Coronavirus pandemic

Action taken against 21 workplaces lacking safe distancing measures

No safe distancing at common area.
No safe distancing at common area.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF MANPOWER
No safe distancing of 1m between workstations.
No safe distancing of 1m between workstations.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF MANPOWER
No demarcation for safe distancing in pantry area.
No demarcation for safe distancing in pantry area.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF MANPOWER
No sign or marking on 1m safe distancing at meeting room.
No sign or marking on 1m safe distancing at meeting room.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF MANPOWER
The Ministry of Manpower reminded all employers to place their employees on work-from-home arrangements wherever possible.
The Ministry of Manpower reminded all employers to place their employees on work-from-home arrangements wherever possible.PHOTO: ST FILE

Enforcement action has been taken against 21 workplaces for failing to comply with government advisories on safe distancing measures meant to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a statement yesterday.

Thirteen stop-work orders and eight remedial orders were issued to workplaces that ignored safe distancing yesterday, the very first day of enforcement, MOM said. These orders will remain in place until rectifications are made.

The inspections target workplaces with a large workforce such as factories, construction sites and shipyards, as well as collaborative workplaces.

MOM also noted that some companies have adopted additional precautionary measures to protect the well-being of their workers, such as temperature screening.

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.

For roles requiring workers to be physically present on company sites, employers should ensure wider physical spacing of at least 1m between work stations and seats in meeting rooms, pantries, rest areas and other congregation points, MOM said.

They should also 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, MOM added in the statement.

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.

 
 
 
 

MOM said that 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.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2020, with the headline 'Action taken against 21 workplaces lacking safe distancing measures'. Print Edition | Subscribe