Responding to infectious diseases

Using the latest information on outbreaks around the world, we aim to keep employees informed about diseases that could pose a serious risk to their health

Diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, ebola and malaria can pose a significant threat to our employees, contractors, and operations around the world.

BP has a series of procedures to follow in the event of an infectious disease outbreak of pandemic proportions, and we have a global agreement with an international healthcare company to provide medical assistance to all employees travelling on business and to employees working outside of their home countries. Additionally, we notify our business travellers to areas with an outbreak of an infectious disease about the risk and precautionary measures they can take to protect themselves.

We also work to raise our employees’ awareness about the spread of infectious diseases wherever they are located. On our intranet, we provide health advice and include links to information from bodies such as the World Health Organization and the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We regularly monitor alerts from such organizations and communicate these to employees in various languages. For example, we issued advisory notes to our staff on a new strain of bird flu found in China, including information regarding the risk of infection and recommendations about measures one should take to minimize risks.

In some areas where people are at particular risk of catching infectious diseases, such as the Oiapoque region of Brazil, new employees are given a health briefing that contains recommendations on immunization and details of an emergency hotline. The hotline provides advice to anyone who has concerns that they may have contracted a disease or are in danger of doing so.

Dengue

In early 2014, we sent a health bulletin on dengue fever to all our businesses in South America, where a severe outbreak of the disease had taken hold. We provide a detailed health notice to all business travellers whenever they ask for permission to travel to businesses in South America. This includes information on the cause of dengue symptoms and prevention methods.

Chikungunya

In Brazil we issued advice to workers in our biofuels business on actions they can take to protect themselves and their families from the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus, which has similar symptoms to dengue such as fever, headache, and severe joint and muscle pains. We have also supported wider initiatives in the country, such as mosquito control programmes that help to combat the chikungunya virus – as well as dengue fever – at a local level. We run regular awareness sessions on the control of mosquitoes at all our biofuels sugar mills in Brazil.

Ebola

“The risk of ebola on our worksites is low, but the impact of even a single case occurring in such environments could be significant, impacting employee health and business continuity.”
Richard Heron, chief medical officer, BP
In response to the rapid spread of the ebola virus in western Africa during 2014, we added an online ebola awareness presentation for staff and their families visiting the region. It outlined how to identify the disease, how best to avoid catching it, and what to do if someone contracts it.

We also issued travel warnings and updates to staff instructing them to delay all non-essential business travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where ebola has been particularly prevalent, and providing details of our precautionary screening process, which is designed to prevent the virus reaching a remote or offshore location.

We have supported a number of initiatives in partnership with others, including hosting a working group meeting in September 2014 of the Association of Companies of Exploration and Production in Angola to discuss how to help manage the risks posed by ebola in Angola.

Malaria

In 2014, we conducted a review of our malaria risk management programme in Angola which identified ways we could improve the overall malaria risk management for employees and their families. For example, following the review we have made emergency treatment packs available to all non-immune employees and dependents when travelling outside of Luanda. Containing medical supplies, the packs can provide treatment to those with suspected malaria until they can access proper medical care. We have also supported the management of malaria in communities near our operating sites in Indonesia.

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