Air Products said it continues to review and evaluate its entire robust supply chain, redundant back-up plans, and network of facilities around the world to meet customer demands.
In a statement, the US industrial gas giant said, “This is a dynamic and fluid situation, which makes it difficult to predict its future impact or exact duration.”
“What factors we are able to control we are doing, and that is to continually review and update our crisis and contingency plans, which may vary by product and plant location.”
“As a result, we have now escalated our own company emergency response plans. This unlocks the next layer of protective measures for all of our offices and production sites.”
“This elevated level had already been working well at many of our designated critical operational sites, where they were implemented earlier to ensure business continuity.”
Proactive measures taken around the world
Air Products has and continues to take several protective measures to ensure the safety of its people and customers, while also maintaining business continuity.
Some of these actions taken at locations around the globe include:
- Having its employees work from home if they are in a role that allows them to do so. All the company’s offices and facilities remain open and operational, with only limited employees there who are business continuity critical and unable to do their job remotely.
- Restricting access to site visitors and holding virtual meetings instead of in-person meetings whenever possible.
- For authorised people who must enter one of Air Products’ sites, additional health protocols have been applied including:
- Temperature checks at certain locations for employees, contractors, tenants and visitors.
- Refined work procedures to allow social distancing for specific personnel and their operations.
- Implementing carefully considered personal protective equipment at certain locations.
- Reinforcing good hygiene practices amongst Air Products’ workforce, and in parallel its sites have implemented increased cleaning and disinfecting frequency.
- Restricting business travel per the latest guidelines from countries around the world. Early on, Air Products made its own decision to restrict employee travel to “business-critical” travel only.
In locations around the world, some governments and states are enacting additional restrictions on the operations of businesses and movement of residents.
Air Products said it has not been impacted by these restrictions to date, as its operations are designated as either “critical infrastructure” by the US Department of Homeland Security or an “essential” or “life-sustaining” business by states and other governments.
Accordingly, Air Products said its manufacturing and delivery of products are able to continue; across the US, this has included states where shelter-in-place and similar orders are in effect.
“We continue to evaluate each order but anticipate continued recognition of the importance of our products to national infrastructure security so that we can maintain operations,” a statement from Air Product said.
Reported product shortages
In Europe there have been media reports of shortages of medical oxygen.
“Safety is something we take very seriously, along with ensuring customers do not experience interruptions to their gas supply – especially in areas of such importance as the supply of oxygen for medical care,” the Air Products statement continued.
“Specifically, Air Products’ merchant gases business in the UK, which includes the production and delivery of medical oxygen, is operating at normal levels at this time.”
“We are monitoring the situation, working with the UK Government, and are in regular communication with our medical customers.”
Supporting relief efforts
The Air Products Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant, approximately 700,000 renminbi, to assist coronavirus recovery efforts in China, on top of an earlier donation of 500,000 renminbi, approximately $70,000, made by Air Products China to the Red Cross in China to support the most urgent medical care needs.
Air Products Korea has donated KRW 100m (equivalent to $84,000) to the non-profit organisation Community Chest of Korea to help fight against the outbreak.
Air Products said it has also continued to deliver needed medical liquid oxygen and helium to hospitals.
Where appropriate, the company is working with government authorities to share our knowledge and expertise in the supply chain of medical gases.