COVID-19 Risks Raise Concerns at Shell Cracker Construction Site

by Diana Gooding on March 18, 2020

Shell plant promotes fracking, air pollution, plastic pollution & virus risks

Workers at Shell Cracker Plant say Construction Site is Unsanitary Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

From an Article by Andy Sheehan, KDKA Local CBS News 2, March 16, 2020

BEAVER COUNTY (KDKA) — Over the last few days, KDKA has received questions about the Shell Cracker plant that is under construction in the Ohio River valley in Beaver County, PA.

The coronavirus has not slowed construction at the multibillion-dollar cracker plant as thousands of workers continue to speed the project towards completion. But those same workers say the site is riddled with unsanitary conditions and standard social distancing protocols are being ignored.

In more than a dozen emails to KDKA, workers raised concerns about being transported to the site on crowded buses and called daily to mandatory mass meetings.

Further, the workers say the portajohns are unsanitary and frequently run out of hand sanitizer, making the entire site what one person calls a huge Petri dish for the virus.

But it now appears that Shell is listening. Responding to KDKA’s inquiries, the oil giant said on Monday that changes are in the works to ensure the health and safety of those who work here.

“We are currently obtaining more busses and staggering shifts and lunch times to improve social distancing amongst workers. We are also curtailing large meetings on site,” the company said it a statement.

The statement goes on to talk of deeper, more frequent cleaning measures and increased placement of hand sanitizer on site. Shell says it is responding to a fluid situation but emphasized that no one has tested positive for the virus. Shell also says it is committed to the health and safety of its workers.

Shell made no mention of shutting the site down, so construction will continue.

Shell full statement can be found below:

“Our goal is to always keep our workers safe from health and safety risks, including that of COVID-19.

“There have been no presumptive or confirmed COVID-19 cases among our site’s workers. Even so, Shell, Bechtel and Union Leadership continue to meet daily to discuss and plan around this very fluid situation.

“Health care professionals from the Shell and Bechtel are monitoring the situation closely and providing ongoing guidance to site leaders about how to address the challenges associated with COVID-19.

“We are working to accommodate workers who may be impacted by school closures or other circumstances.

“We are currently obtaining more busses and staggering shifts and lunch times to improve Social Distancing amongst workers. We are also curtailing large meetings on site.

“We have initiated regular deep cleaning including our busses, common areas and trailers. We are also cleaning lunch areas between lunch times and have increased the placement of hand-sanitizer dispensers across the site.

We are reviewing new guidance from OSHA and will incorporate relevant new elements from that guidance into our response, as appropriate.”


See also: Workers, residents: ‘Shell should halt cracker plant construction’ — Chrissy Suttles, Ellwood City Ledger, March 17, 2020

Some Shell Chemicals workers and residents are demanding the company temporarily cease cracker plant construction as Beaver County reels from its first confirmed COVID-19 case.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

AIChE Pittsburgh Section March 18, 2020 at 9:12 am



Wednesday March 18, 2020, 6:00 to 9:00 pm
meeting at the Pitt Student Union Building …


Why did Shell Chemicals Build an

Ethane Cracker Plant in the Pittsburgh Region?

… plus our Annual Professional Promise Awards

This meeting has been cancelled upon the recommendation of the Univ of Pittsburgh.

All registration fees will be refunded.

Professional Promise Awards will be mailed to the Faculty Advisors of our 5 local ChE schools, Pitt, CMU, WVU, Slippery Rock Univ. and
Youngstown State


Maury Johnson March 18, 2020 at 10:37 am


FROM: Maury Johnson, Greenville WV, March 17, 2020

As you know I am on a campaign to halt popeline crews from being allowed into our rural areas and putting us at risk and using our fragile health services. Last week I emailed a request to every US Senator, I also put that request on numerous FERC Dockets as well as email the KXL “Docket”.

I was intending to try and email all US Congress Representatives, but they only take emails from people in their zip code area. That is where I need your help. Below is the request I made, please contact your representative with this or a similiar request.

Also contact your County Heath Director and/or You County Supervisiors and ask them to keep these people out of our rural communities during the National Emergency.

Please ask the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC):

As the United States of America is facing an unprecedented public health threat, FERC must halt all large scale construction on projects that are not critically important.

These pipeline construction projects bring in transient workers into very vulnerable rural communities and place not only workers, but those communities at great risk.


Maury Johnson 3227 Ellison Rdg
Greenville WV 24945


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