Mass antigen testing and voluntary health insurance policies for all Calucem employees

PN: Dr. Dominik Gjoni, the head of the Terra Medica clinic, points out that the decision of Calucem management to conduct mass testing of their employees is brought at the right moment. This shows a high level of company responsibility towards its’ employees, protection of business processes and also the responsibility to the community.

PULA – “Health comes first” is a message we could hear every day over the last year and since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all been taking far more seriously than it might have been in the past. This motto was not taken lightly at the Calucem cement plant in Pula, neither in the past nor today. Caring for the health and safety of all employees in this company has been at the very top of the list of priorities for many years. For instance, the company prolonged an additional insurance policy with Uniqa Insurance for all its employees. Via the insurance a wide range of health services are available to all employees at all times, without referrals and waiting lists. This type of activity has already become a new tradition, since the company has been purchasing this additional policy for its employees for nine consecutive years.

High level of responsibility

Calucem cherishes a corporate culture that promotes health through all aspects of their employees’ lives. Following the European experience and recommendations of the respective institutes, all employees during January and February 2021 were given continuous mass testing for SARS-CoV-2 virus, with the aim of rapid detection of asymptomatic infected individuals at the right time. This screening project was carried out in close cooperation with Terra Medica.

Dr. Dominik Gjoni points out that Calucem management recognized the importance of rapid screening in time, which shows a high level of responsibility towards employees and business processes, but also to the entire community.

“By taking detailed medical histories of thousands of citizens who were tested, our doctors have often identified a large group of employees as a potential source of infection.

This coincides with the assumptions of the renowned German Robert Koch Institute, which has just indicated work as one of the most significant sources of the spread of the infection in the second wave of the pandemic. Despite the favorable epidemiological picture, the risk is still present, especially taking into account the recent occurrence of significantly more virulent strains in Croatia,” said Dr. Gjoni.

The plant director, Mihajlo Mirković said that the company decided on mass testing primarily because of the concern for the health of employees, but also to preserve the continuity of the business process.

“Given the fact that the situation in December 2020 was still serious, following the European and world experiences and the recommendations of the profession, we decided on a program like this, that includes continuous antigenic testing of all our employees, with the goal to respond in time.”, said Mirković.

Serious approach

Such screening projects in the work environment are not new in the developed world. “The New York Times” revealed that a consortium of Canada’s largest companies, made up of more than 350,000 employees nationwide, has launched a program of regular mass antigen testing aimed at reopening the country’s economy. The British government is also encouraging employers to sign up to rapid testing programs that identify cases of coronavirus in asymptomatic employees. Asymptomatic transmitters of the infection, according to numerous studies, make up a quarter to a third of the total number of infected.

Screening projects in companies, such as those carried out by Calucem are also recommended by the Croatian Institute of Public Health, which proposed mass antigen testing in companies after information that the work environment is a frequent source of infection Varaždin County was one of the Croatian counties massively affected by the pandemic and showcases that companies are full of affected employees which ultimately brings risks to normal business operations. Therefore, Calucem believes that the measures taken to preserve the health and safety of employees have not only had an extremely positive effect on the mental and physical condition of employees but also have a very stimulating effect on a good working atmosphere and productivity. The fact that the first appearance and spread of the COVID-19 virus in China in December 2019 was taken seriously at the Pula cement plant is shown by the fact that the plant immediately started with precise planning of business and protection of employees’ health, with the activation of the “Business Plan in Crisis Situation”, and the formation of the “Crisis Business Team”. The aim of these actions was to take all measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection, as well as to implement strategic decisions to maintain and recover the business in the event of a “worst-case scenario”. This means maintaining continuous cement production, with employee health in the first place. Also, in order to protect employees from infection, Calucem has taken a number of measures and implemented guidelines for employee behavior within the plant and outside the work environment, and continuously implements all measures prescribed by the National Civil Protection headquarters.