INL encourages employees to work from home amid coronavirus outbreak
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Beginning March 17, Idaho National Laboratory will recommend its employees work from home, depending on the nature of their jobs. The announcement came Monday from INL Laboratory Director Mark Peters who says the measures are meant to ensure the health and well-being of the lab’s workers. At this time, no INL employees or subcontractors have tested positive for COVID-19.
Last Wednesday, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic. On Friday both the nation and Idaho declared states of emergency. Also on Friday, the state of Idaho announced its first confirmed case of COVID-19 in southwest Idaho.
“We have now reached the next level where we need to take more aggressive steps that will help minimize the number of employees and subcontractors required inside our facilities,” Peters said.
Employees whose work requires them to access facilities – including operations, production, research and security – will maintain their normal work routines for the time being. By decreasing the numbers of people at work, the lab will create extra “social distancing” that will help reduce the possibility of infecting others. Other social distancing measures include limiting in-person meetings and encouraging video teleconferencing.
The laboratory has implemented an increased cleaning schedule of areas frequently contacted by staff, such as doorknobs, handrails, food preparation and service areas. Buses are also being disinfected after each route.
A special section has been added to the laboratory’s website with additional guidance and resources for employees and the public. For more information, click on inl.gov/alert/covid-19/.
INL is one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) national laboratories. The laboratory performs work in each of DOE’s strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science and environment. INL is the nation’s center for nuclear energy research and development. Day-to-day management and operation of the laboratory is the responsibility of Battelle Energy Alliance.