As essential natural gas employees who were infected with the COVID-19 virus return to work in field operations, remember that the virus may have affected their sense of smell.
Field employees working in natural gas transmission and distribution operations are assigned to measure the effectiveness of the company's odorization efforts. To do their jobs, they are required to have a normal sense of smell, according to 49 CFR 192.625(a). These employees are tested routinely to verify their sense of smell is normal.
The loss of the sense of smell is a possible side effect of the COVID-19 virus. While some infected people are not affected this way, others, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, report a loss of smell that "may persist for weeks or months after recovery." In severe cases, it may never return.
Consider testing employees returning to work to make sure the virus has had no lasting impact on their sense of smell. Testing can be completed following the existing protocols in your odorization program.
For more information, please contact one of our Senior Natural Gas Utility Professionals: Anthony Tetto, by e-mail or by phone at 201.888.7938; or William Burnett, by e-mail or by phone at 551.301.2384.
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