By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Sept 16: In view of the fact that workplace clusters are among the top three contributors of Covid-19 positive cases, Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor Prof Dr Sim Kui Hian has released workplace standard operating procedures (SOP) outlining precautionary steps to combat the pandemic.
For employers, the first precaution is to ensure that all workers are fully vaccinated against the pandemic.
Secondly, employers must also make daily self-declarations of heath status mandatory, even on rest days, said Dr Sim in a social media post today.
Other noteworthy points include the following:
- Screen unwell workers for Covid-19, regardless how mild the illness
- Do not permit unwell workers to work while awaiting swab results
- Grant them paid sick leave or allow them to work from home (if possible)
- Enforce mandatory use of face shields, in addition to face masks
- Ensure good ventilation at your workplace, especially the pantry and canteen
- Ensure adequate physical distancing at workplaces and hostels
- Enforce strict pantry, tea and coffee and lunch break rules
- Discourage use of air-conditioning when workers travel in groups of two or more in your company’s vehicle. Natural ventilation is best by keeping the vehicle window open. If it is not feasible, let the air-conditioner operate with fresh air ventilation mode.
- Organize workers into ‘Safe Work Groups’. It is aimed to try limit the spread of, and adverse impacts arising from detection of Covid-19 in the office. All on-and off-duty activities of each worker should be contained within their respective groups, with no crossing over.
- Consider testing your employees using rapid test kit regularly.
- Strict adherence to SOPs and guidance issued by SDMC and local authorities.
For employees, the list is shorter.
Dr Sim, who is also Local Government and Housing Minister, said every worker could avoid bringing Covid-19 virus home from work by adhering to workplace SOPs by not going to work when unwell (no matter how mild the sickness).
Employees also need to inform their employer immediately if they have been in contact with a known Covid-19 case, or if any of their family members are unwell, he said.
“We will need everyone to do their part and play their roles to slow the transmission of Covid-19 with a combination of non-pharmaceutical and public health measures to lower viral loads by wearing double masks, as well as reduce infection severity and community transmission through vaccination so that our hospital facilities, our doctors and nurses will not be overwhelmed by a surge in Covid-19 cases,” said Dr Sim. — DayakDaily