Mandatory cleaning standards to be introduced, starting with childcare centres, schools and hawker centres

Mandatory cleaning standards to be introduced, starting with childcare centres, schools and hawker centres

Mandatory cleaning standards are set to be introduced in Singapore, beginning with higher-risk premises such as childcare and eldercare facilities, schools and hawker centres, announced Senior Minister of State for Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor on Wednesday (Mar 4). Isabelle Lim reports.

SINGAPORE: Mandatory cleaning standards are set to be introduced in Singapore, beginning with higher-risk premises such as childcare and eldercare facilities, schools and hawker centres, announced Senior Minister of State for Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor on Wednesday (Mar 4). 

The Ministry of Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) will work with sectoral leads to progressively implement the new requirements from 2021. 

“These standards will comprise a regime for proactive and thorough cleaning, as well as disinfection, at prescribed frequencies,” she said. 

Dr Khor also announced that the Environmental Public Health Act will be amended this year to place greater accountability on managers for the cleanliness of their premises.

“We will be mindful to calibrate the standards to minimise compliance costs,” she said. 

For example, managers will be required to carry out thorough periodic cleaning of their premises at prescribed minimum frequencies, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) in a separate media release. 

Managers will need to implement an environmental sanitation programme, listing areas that need to be cleaned and disinfected at regular frequencies, said the agency. These include “back of house” areas such as bin centres, refuse holding centres and loading and unloading bays, which are often neglected.

Those managing the premises will also have to appoint a designated person to assist the manager. This individual will help to develop the environmental sanitation programme and advise on measures to remedy any lapses, said Dr Khor. 

NEA said in the release that it convened an interdisciplinary technical committee to develop cleaning standards for routine cleaning and disinfection in August 2019. 

“The work is substantially completed, and NEA is currently consulting stakeholders on the details, and will soon move into the legislative and implementation phases of the work,” it said.

The agency also said it will conduct consultations with the various sectors “to better understand their needs and requirements”, as different sectors would have different cleaning standards and requirements. 

Stressing that cleanliness and hygiene is the "first line of defence” against evolving public health threats, Dr Khor said: “We do not know how long COVID-19 will last. We are entering a new situation where enhanced personal hygiene habits and social responsibility have to be an integral part of our lives. 

“Let us work together to make SG Clean our new way of life.” 

Source: CNA/hw

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