COVID-19: MOM issues fines, orders closure of workplaces for failing to comply with safe management measures

COVID-19: MOM issues fines, orders closure of workplaces for failing to comply with safe management measures

MOM enforcement
Many companies have implemented the SafeEntry system for employees and visitors to check-in and check-out of workplaces. (Photo: Ministry of Manpower)

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has issued 52 fines and ordered seven workplaces to cease operations over lapses in safe management measures as at Monday (Jun 15) afternoon, following the lifting of “circuit breaker” measures earlier this month.

Six of the workplaces ordered to close were found to have many employees on site despite them being able to do their work at home, while the seventh was due to multiple lapses in implementing the measures, the ministry said in a Facebook update on Tuesday.

All seven places were allowed to resume after addressing the lapses, it added.

Fifty-two composition fines of S$1,000 each were also issued to employers who failed to comply with requirements at their workplaces.

MOM has inspected nearly 1,000 workplaces so far, as part of its enforcement operations to ensure safe management measures were being implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Singapore.

READ: Singapore’s circuit breaker and beyond: Timeline of the COVID-19 reality

“We observed more good practices adopted by companies during our inspections in the second week of enforcement,” the ministry said. 

“With more workplaces gradually resuming operations, and workers returning to work, most companies we visited have implemented proper safe management measures to protect their employees.”

Such measures include the use of SafeEntry systems and requiring employees to wear face masks.

Companies have also implemented flexible work arrangements such as split teams and staggered work hours, as well as good cleaning and sanitising regimes in common areas and areas with high human contact.

READ: No workplace gatherings, socialising among employees when office operations resume after COVID-19 circuit breaker: MOM

“Employers and workers have consistently stepped up to adopt safer workplace arrangements in accordance to changing situations,” said Mr Mohd Ismadi, director of the occupational safety and health specialist department at MOM.

“We thank employers and workers for working together with us to implement these critical safe management measures to keep our workplaces safe. These concerted efforts have been and will continue to be vital in keeping community transmissions low, and pave the way for a gradual and safe reopening. We must stay disciplined, vigilant and not let our guard down.”

The ministry also reminded employers and workers to take safe management measures seriously.

More workplaces will be allowed to reopen starting Friday, when Singapore enters the second phase of its reopening post-circuit breaker period.

READ: COVID-19: Phase 2 of reopening to start from Jun 19, social gatherings of up to five persons allowed

However, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has stressed that telecommuting must remain the default for businesses where feasible.

Businesses and organisations that are unable to meet safe management principles can engage relevant agencies to seek approval for alternative safe distancing measures, it added.

“Such businesses and activities should only open when they are ready. Businesses and organisations found to be flouting safe management principles may be required to close,” MOH said.

Source: CNA/ga(rw)

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