Almost 1,000 Workplaces Inspected By MOM, 52 Employers Fined

As we eagerly look forward to the advent of Phase 2 on Friday (19 Jun), that doesn’t mean we can let our guard down.

Particularly, workplaces are an important battleground in the fight against Covid-19, as it’s where people spend the most amount of time in contact with others who’re not part of their households.

That’s why the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) shut down 7 workplaces, most of them for having too many employees in the office despite them being able to do their work from home.

MOM has been inspecting workplaces since 2 Jun

Since the ‘Circuit Breaker’ ended on 2 Jun, MOM has been inspecting workplaces across Singapore, it revealed in a Facebook post on Tuesday (16 Jun) morning.

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These inspections are to check if they have implemented Safe Management Measures (SMM) to reduce the possibility of virus transmission among their employees.

So far, almost 1,000 workplaces have been inspected.

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6 workplaces had too many employees, 1 had multiple lapses

Unfortunately, not all the workplaces that the MOM went to have followed the rules properly.

The ministry’s officers found that 6 of them had a lot of employees in the office, although these employees can work from home.

1 other workplace had “multiple lapses” in the implementation of SMM.

Thus, these 7 workplaces were temporarily shut down.

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However, after they reformed their work practices, the MOM has allowed these 7 to restart their operations.

52 workplaces fined $1,000 each for failing to comply

As of Monday (15 Jun), 52 other workplaces were also found to have not complied with the SMM.

They were fined $1,000 each.

The MOM said it would work closely with companies in reviewing their SMM practices and finding out ways to improve them, both during the inspection and after the inspection.

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Most workplaces inspected had complied with SMM

However, despite these few errant workplaces, most companies that the MOM visited proper SMM, said the MOM.

MOM’s director of occupational safety and its Health Specialist Department Mohd Ismadi thanked employers and workers for helping to implement the SMMs, saying,

Employers and workers have consistently stepped up to adopt safer workplace arrangements in accordance to changing situations.

Companies must appoint Safe Management Officer

What are some of the SMMs necessary for workplaces to operate? It’s important for both employers and employees to be aware of them.

One is the appointment of a Safe Management Officer (SMO) to help implement, check and coordinate SMMs in the workplace.

His or her duties will include conducting checks on whether the workplace is complying or not, and keeping records of these checks to show the authorities.

It’s strongly encouraged that the SMO get training for the role.

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Other measures include SafeEntry, staggered working hours

What else do companies have to do to protect their employees?

Many of the SMMs for workplaces are things that you would be familiar with if you’ve gone to a mall or supermarket recently.

For example, one measure that’s important is the use of the SafeEntry system for contact tracing for employees to check in and check out of their workplaces.

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Masks are also to worn at all all times, and regular temperature checks must be conducted for staff and visitors too.

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Companies should have adequate cleaning and disinfecting agents so they can maintain a sufficiently rigourous sanitation regime. The personal hygiene of staff is also important.

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Additionally, flexible working arrangements like staggered timings should be followed.

MOM highlighted the practice of one company that staggered working hours and lunch hours for its staff, so that they do not congregate at lobbies and canteens.

It has also split their staff into teams and scrapped social gatherings.

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To find out more about SMMs, check out the list of SMMs from MOM here.

Important that community transmission stays low

While it’s good that the majority of workplaces inspected have adhered to MOM’s requirements, there will always be some who need improvement.

We’re glad that MOM is helping them shape up, as it’s important that community transmission stays low so we don’t undo all the effort of these past months and go into another ‘Circuit Breaker’.

What are your workplace’s SMM practices like? If they are lacking, you may wish to report such issues through MOM’s SnapSAFE mobile application. Please visit go.gov.sg/newsmm3jun for more information.

Featured image adapted from Facebook.