MOM Operation To Enforce Safe Distancing Measures For Workers, 30 Employers Being Investigated

As Covid-19 sweeps through Singapore’s migrant worker population, our treatment of these workers are belatedly getting some attention.

If you’ve been keeping your eyes open while on the road, you would have seen workers sitting at the back of lorries. They usually sit rather closely together and have little space to move.

Source

Not only is this uncomfortable and dangerous in the event of an accident, the lack of safe distancing also makes it ideal for the spread of Covid-19.

Thus, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has finally done something about this, and cracked down on employers who do not ensure their workers are spread out properly at the back of lorries.

Source

MOM conducts safe distancing enforcement operation

In a Facebook post on Tuesday (14 Apr), MOM revealed that it had conducted a joint enforcement operation with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Traffic Police.

From Monday (13 Apr), they inspected a total of 28 lorries, and are now probing 30 employers for possible failure to comply with safe distancing measures.

Source

This operation will continue throughout the ‘Circuit Breaker’ period, MOM said, and advised employers to implement safe distancing measures while transporting their workers.

Those who don’t comply with them may  face the ministry’s “firm stance”.

That would probably be a fine of up to $10,000, prison term of up to 6 months, or both, according to the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020.

Workers to keep at least 1m apart & wear masks at all times

What are these safe distancing measures they must adhere to?

Similar to the general public, workers must now keep at least 1m apart in the backs of lorries.

Not only do the seat locations of the workers need to be marked, the workers and drivers must be aware of the measures so they don’t move around.

They must also wear masks at all times — similar to a new rule which makes it compulsory to wear masks when leaving our homes or be fined.

Source

If it’s not possible to conform to safe distancing with the vehicles available, companies must make more trips or deploy more lorries to ferry the workers.

Here’s a summary of the measures, along with a graphical representation of how workers can be seated in the lorries.

Source

Ensuring better conditions for our foreign workers

While the lack of safe distancing among migrant workers has been going on for awhile, MOM’s action is better late than never.

Raising food and hygiene standards at dorms is another aspect that MOM is looking into.

It’s heartening to know that one good thing that came out of the Covid-19 pandemic is that people are waking up to the need for better conditions for our valuable migrant workers.

Let’s hope we no longer see lorries crammed with workers on the roads.

Featured image adapted from Facebook.