To create a safe environment for all employees and customers, every operating business in Singapore needs to implement the Safe Management Measures at the Workplace. This article highlights ten of the most commonly asked questions about these measures.
Who Should Apply The Safe Management Measures’ Requirements?
All operating companies must implement the measures. Businesses that resume operations following the circuit breaker period must implement all measures before resuming workplace operations.
What Are The Main Changes That Will Take Effect From 8th May to 30th May 2021?
Work-from-home (WFH) employers must maintain a high degree of vigilance in the workplace and make sure that not more than 50% of WFH workers are at the workplace at any one time, which has been reduced from the previous 75%. Employees can spend their working hours at the workplace with no restriction. While the split team arrangement is not required, employers can continue to use this arrangement to maintain business continuity.
Social gatherings should be avoided at the workplace. Nevertheless, if it cannot be avoided, such as during a lunch break, the gathering will be subject to the revised community size limit of five people. The current regulations for work-related activities, including work plan seminars and town halls, have no changes and remain with an upper limit of fifty people.
Do Companies Need To Apply To Resume Their Operations?
Certain services and activities are permitted to gradually resume operations from 12th May 2020, according to the Multi-Ministry Task Force. Businesses that belong to the list of services and activities can resume operations without applying. For more detailed information, visit https://covid.gobusiness.gov.sg.
As the number of new COVID-19 cases continue to decrease, relevant agencies will gradually reopen businesses. The MTI or Ministry of Trade and Industry will release more information in due course.
Is It Possible to Resume Operations Earlier If A Company Has Implemented Every Safe Management Measure At Its Workplace?
The government will gradually open up the economy instead of opening it all at once to avoid the community cases’ re-emergence. In general, industries that allow the country to trade with the world and obtain key supplies will begin first. Industries that attract much traffic and social interaction will need to wait and adopt extra safe management measures before they can restart.
Companies can only resume their operations if their business is on the list of services and activities allowed by MTI to resume operations; and if the company has implemented all the necessary, safe management measures at its workplace.
Will MOM Penalise Businesses That Fail To Implement The Safe Management Measures?
The Ministry of Manpower and sector agencies will take specific compliance actions per the areas of non-compliance discovered. For workplaces where safe management measures are severely lacking, they will instruct employers to stop operating at that workplace.
Employers must take steps to make sure that the measures are in place before resuming their operations. According to the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act, those who fail to comply with the measures can be fined up to SGD 10,000 or imprisonment up to six months, or both. Repeat violations are punishable with a fine of up to SGD 20,000 or up to twelve months of imprisonment, or both.
Where Can Businesses Get More Guidance on Safe Management Measures’ Implementation At The Workplace?
Businesses can refer to Annex B (checklist of Safe Management Measures required at the workplace for business activities’ resumption) for a run-through of the requirements they need to fulfil before resuming their operations. Moreover, unionised corporations are encouraged to work with their unions on such arrangements.
Are There Any Specific Safe Management Measures For Every Sector?
The Safe Management Measures’ requirements at the workplace issued by MOM apply to general workplace settings. For information on specific work environments or sector requirements, companies can refer to the guidelines that the appropriate sector agency releases.
What Type Of Visitors Are Authorised To Visit The Workplace?
Only visitors visiting the workplace for official reasons are authorised, which includes:
- Contractors or suppliers who need to be physically on the premise to deliver their services or goods
- Buyers who want to get their services of goods
- Visitors who need to participate in a physical meeting
What Are The Guidelines For Safe Distancing And Barriers At Workstations?
Employers must always maintain a physical distance of at least one metre between individuals and use visual indicators or physical methods, such as using a barrier between workstations to delineate a safe physical distance. Although there is no specific height guide for barriers between workstations, they should help to achieve the necessary, safe physical distance of one metre apart.
How Often Should Businesses Clean Their Workplace?
For general disinfection, NEA recommends wiping down the surface using effective disinfectants. When choosing disinfectants for coronavirus, the disinfection services provider and users must understand the active ingredients’ efficacy, the applications’ effectiveness and limitations, and the potential danger associated with the product or application.
All companies permitted to operate in Singapore need to implement the Safe Management Measures at the workplace to ensure their visitors and employers are well-protected. Failure to comply with these measures may result in fine or imprisonment, or both.