Siberian Coal Energy Company (SUEK) tackled the COVID-19 pandemic with full understanding of whom and how to support.
Health comes first
On the last Sunday of August, when Russia celebrates Miner's Day, much will be said about coal mining, new achievements and new technologies. However, as often happens, the work that coal miners are doing to maintain the social well-being, health and stability in their regions will remain behind the scenes.
SUEK knows firsthand the importance of caring for people, because the company regards its staff as a key asset, and it employs more than 70 thousand people. Given the challenging situation in early spring, the company, without much hesitation, started programmes to support the regions where it operates and its employees and their families work and live. Thanks to the timely actions of mining enterprises in the fight against COVID-19, they maintained a high level of social stability.
The pandemic did not become an obstacle for the operation of continuous-cycle enterprises. All of them, according to the Russian President's Decree, continue to operate in a regular mode and observe all safety rules.
"For us, the health of our employees, residents of the regions and their trust are vital," said Sergey Grigoriev, Deputy CEO of SUEK. "Therefore, we identified the most pressing issues and strived to quickly find the best solutions to them, in close cooperation with the Krasnoyarsk regional government. We will continue this work as long as necessary," he added.
The health of employees has always been a priority for the company, a recognised leader in corporate social responsibility. For a number of years, SUEK has been building a system of medical support for the miners, setting up medical services and health posts at production facilities. Now all these activities have proven to be well-timed.
Already in March, the coal giant introduced large-scale anti-epidemic measures. They included an emergency response centre to monitor the epidemiological situation at enterprises, take all the necessary sanitary and medical measures in a timely manner, prevent the spread of COVID-19 and minimise risks.
Medical workers, being at the forefront of the fight, had the hardest time and were really exhausted. The company provided doctors and nurses with not only hot meals and food sets, but also plasma TVs, shower booths, hair dryers, radiators, coolers and disposable tableware, racks and plastic containers. Hospitals also received medical and personal protective equipment, disinfectants, saline solutions and were paid for gasoline for ambulances.
Volunteers of all trades
During the pandemic, SUEK also developed disinfecting equipment. Employees of its four branches promptly set up the production of ultraviolet bactericidal irradiators-recirculators. The devices were supplied to their own companies, alongside social and medical institutions. Krasnoyarsk plants started producing quartz irradiators.
In addition, anti-epidemic measures at SUEK included volunteer projects as part of the All-Russia campaign called 'We Together'. "All volunteers were trained, registered on the campaign's website and received full sets of personal protective equipment," Sergey Grigoriev said. "Volunteers delivered food, fruits (to build up immunity) and protective equipment to veterans, pensioners, large and disadvantageous families and everyone who needed help."
Children from large families did not get bored during the quarantine, as volunteers brought them creative sets and educational games. The company granted personal computers to those children who lacked them to quickly switch to distance learning.
SUEK also developed online volunteering. High school students helped kids with their homework, recorded audio stories for preschoolers, published them on social networks and passed to orphanages in their cities.
Besides, the company helped municipal authorities with disinfection of large public spaces during the fight against COVID-19. In all regions where SUEK operates, including Krasnoyarsk, Kemerovo and Khabarovsk regions, Primorye and Zabaikalye, Republics of Buryatia and Khakassia, the company assisted in regularly disinfecting bus stops, buildings, public transport, bus stations, playgrounds and other facilities.
The company's involvement in the public life of the regions made it possible to organise all this work and implement numerous anti-epidemic measures. "SUEK has always considered itself a part of local communities," said SUEK's CEO Stepan Solzhenitsyn. "We actively participate in the life of our regions. The key principle of our social activity is the involvement of stakeholders in the company's social projects, dialogue and strategic partnership with them. This seems to be the secret of our efficiency."
SUEK believes that partnership and informative dialogue contribute to more accurate adjustment of social programmes to regional needs and raise the efficiency of social investment, which creates a synergistic effect from joint work of businesses, authorities and the public for the benefit of local communities.
All anti-epidemic programmes run by the company, just as all other social programmes at SUEK, were delivered in close contact with their target audiences, i.e. local residents, employees and authorities. In this way, the company was able to select really important and demanded projects, and to enhance their effectiveness by involving all stakeholders.