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Requirements for Safe Management Measures at the workplace
- In order to minimise the risk of widespread re-emergence of COVID-19 in the community, the tripartite partners (MOM, SNEF and NTUC) have introduced enhanced safe management practices at workplaces. Effective implementation of these measures will help to avoid the need to restore tight restrictive measures.
- These requirements will be effective from 28 September 2020 and are meant for general workplace settings. Specific workplaces like construction worksites and shipyards may have to fulfil additional requirements and should refer to sector-specific requirements1.
- Agencies including MOM, Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) will continue to enforce and take action against errant employers. These may include issuing stop-work orders and financial penalties.
Safe Management Measures
To ensure COVID-safe workplaces, employers should take care of:
- Your workers;
- Your workplaces, and;
- Those who may become unwell at your workplaces.
Stagger start times and allow flexible workplace hours: This will spread out staff across time and place, and reduces possible congregation of employees at all common spaces at or near the workplace, including entrances, exits, lobbies, canteens, pantries. It also reduces congestion of people in public places, including public transport.
- Employers should stagger the start times for all employees such that at least half of all employees at the workplace start work in the workplace at or after 10am, as far as possible. This would enable more employees to avoid peak-hour travel, especially if employees require the use of public transport. Timings of lunch and other breaks should also be staggered accordingly.
- For employees who can work-from-home but who return to the workplace, employers should also allow for flexible workplace hours. This is not to shorten work hours, but to allow flexibility to reduce the duration spent in the workplace, while also working from home during the day.
- To illustrate, putting (i) and (ii) together, employers could allow a proportion of their employees to work in the workplace from 10am-4pm, while working from home the rest of the time; employers could also allow their employees to work-from-home in the morning, and only return to the workplace in the afternoon, e.g. from 1-5pm; or return to the workplace only for meetings and work-from-home the rest of the day.
- If it is not feasible to implement staggered start times, flexible workplace hours, and staggered break hours due to operational reasons (e.g. manufacturing production line activities), employers must implement other systemic arrangements to reduce congregation of employees at common spaces.
Implement shift or split team arrangements: For suitable workplace settings, employers must split employees at workplace premises into teams, with each team restricted to one worksite wherever possible. No employee should work in more than one team or worksite.
- There should be no cross-deployment or interaction between employees in different shifts, teams or worksites, even outside of work8. Employers must ensure clear separation of employees on different shifts or split teams, such as implementing human traffic management measures and stepping up cleaning of common areas during shift or split team changeovers.
- If cross-deployment cannot be avoided (e.g. due to the nature of the job), additional safeguards must be taken to minimise the risk of cross infection.
All work-related events that proceed must adhere to prevailing workplace Safe Management Measures and are subjected to the following requirements:
- The number of persons per event must be capped at 50 persons to limit the risk of exposure to infection.
- Attendees must maintain at least 1 metre safe distancing between individual attendees, as per the requirement at the workplace.
- Food and drinks should preferably not be served at workplace events. If deemed necessary for practical reasons to serve meals, individuals must be seated and served individually and minimise contact with one another while eating. Meal durations should be kept short to minimise the period that individuals are unmasked, and the meal should not be a main feature of the event.
Work-related events at third-party venues will also be subject to any additional premise owners’ safe management policies.
- Employers must not organise or encourage social gatherings13 within or outside the workplace.
- Employers must ensure that employees adhere to the permissible group size based on prevailing guidelines on social gatherings at the workplace, including during meals or breaks.
Wear masks at the workplace: Employers must ensure that all onsite personnel, including employees, visitors, suppliers and contractors, wear a mask and other necessary personal protective equipment at all times at the workplace, except during activities that require masks to be removed. Masks will have to be worn immediately after the activity is completed.
- Employers should ensure that they have sufficient masks for all employees, including any need to replace masks more frequently due to workplace conditions17.
- Where possible, employers should consider improving the working environment for employees to enable them to sustain wearing the masks.
Observe good personal hygiene: Employers should encourage their employees to observe good personal hygiene, e.g. wash their hands regularly and refrain from touching their face.
Minimise need for physical touchpoints: Employers should reduce the occurrences of, or need for common physical touchpoints in the workplace where possible (e.g. by deploying contactless access controls). Where physical contact is needed, additional safeguards must be taken to minimise the risk of cross infection (e.g. frequent disinfection of touchpoints).
Step up cleaning of workplace premises through the following:
- Employers must ensure regular cleaning of common spaces, particularly areas with high human contact24. Where physical meetings are held or meals are taken at common spaces such as pantries or canteens, employers must clean and disinfect tables between each meeting or seating.
- Employers must ensure that machinery and equipment shared between different employees across different shifts or alternate teams are cleaned and disinfected before changing hands. The sanitation and hygiene advisories25 disseminated by the National Environmental Agency (NEA) must be adhered to.
Provide cleaning and disinfecting agents at the following areas: