at 509.377.8400 or off-hours, the IS duty officer 509.372.5656.

  
Training
  • ​Suspend Management Certification Class and Boiling Water Reactor Introduction, pick up where we are right now when temporary actions are ended.
  • Reschedule second quarter manager-supervisor training.
  • Reschedule the remaining first quarter manager-supervisor sessions.
Leadership Meetings
  • ​Suspend all leadership alignment meetings (alternate Friday’s). We will look for an approximately weekly or bi-weekly LAM via teleconference to help ensure leadership alignment due to frequently changing conditions. Day/time TBD.
  • Cancelled manager-supervisor meetings.
  • Suspend monthly department meetings and replace with a video (plant general manager action) and read and sign for the safety meeting (Performance Improvement manager action).
Core Business Meetings
Meeting organizers are in the process of updating meeting invites to include teleconferencing.
 

​No Change
Conduct the following core business meetings as normally scheduled for all on-site workers.

  • Daily-15 (include review of COVID-19 webpage once activated)
  • Accredited Programs & Security Continuing Training
  • ILC activities

Quorum Members Only
Conduct the following core business meetings as currently scheduled for quorum members only.  Others who attend will do so via teleconference.  Practice social distancing during these meetings to maximum extent practical. 

  • 0615 Production Meeting
  • Operational Focus Meeting & CR Management Review Team
  • 1530 Management Accountability Meeting
  • 1600 PGM End of Day Alignment Meeting
  • T-2 Work-Week Readiness Meeting
  • T-20
  • T-3/7
  • Sub-Plant Health Committee
  • Project Review Committee
  • PHC

Teleconference Only
Conduct the following core business meetings as normally scheduled by teleconference.

  • Hiring Panel [owner arrange private line]
  • Discipline Review Board [owner arrange private line]
  • Condition Report Review group (no change from current)
  • Work Request Screening

Canceled
The following core business meetings until further notice. Should there be an urgent need to conduct these meetings the meeting owner will arrange a teleconference via email.  Normal preparation and read-ahead material should be prepared and distributed.

  • Training Review Board
  • MRMs
  • Steering Committee Meetings
  • All-Employee Meetings
  • Any other meeting not specifically mentioned

 

Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family Medical Leave

Click here to view changes to sick leave and family medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

Procedure Issuance

​Records and Information Management (RIM) is currently available to support the plant and provide immediate assistance. Personnel stand ready to assist, please contact Linda Mar at 509-531-1934, and she will help to find the best solution to meet your needs.  As such, RIM is implementing an alternate process that allows for RIM Services to get afterhours procedures issued using a modified method, including updating Asset Suite/SharePoint.

SWP-PRO-02, Section 5.9, provides direction for issuance of a procedure revision when RIM Services is not available on-site.  This process includes the individual/organization issuing the document to notify RIM via email and also ensure documents are filed in the Main Control Room as per procedure.  Currently, RIM has an agreement with Operations to provide the procedures to the PSRO and ensure they get filed in the appropriate plant locations.

In addition, as part of this alternate method, the Technical Support Center full volume procedure sets located in the rolling shelves in the room where the Engineers work in the TSC (not the position specific books) are being downgraded to a Level 2 filing location and all document revisions will require verification prior to their use.  Revisions will be uploaded to Asset/Suite/SharePoint on the next business day by RIM Services.  This will ensure the document revision is available in Asset Suite and can be validated in DataGlance.

RIM Services will maintain a list of any procedures issued in this manner and file them upon the return to site (normal operations) and any other Non-Level 1 location.  Also, an excel file has been posted here:  Afterhours Issued Procedures during Pandemic Response on the showing what documents have been updated.

  
  
2019-nCoV-factsheet - sick.pdf2019-nCoV-factsheet - sick
2019-nCoV-factsheet.pdf2019-nCoV-factsheet
CDC workplace-school-home-business guidance.pdfCDC workplace-school-home-business guidance
Coronavirus Myth Busters.pdfCoronavirus Myth Busters
COVID-19 Hazard Alert - WA DOSH FY20-444.pdfCOVID-19 Hazard Alert - WA DOSH FY20-444
N95 Dust Mask Requirements.pdfN95 Dust Mask Requirements