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FAQs on precautionary measures

Find out what employers need to do to put in place precautionary measures at your workplace to safeguard your employees.

What additional precautionary measures can employers take at the workplace to safeguard the workplace from COVID-19?Show

Employers could consider the following additional measures:

  • Increase frequency of cleaning of areas with high human contact, e.g. countertops used in serving customers, common spaces used for meetings, toilets, lifts, refuse bins and handrails;
  • Provide additional guidance on handling customers who are unwell, e.g. frontline staff can encourage customers who are unwell to see a doctor and to return another day, or advise the customer to put on a mask;
  • Obtain travel declaration from employees on travel history / upcoming plans to the affected region(s);
  • Encourage employees to take temperature regularly and monitor for respiratory symptoms; and
  • Encourage employees to observe good personal hygiene by reminding them to wash their hands regularly, cover mouth if coughing or sneezing and to avoid touching their faces.
  • Ensure that all activities that can take place through telecommuting are done from home even if the business is an essential service.

What advice can employers give to employees who are traveling overseas during this period in light of the virus situation?Show

Employers should inform employees that from 20 March 2020, 2359 hrs, all travellers are required to comply with a Stay-Home Notice (SHN) upon arrival in Singapore. Under SHN, the employee shall not leave the place of residence / dedicated SHN facility for a period of 14 days from the date of his/her arrival in Singapore.

Employers should also inform that from 4 March 2020, 2359 hrs, employees entering Singapore and exhibiting fever and/or other symptoms of respiratory illness are required to undergo a COVID-19 swab test at the checkpoint. They may carry on with their journey immediately after undergoing the test. However, pending the results, which may take between three and six hours, the returning employees are advised to minimise contact with others as a precautionary measure. Individuals will be contacted on their swab test results and those with positive results will be conveyed to the hospital in a dedicated ambulance.

Employers should inform that work pass holders (including dependants) who refuse testing may have their immigration facilities and work pass privileges revoked or the validity shortened. Singapore Permanent Residents and long-term pass holders who refuse testing may have immigration facilities revoked or curtailed. All travellers, including Singapore citizens, who do not comply with the testing or who cannot be contacted subsequently may face penalties and can be prosecuted under the Infectious Diseases Act.

In the event that overseas travel is unavoidable, employers should advise employees to exercise caution and practice the following when travelling:

  • Avoid contact with live animals including poultry and birds, and consumption of raw and undercooked meats;
  • Avoid crowded places and close contact with people who are unwell or showing respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, runny nose, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath);
  • Observe good personal hygiene at all times;
  • Practise frequent hand washing with soap (e.g. before handling food or eating, after going to the toilet, or when hands are dirtied by respiratory secretion after coughing or sneezing);
  • Cover mouth with tissue paper when coughing or sneezing at the workplace, and dispose soiled tissue paper in the designated rubbish bins at the workplace immediately;
  • Wear a mask if employees have respiratory symptoms; and
  • Seek medical attention promptly if you are unwell.

What can employers do to safeguard other employees who may have been in contact with an employee who has travelled?Show

Employers should inform employees that from 20 March 2020, 2359 hrs, all travellers are required to comply with a Stay-Home Notice (SHN) upon arrival in Singapore. Under SHN, the employee shall not leave the place of residence for a period of 14 days from the date of his/her arrival in Singapore.

Employers should inform that from 4 March 2020, 2359 hrs, employees entering Singapore and exhibiting fever and/or other symptoms of respiratory illness are required to undergo a COVID-19 swab test at the checkpoint. They may carry on with their journey immediately after undergoing the test. However, pending the results, which may take between three and six hours, the returning employees are advised to minimise contact with others as a precautionary measure. Individuals will be contacted on their swab test results and those with positive results will be conveyed to the hospital in a dedicated ambulance.

Under the SHN, employees will have to remain in their place of residence / dedicated SHN facility at all times during the 14-day period. This is stricter than the previous Leave of Absence (LOA) regime, which had allowed returnees to leave their homes briefly, for example for their meals or to buy household supplies. Employers should advise employees on SHN to monitor their health closely, i.e. twice daily for fever (i.e. ≥ 38°C) and respiratory symptoms such as cough and breathlessness. They should also be advised to minimise contact with others and to not invite visitors (e.g. other employees) to their residence. Employees should also be advised to maintain a record of persons they came into close contact with during the period of SHN.

For employees who have been in contact with the employee, employers should monitor their health and inform employees to seek medical attention immediately if they become unwell. Employers can also advise the rest of employees to practice good personal hygiene habits.

Can employers defer periodic medical examinations for employees exposed to the prescribed hazards required under the Workplace Safety and Health (Medical Examinations) Regulations to a later date in view of COVID-19? Is it possible to request for an extension of the submission deadline?Show

Yes, the employer may write in to MOM at mom_oshd@mom.gov.sg to request for an extension of the deadline for submission of the Summary Report and Register of Employees. Please include the workplace number and the name of the hazard in your request.

Can occupiers defer their mandatory Safety And Health Management System (SHMS) audits to a later date in view of COVID-19 and suspension of certain work activities from 7 April 2020 to 1 June 2020?Show

All mandatory SHMS on-site audits will be suspended until 1 June 2020, and mandatory SHMS audits due between 7 April 2020 to 15 June 2020 will have their deadlines extended by 2 months.