International health challenges
In common with other global businesses, health issues continue to represent a challenge to Cairn. In March 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) terminated the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) regarding the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa, in accordance with the International Health Regulations. Although it did not impact Senegal directly, the risk of business interruption due to travel restrictions has been greatly reduced.
In 2016, we saw the outbreak of the Zika virus threaten parts of South America and the Far East. However, our operational areas were not indicated as transmission locations. Senegal is regarded as a ‘past transmission’ zone without incidence since 2007 and consequently considered low risk.
During our early planning process for work in Senegal, we continued to address health issues in West Africa for our people and this focus continued in 2016. The primary concern was, and remains, effective understanding and management of potential exposure to malaria.
Collaboration with the well activities delegate for the phase two programme was completed and we worked with our phase three contractors to assist in their preparedness. The online awareness malaria briefing session implemented in 2014 remains an integral part of pre-travel to Senegal, and Cairn continues to monitor the situation and manage our operations accordingly. We upgraded our online briefing materials in 2016, including our continued emphasis on endemic diseases such as the Zika virus, and also improved traveller briefing packs in other related respects.
Cairn constantly assesses threats to the health of personnel travelling on business to new locations and, where there is a risk from endemic diseases, provides appropriate advice and the support of healthcare insurance and clinical support.
Staff wellness has continued to play an important role throughout 2016.
One of our largest focus areas was the undertaking of ergonomic assessments for all our staff and contractors in our Edinburgh office, following changes to the office layout. While the majority of staff had the correct ergonomic set-up, as a result of the assessments, we were able to ascertain where modifications were needed and make seating and desk adjustments where necessary.
Our annual optional health assessments remained available for all members of staff during 2016. This benefit has seen a high degree of usage since its initial roll-out in 2015 and has proved to be a well received employee benefit.
We also undertook several health and well-being awareness initiatives over the course of the year. These included ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions on Healthy Eating, How to Manage Mental Health, Men’s Health and Basic First Aid.
In addition, several staff participated in a sponsored cycle ride from Glasgow to Edinburgh, a ‘Walk Around Scotland’ competition and several company-arranged walks in support of our Healthy Heart theme over the summer months.
Other themes this year included Mental Health Awareness and Travel Health.
- We will revisit our pandemic and infective disease planning
- We will update our Senegal health plans