Health & Safety
Health and safety is at the core of everything we do. It's more than just managing risks—we make safety a front-of-mind issue for everyone, building a strong safety culture for employees, partners, and the communities we serve. We believe this is imperative to mitigate risks and reduce incidents.
Read our full Health & Safety Policy.
Keeping our employees and communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic
From the early onset of the outbreak, our entrenched corporate culture guided us to take proactive steps to ensure the health and well-being of our employees, clients, suppliers, and communities. Early in our response, we practiced both mitigation (e.g., monitoring symptoms in all offices, restricting travel, physical distancing in offices, non-contact rules) and segregation methods (e.g., self-isolation of symptomatic individuals and recent travelers, rotation of project teams) to keep employees safe and productive on their assignments.
As we moved to a mobile workforce to protect our employees and their families, we’ve continued to keep their health and well-being as our priority.
From Hatch's Chief Medical Officer: Questions to common questions about COVID-19
Dr. Tarek Sardana, Hatch's chief medical officer, has a wealth of experience supporting medical operations and organizations in austere and hostile environments. His entire career has been focused on delivering health care to organizations such as the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in various locations as the Arctic, Haiti, Rwanda, Syria etc. As well, he has always functioned as a “front-line” health care worker in various Emergency Rooms and clinic settings throughout Canada.
Should I clean my groceries?
Of the one million COVID-19 cases, not one has been attributed to food contamination. We encourage the normal cleaning of fruits and vegetables. The bigger risk is actually shopping for groceries and social distancing through this process is much more important. However, if you maintain social distancing and wash your hands thoroughly and often, the risk is minimal. There is also no need to “quarantine” your groceries when you get home for three days.
Is it safe to go jogging?
It is safe to go jogging if you are alone. Getting in 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to brisk activity can help your immune system keep viruses at bay. Don’t remain in anyone’s wake if possible and stay at least 2m (6ft) away from anyone you may pass (or in my case, being passed by).
What is the risk to pregnant women?
Currently, only small studies reporting on a limited number of cases are available to answer many questions, including this one. Most of the women in these case reports had COVID-19 during the third trimester of pregnancy. A study of nine pregnant women who were infected with COVID-19 and had symptoms showed that none of their babies was affected by the virus. The virus was not present in amniotic fluid, the babies’ throats, or in breast milk. Another study of 38 women infected with COVID-19 found that none of the newborns tested positive for the disease.
What are the latest guidelines on the use of masks?
There exists a lot of confusion with respect to the use of masks. The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) released a useful checklist.
How do I clean and disinfect at home?
The CDC has made the following recommendations:
General Recommendations for Cleaning and Disinfection of Households with People Isolated in Home Care (e.g. Suspected/Confirmed to have COVID-19)
- Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, phones, tablets, touch screens, remote controls, keyboards, handles, desks, toilets, sinks) •
- In the bedroom/bathroom dedicated for an ill person: consider reducing cleaning frequency to as needed (e.g., soiled items and surfaces) to avoid unnecessary contact with the ill person.
- As much as possible, an ill person should stay in a specific room and away from other people in their home.
- The caregiver can provide personal cleaning supplies for an ill person’s room and bathroom, unless the room is occupied by child or another person for whom such supplies would not be appropriate. These supplies include tissues, paper towels, cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants.
- If a separate bathroom is not available, the bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected after each use by an ill person. If this is not possible, the caregiver should wait as long as practical after use by an ill person to clean and disinfect the high-touch surfaces.
- Household members should follow home care guidance when interacting with persons with suspected/confirmed COVID-19 and their isolation rooms/bathrooms.
How to clean and disinfect:
Hard (non-porous) surfaces
- Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning. If reusable gloves are used, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfection products used. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
- If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
- For disinfection, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products for (concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).
- Additionally, diluted household bleach solutions (at least 1000ppm sodium hypochlorite) can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application, ensuring a contact time of at least 1 minute, and allowing proper ventilation during and after application. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
- Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
- 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
Soft (Porous) Surfaces
- For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:
- Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely.
- For electronics such as cell phones, tablets, touch screens, remote controls, and keyboards, remove visible contamination if present.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.
- Consider use of wipeable covers for electronics.
- If no manufacturer guidance is available, consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens. Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids.
Linens, clothing, and other items that go in the laundry
- Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from an ill person and then discard after each use. If using reusable gloves, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other household purposes. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
- If no gloves are used when handling dirty laundry, be sure to wash hands afterwards.
- If possible, do not shake dirty laundry. This will minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
- Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
- Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces. If possible, consider placing a bag liner that is either disposable (can be thrown away) or can be laundered.
Hand hygiene and other preventive measures
- Household members should clean hands often, including immediately after removing gloves and after contact with an ill person, by washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol may be used.
- Household members should follow normal preventive actions while at work and home including recommended hand hygiene and avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Additional key times to clean hands include:
- After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing and after using the restroom
- Before eating or preparing food
- Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g., a child)
How to stay safe during COVID-19 pandemic: A Q&A with Dr. Robert Quigley
To arm our employees with the best information on how they could stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hatch hosted a question and answer session with Dr. Robert Quigley, Senior Vice President and Regional Medical Director, Americas Region for International SOS (ISOS). ISOS acts as medical advisor to Hatch.
How does ISOS obtain, verify and prioritize its information?
What are the modes of transmission and what can we all do to help prevent transmission?
Specifically, can you address asymptomatic cases and asymptomatic transmission?
What have you learned so far about whether or not we can get re-infected?
What should we know about future vaccines?
Can you comment on best practice measures that organizations are effectively implementing?
What can we do to prepare our homes in case a family member contracts COVID-19?
What should we expect from a future wave of COVID-19 after the initial outbreak?
How safe would it be to gather in small groups of two to four people, if everyone has been practicing cleanliness and distancing measures?
Why is the virus affecting older people disproportionately and is so damaging to their health?
No health without mental health
The COVID-19 pandemic, and the efforts to address it, have caused great strain on people's mental health and well-being. It's important that in this difficult time, we remain connected as a community, that we look after ourselves and one another, and that we reach out if we need help. Below are some tips for keeping mentally well while staying at home during the time of social distancing.