MOM released new requirements Safe Management Measures at the workplace
Ideally you should visit MOM Ministry of Manpowers page to read more about the new measures or requirements for the Safe Managemetn Measures.
You should also find and read sector or industry specific guidelines for Safe Management Measures in your industry and workplace
MOM has updated the Safe Management Measures on 29 May 2020
As we all know and have read, from 2 June 2020, the circuit breaker will come to an end (unless there is new information or directives). Singapore will embark on a three-phased approach to resume activities safely. This is where the Safe Management Measures come in. Even those companies or essential businesses that are operating now will have to review their current Safe Management Measures and may need to add to their existing Safe Management Measures.
As the authorities have mentioned- there are many measures already in place to minimise the the risk of widespread re-emergence of COVID-19 in the community. But we will need enhanced safe management practices at workplaces as more businesses re-open and as more people go to schools or work.
Safe Management Measures are important but we need to have effective implementation of these safe management measures to avoid the need to restore tight restrictive measures subsequently.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) in other words the tripartite partners– have been issuing details of Safe Management Measures to employers that will be allowed to resume operations. These Safe Management Measures are important to keeping our people (employers and employees) safe and reducing the risk of spread of COVID-19. These Safe Management Measures requirements are meant for general workplace settings. For specific workplaces like construction industry, they will have to fulfill additional Safe Management Measures and need to check and understand the directives from Building Construction Authority for their additional Safe Management Measures.
Ministry of Manpower, Building and Construction Authority, Enterprise Singapore and various other agencies are already informing businesses on the Safe Management Measures and will also increase enforcement visits and will take action against errant employers for not developing or not implementing the Safe Management Measures. Failure for not implementing the Safe Management Measures could result in stop-work orders and financial penalties.
Safe Management Measures- why do we have Safe Management Measures
To ensure COVID-safe workplaces, employers should take care of:
Your workplaces, and;
Those who may become unwell at your workplaces.
As part of the Safe Management Measures, employers should actively enable employees to work from home.
Employees should work from home as much as possible and as far as possible as part of the Safe Management Measures. Working from home must be the default mode of working even for companies that are allowed to resume operations in Phases One and Two.
Employees who have been working from home so far must continue to do so, and go to the office only where there is no alternative.
Employers should review their processes if they have employees who are still unable to work from home. Employers should provide the necessary IT equipment to employees and adopt solutions that enable remote working and online collaboration. The Authorities have set into place grants and subsidies for employers to leverage technology to ensure business continuity and safe management.
As we are already used to virtual meetings, companies should continue to conduct virtual meetings as much as possible. Physical meetings between employees and with suppliers / contractors must be minimised.
There will be no events or activities that have close and prolonged contact amongst employees or people (training, conferences, seminars and exhibitions).
Vulnerable employees are older employees, pregnant employees and employees who have underlying medical conditions. Businesses should pay special attention to these groups of vulnerable employees. This also needs to be addressed in the Safe Management Measures. Allow them to work from home and if not possible re-deploy them within the company so that they can work from home and be safe.
For job roles or functions where employees cannot work from home, employers must ensure the following precautions are in place prior to resuming operations:
Employers must stagger work and break hours.
Staggered work hours must be implemented over at least three 1-hourly blocks, with no more than half of the employees reporting to work within each block. Timings of lunch and other breaks must also be staggered accordingly.
Where possible, work hours should enable more employers to avoid peak-hour travel
If it is not feasible to implement staggered work and break hours due to operational reasons (e.g. manufacturing production line activities), employers must implement other Safe Management Measures to reduce congregation of employees at common spaces.
Employers should implement shift or split team arrangements in their Safe management measures: 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.
No cross-deployment or interaction between employees in different shifts, teams or worksites, even outside of work. 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, additional safeguards must be taken to minimise the risk of cross infection.
Employers and employees must not socialise or congregate in groups at the workplace and after work hours.
All social gatherings at the workplace must be cancelled or deferred and must be stated in the Safe Management Measures.
Wear masks at the workplace: Employers must ensure that all onsite personnel everyone must wear a mask and other necessary personal protective equipment at all times at the workplace
Employers must ensure that it has sufficient masks and PPE for all employees, including any need to replace masks due to workplace conditions.
Where possible, employers should consider improving the working environment for employees to enable them to sustain wearing the masks.
Observing good personal hygiene: Employers must encourage their employees to observe good personal hygiene.
Control access at the workplace to only essential employees and authorised visitors. Employers must use the SafeEntry visitor management system to record the entry of all personnel entering the workplace.
Employees and visitors who are unwell will be refused entry to the workplace.
Employees and visitors must declare via SafeEntry or other means (e.g. electronic or hard copy records), before being allowed to enter premises, that they:
Are currently not under a quarantine order, stay-home notice;
Have not had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days; and
Do not have any fever or flu-like symptoms.
Employers should ensure that their employees adhere to MOH’s prevailing travel advisory.
Where physical interaction cannot be avoided, precautions should be taken to ensure clear physical spacing of at least 1 metre between persons at all times through the following:
Employers must demarcate safe physical distances (at least 1m apart) at the workplace premises with visual indicators or through physical means. This must also be applied to all spaces including common spaces.
If there is a critical need for physical meetings to proceed, employers should limit the number of attendees and shorten their durations. Not just for employees but contractors, visitors, suppliers etc
Minimise need for physical touchpoints: Employers should reduce the occurrences of, or need for common physical touchpoints in the workplace. Where physical contact is needed frequent disinfection of touchpoints should be done as well as other measures.
Step up cleaning of workplace premises:
Employers must ensure regular cleaning of common spaces and all spaces and machinery and tools.
Provide cleaning and disinfecting agents at the following areas:
Cleaning agents must be available at all toilets and hand-wash stations.
Disinfecting agents must be installed at all human traffic stoppage points within the workplace, such as entrances, reception areas, security booths and lift lobbies.
Disinfecting agents must be provided at meeting rooms and other common spaces such as pantries or canteens.
Ensure regular checks for temperature and respiratory symptoms for all onsite employees and visitors, twice daily or where relevant. Employers must be able to demonstrate that these checks are in place during inspections this is reminded in the Safe Management Measures.
Record proximity data on phones with employees downloading and activating the TraceTogether app17.
Actively monitor unwell employees and guard against incipient outbreaks:
Employees at the workplace who have visited a clinic must submit to their employers records of their MCs and diagnoses provided , and if they were tested for COVID-19 and the results of their tests.
Employers must take preventive action to guard against incipient outbreaks at the workplace, such as requiring these employees on MCs to closely monitor their health before returning to the workplace and requiring these employees’ close contacts at the workplace to monitor their health more regularly.
Where possible, employers must ensure that each employee visits only one clinic for check-ups if unwell.
Manage unwell cases: An evacuation plan must be prepared for unwell or suspected cases, as well as for other onsite personnel.
Any employee who is feeling unwell or showing symptoms of illness should report to his employer, leave the workplace and consult a doctor immediately, even if symptoms may appear mild. Employers must track and record these cases as part of Safe Management Measures.
For incapacitated or unconscious individuals, employers must clear the area of other personnel and administer aid immediately. Employers should call 995 for an emergency ambulance to ferry them to the nearest hospital.
Manage confirmed cases: A follow-up plan must be put in place in the event of a confirmed case. Upon being notified of a confirmed case, employers must adopt the following precautionary measures:
Immediately vacate and cordon-off the immediate section of the workplace premises where the confirmed case worked. There is no need to vacate the building or the whole floor if there had been no sustained and close contact with the confirmed case; and
Carry out a thorough cleaning and disinfecting all relevant on-site areas and assets that were exposed to confirmed cases, in accordance to NEA guidelines.
For worksites with confirmed cases, businesses could be suspended if there are public health grounds.
Employers must establish a system to implement the above Safe Management Measures to provide a safe working environment and minimise risks of COVID-19 outbreaks. These measures must be implemented in a sustainable manner for as long as necessary.
Implement a detailed monitoring plan to ensure compliance with Safe Management Measures and timely resolution of outstanding issues.
Appoint Safe Management Officer(s) (“SMO”) to assist in the implementation, coordination and monitoring of the system of Safe Management Measures at the workplace. The duties of the Officer(s) include:
To coordinate implementation of Safe Management Measures, including identifying relevant risks, recommending and assisting in implementing measures to mitigate the risks, and communicating the measures to all personnel working in the workplace;
To conduct inspections and checks, to ensure compliance at all times. Any non-compliance found during the inspections should be reported and documented;
To remedy non-compliance found during the inspections and checks through immediate action; and
To keep records of inspections, checks and correction actions, to be made available upon request by a Government Inspector.
Employers must ensure that the measures above are in place, communicated and explained to employees prior to resuming work . Signs should also be put up to remind employees and visitors to observe all measures in place.
Employees should also do their part in adhering to the measures to create a safe working environment. Those who wish to report breaches or poor practices can do so via SnapSAFE, an app that allows the reporting of workplace safety and health issues to MOM.
For further queries, please contact:
Ministry of Manpower
Ministry of Health
Disclaimer- we are providing this information in order to help businesses as well as the community. Lives and livelihood is important. This information is readily available online. You can and should look at the latest updates from the Authorities.