Singapore government has issued an advisory for employers on safe distancing measures as part of the effort to arrest the spread of Covid-19 infection. However, 21 workplaces are failing to comply with the policy that the government had to take enforcement action, Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a statement on Monday (Mar 23).
On Monday which became the very first day of enforcement, MOM issued thirteen stop-work orders and eight remedial orders to workplaces that ignored safe distancing for their staff. These orders will remain in place until rectifications are made. According to MOM, the inspections target workplaces that have a large workforce such as factories, construction sites and shipyards, as well as collaborative workplaces, The Straits Times reports.
Besides the safe distancing rule, some companies are also noted to adopt additional precautionary measures to protect the well-being of their workers, such as temperature screening.
The ministry urged all employers to send their staff home and work remote wherever possible, especially workers who are vulnerable such as older workers, pregnant workers and those with pre-existing medical conditions.
If work-from-home arrangements are not possible, workers who are physically present on company sites need to have physical distancing f at least 1m between work stations and seats in meeting rooms, pantries, rest areas and other congregation points, MOM said. Employers are also required to reduce the duration and proximity of physical interactions, stagger working hours, defer non-critical work events and scale down critical work events, as well as implement or enhance shift or split-team operations.
Safe distancing measures should also be clearly communicated to all workers.
“Such measures may require businesses to adjust work processes but are necessary to suppress the spread of Covid-19 and protect our community. We also urge employees to practise social responsibility and stay safe by maintaining good personal hygiene and safe distancing,” said Mr Silas Sng, commissioner for workplace safety and health.
During the Covid-19 outbreak, MOM said these inspections will continue and appropriate enforcement actions against non-compliant workplaces will be taken.
Meanwhile, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) also issued a similar advisory yesterday to all financial institutions in Singapore to implement safe distancing measures in all aspects of their business operations, especially customer touch points.
Financial institutions were advised to encourage all customers to use electronic platforms for financial transactions, limit the number of people waiting at their premises, prioritise service to vulnerable customers as well as collect details of visitors for contact tracing purposes, MAS said.
The ministry reminded all employers to place their employees on work-from-home arrangements wherever possible, especially vulnerable employees such as older workers, pregnant workers and those with pre-existing medical conditions.