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Gov’t issues guidelines to check COVID-19 spread at workplaces

The government has outlined guidelines to control the spread of the novel coronavirus at workplaces.

These guidelines were announced by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen in Accra on Thursday, 25 June 2020, as part of the government’s broader plan to return life to normalcy.

The measures feed into the general guidelines and protocols for easing of restrictions.

They include the use of face masks by all employees, provision of washing stations at vantage points within working areas and regular cleaning and disinfection of surfaces.

Below are the guidelines:

Social Distancing Protocols:

Company buses and public transport for workers to and from work; Workflow adjustments including staff rotation at the factory and shop floor; and Customer service protocols including floor markings to enforce social distancing protocols.

Sanitary Protocols:

Provision of handwashing stations, with running water and soap; Provision of hand sanitizers; and Enhanced regular cleaning and disinfection of regular use surfaces.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and Clothing, and other Protocols:

Use of face masks (No Face Mask No Entry) and gloves for workers who previously did not require protective gear; Replacement of safety gear with COVID-19 Compliant PPEs; and Checking of temperature of all employees and customers.

Factories and other industrial processing establishments

Stop employees with mild cough or low-grade fever from coming to work and seek medical care.

Stagger work schedules by breaking the workforce into shifts. Limit in-house meetings as much as possible and use online conference platforms.

If unavoidable, sitting arrangements should follow social distance protocols. Employers should allow staff to work virtually if feasible.

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Factories/Enterprises with more than twenty-nine (29) employees to provide a Registered Nurse on site. Implement Anti stigma policy (No employee should be discriminated against, Stigmatized, or be sacked because they have tested positive to COVID-19).

Employers must engage the services of experts to provide psychological and emotional support for COVID-19 positive employees and their families.

Employers must ensure workplace confidentiality for employees. Carry out periodic fumigation of premises, machines and equipment.

Industries and factories with more than 29 employees must dedicate One Room within the factory premises as a holding room to immediately house or quarantine anyone who is suspected to be showing symptoms and signs of COVID-19 and be isolated from others while making arrangements for evacuation.

Follow established evacuation procedures (as outlined in Annex 1) to enable evacuation if a worker becomes sick and has to be evacuated.

Display approved health promotion materials on COVID-19 at vantage points to remind workers to keep to social distancing protocols, wearing of the masks, regular hand washing, coughing and sneezing etiquette.

Work Canteens must adhere to the protocols and preventive measures outlined in Annex 2.

Enforce a No handshake, No hugging, and No Spitting policy at all times. Form COVID-19 in-house Inspection taskforce.

Members should be trained in Health Promotion and Prevention Measures, and Evacuation Protocols.

If a person is confirmed positive for COVID-19, the workplace COVID-19 taskforce must link up with the local health authorities to ensure all contacts are traced, tested, and treated.

Employers must have Staff Attendance monitoring mechanisms, either electronic or manual.

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Atuobi Alex

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