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FAQs on Safe Management Measures at the workplace

Find out more about the Safe Management Measures, how to implement at your workplace, and ensure your employees and visitors are protected.

General info on Safe Management Measures

Who does the requirements for Safe Management Measures apply to?Show

All businesses allowed to operate are required to have implemented Safe Management Measures.

For companies resuming operations after the circuit breaker period, all Safe Management Measures should be in place before operations can be resumed at the workplace.

What are the key changes that will take effect from 27 September 2021?Show

From 27 September 2021, work-from-home will be the default at workplaces. Employees whose functions can be performed from home are required to work from home.

During this period, the snap 10-day work-from-home (10D WFH) regime will be suspended.

There should continue to be no cross-deployment of workers to multiple worksites. Social gatherings at the workplace will continue to be disallowed.

Employees, contractors, and vendors who are unable to work from home are strongly encouraged to do Antigen Rapid Test (ART) self-test weekly. Employees whose job functions can be performed from home but need to return to the workplace for ad-hoc reasons are strongly encouraged to do so after testing negative via ART before returning onsite. Employers should ensure that they are notified of their employees’ return to the workplace and keep records of negative ART results of employees who return to workplace on such ad-hoc basis.

Do I have to apply to resume operations at my company's workplace?Show

The Multi-Ministry Task Force has announced that selected activities and services are allowed to resume operations. Companies that fall under the list of activities and services do not need to apply before resuming operations.

Read more information on GoBusiness.

Are the requirements on Safe Management Measures mandatory, and what enforcement actions will MOM take against businesses that do not implement Safe Management Measures?Show

MOM and sector agencies will take calibrated enforcement actions based on the areas of non-compliance found. For workplaces that severely lack Safe Management Measures, we will direct employers to stop operations at the workplace. Employers will have to take steps to ensure that Safe Management Measures are in place before operations can resume.

Under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act, failure to comply with Safe Management Measures is punishable with a fine up to $10,000 or imprisonment up to 6 months, or both. Repeated non-compliance is punishable with a fine up to $20,000 or imprisonment up to 12 months, or both.

Who is empowered to enforce the requirements and how can I verify the identity of enforcement officers inspecting my workplace?Show

Enforcement action may be taken by any of the following persons under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act:

  • A police officer
  • A Health Officer appointed under section 4(1)(a) or (b) of the Infectious Diseases Act
  • A public officer
  • An officer of a statutory body
  • An auxiliary police officer
  • An employee of a prescribed institution under the Infectious Diseases Act

You can verify the identity of enforcement officers via their authority cards or their public service identification cards.

Where can I find more guidance on implementing Safe Management Measures in the workplace?Show

You can refer to Annex B – Checklist of Safe Management Measures at the workplace for resumption of business activities for an overview of the requirements that must be fulfilled prior to resuming business activities at your workplace.

Unionised companies are also encouraged to engage their unions on such arrangements.

Is it compulsory to fill in and maintain the checklist provided in Annex B?Show

Annex B – Checklist of Safe Management Measures at the workplace for resumption of business activities sets out the requirements needed for employers to resume operations.

Employers are not required to fill out the checklist, but must ensure that the documents listed in the checklist (or equivalent) are available upon request by officials.

When inspected by any government agency, businesses must be prepared to show that they have fulfilled the requirements.

Are there specific Safe Management Measures for each sector (e.g. construction, F&B, retail)?Show

The requirements on Safe Management Measures at the workplace released by MOM is for general workplace settings. For specific workplace settings or sector requirements, please refer to guidelines issued by the respective sector agencies.

We have received two advisories, one from MOM and another from the sector agency. Which one do we follow?Show

The advisory on Safe Management Measures and the accompanying checklist issued by MOM are for general workplaces settings.

Where there may be sector-specific considerations, companies should also refer to the sector-specific advisories issued, over and above MOM’s advisory.

My employees do not have a specific workplace as they are deployed to client's site to provide goods and services. How can I implement Safe Management Measures?Show

All employers must implement Safe Management Measures at their workplaces for all employees and contractors.

Companies that have employees deployed to other sites should also ensure that their employees comply with the Safe Management Measures put in place at these sites. In fact, some of the Safe Management Measures can be implemented by employers regardless of where employees are deployed to, such as health monitoring.

If my business activities are not listed in the permitted services list, can I apply for an exemption to resume business activities?Show

Businesses should suspend operations in their premises from 7 April 2020 onwards until they are approved by MTI to continue operations or their list of business activity falls within the permitted list allowed to operate from 2 June 2020.

Employers whose business operations are not in the list of permitted services may still return to their business facility to take care of crucial tasks that cannot be done remotely or to retrieve necessary materials or documents. No application for exemption is required.

However, if employees have to be activated to return to the workplace for short periods of time (i.e. less than a day), employers are required to apply to MTI for a time-limited exemption to do so. If employers need to maintain a skeletal workforce at the workplace for longer periods, an application for a general exemption should be submitted instead.

My company is currently operating under a General Exemption, as our business activities are currently not listed in the permitted services list. Can our employees who are currently working from home return to the workplace?Show

Companies operating under a General Exemption must submit an application for additional manpower via the GoBusiness portal, to allow more employees to return to the workplace.

What should I do if I see a business that is not in the permitted services list continuing to operate even though it is not supposed to?Show

Please report the incident to and include relevant details such as company name, address and relevant evidence (e.g. photographs).

What should I do if my employer refuses to implement Safe Management Measures in the workplace?Show

If you notice any breach of Safe Management Measures or poor practices at the workplace, you can report it to MOM.

MOM will treat each report seriously and will keep your identity strictly confidential.

Is there a limit to the number of migrant workers a company can deploy at each renovation site?Show

Contractors should deploy a minimal number of workers at renovation workplaces and must ensure that Ministry of Manpower’s Safe Management Measures at workplaces are complied with at renovation workplaces to mitigate the risk of community transmission.

All personnel on site must observe safe management measures such as clear physical distancing, wearing of masks and must avoid socialising or congregating in groups.

If my renovation project involves more than one team of contractors, are they allowed to work at the same renovation site at the same time?Show

Different teams of contractors (main or sub-contractors) can carry out their respective work within the same renovation site, at the same time and day. However, all personnel on site must observe Safe Management Measures such as clear physical distancing, wearing of masks and must avoid socialising or congregating in groups.

The application of Safe Management Measures will vary depending on the renovation site. Employers should assess and evaluate the measures that must be taken to ensure safe distancing and ensure that the risk of COVID-19 spread at workplaces is minimised for their workers. This may include additional measures such as having staggered rest, arrival and exit timings to minimise interactions between workers from different companies.

Can employees who are vaccinated and unvaccinated work in close proximity or on the same task?Show

There is no need to segregate vaccinated employees from non-vaccinated employees. All employees must adhere to the safe management measures at the workplace.

Can employees who are vaccinated and unvaccinated dine together at the pantry?Show

No. Social gatherings at the workplace are disallowed until further notice. Employees should have their meal breaks at the workplace individually.

Can employers organise team bonding events?Show

No. Team bonding activities are considered social gatherings. Social gatherings at the workplace are disallowed until further notice.

Can my employees continue to dine in staff canteens?Show

For staff canteens that are open only to employees and regular contractors’ staff who work at the premises, employees must dine individually.

Staff canteens that are open to visitors are subject to the same requirements as other F&B establishments, including Vaccination-Differentiated SMMs.

Take care of your workers

Are companies that resumed operations required to ensure that their employees work from home?Show

From 27 September 2021 work-from-home is the default mode of work for employees whose job functions can be performed from home.

Employers are strongly encouraged to support their employees’ mental well-being during work, whether working from home or at the workplace. Employers can adopt the recommendations in the Tripartite advisory on mental well-being at workplaces.

Employers are also encouraged to make plans to implement Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA). Employers should consider hybrid work arrangements as this will strengthen business resilience against the risk of new variants or future outbreaks.

My employees need to return to work for ad-hoc reasons, even though they could work from home. What do I need to do?Show

Those who are able to work from home but need to return to the workplace for ad-hoc reasons are strongly encouraged to perform an Antigen Rapid Test (ART). They should be tested negative before returning onsite. Employers should ensure that they are notified of employees who return to the workplace on such ad-hoc basis.

Do employees who are unable to work from home need to get tested?Show

Employers are strongly encouraged to make plans for employees, contractors, and vendors who are unable to work from home to self-test weekly via an Antigen Rapid Test.

Should my employees wear masks at all times? What should I do if my employee has a medical condition?Show

Everyone should wear a mask at all times, except when eating, drinking, consuming medication or engaging in strenuous physical exercise.

However, if your employee has severe medical conditions, they can wear a face shield in lieu of a mask.

What should I do if my employees are unwilling to work from home because their home is not conducive for work?Show

From 27 September 2021, work-from-home is the default mode of work for employees whose job functions can be performed from home.

The overarching objective of these regulations is to reduce physical interactions in order to prevent spread of COVID-19.

Employers can consider different ways to implement working arrangements that comply with the Safe Management Measures for the workplace, while taking business and employee preferences into account.

As most of my employees are either doing frontline work or fieldwork operations, it is not feasible for me to rearrange the work such that they can work from home. Will I be penalised for not providing such work arrangements?Show

Employers must demonstrate the business or operational reasons why the workers working at the workplace are unable to work from home despite review and redesign of work processes. Our inspectors will assess the efforts put in by companies to implement work-from-home arrangements based on the practicality of whether the workers can work from home given the nature of the job.

For the safety of workers at the workplace, employers should put in place other Safe Management Measures at the workplace (e.g. ensuring safe distancing, ensuring use of SafeEntry, etc) to provide a safe working environment and minimise risk of further outbreaks.

Special attention should also be paid to vulnerable employees (e.g. persons who are aged 60 and above, and patients who are immunocompromised or have concurrent medical conditions) to enable them to work from home. Employers are encouraged to:

  • Enable these employees to work from home.
  • Allow them to travel to and from work at off-peak timings.
  • Temporarily redeploy them to another role within the company.
  • Take other appropriate measures to reduce their exposure to infection risk.

Are there any available resources to help my business review work processes to enable my employees to work from home?Show

Yes, IMDA provides a list of digital solutions and resources that aims to make business continuity essential more accessible to businesses.

Eligible businesses can also apply for the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) to support business transformation and put in place flexible work arrangements to minimise spread of COVID-19 (e.g. work from home, staggered hours).

Is there a limit on the number of attendees in a physical meeting?Show

Employers should conduct virtual meetings as far as possible. Where physical meetings are assessed to be necessary, they are subject to a cap of 50 physical attendees and there must be 1 metre safe distancing between all individuals. Attendees must be masked.

Some examples of work-related events are as follows:

  • Work meetings (e.g. among colleagues or with external parties)
  • Training
  • Board meetings
  • HR talks (e.g. onboarding, retrenchment exercises)
  • Townhalls
  • Seminars
  • Corporate retreats
  • Conferences on business strategies, workplaces and reviews
  • Annual General Meeting or Extraordinary General Meetings
  • Tender briefings to vendors
  • Award ceremonies
  • Training sessions

All work-related events that proceed must adhere to prevailing workplace Safe Management Measures and are subjected to the following requirements:

  • The number of persons per event must be capped at 50 persons to limit the risk of exposure to infection.
  • Attendees must maintain at least 1 metre safe distancing between individual attendees, as per the requirement at the workplace.
  • Meals should not be the main feature of the event, i.e. food or drinks should only be served if incidental to the workplace event (e.g. the meeting or conference extends over lunchtime). In addition, the food must be served individually with the participants seated while consuming. Participants should minimise the time that they are unmasked while eating.
  • Work-related events held at third-party venues will also be subject to any additional premises owners’ safe management policies such as Vaccination Differentiated SMMs.
  • High risk activities such as singing and the playing of wind or brass instruments are not allowed to resume at work-related events.

The 50 persons cap includes all persons who will be in the event venue at any one time, including emcees, security officers, public officers overseeing the ceremony, etc.

Persons providing services related to the event venue, and do not stay on for the event can be excluded from the cap. For example:

  • Staff providing decoration, lighting, sound or other equipment for hire.
  • Those who are involved in event setup only.

The advisory states that special attention should be paid to vulnerable employees (e.g. those aged 60 or above, patients who are immunocompromised) to enable them to work from home. How can companies support them? What if they can't work from home?Show

Those who are more vulnerable should be allowed to work from home where possible. As an employer, you should enable this by reviewing the work processes and providing the necessary IT equipment to your employees.

If the job roles of vulnerable employees cannot be done from home, employers should temporarily re-deploy these employees to another role within the company that is suitable for working from home.

If there is no possible redeployment for vulnerable employees’ work to be performed from home, your employees can still be deployed to work in the company premises. The company however, must ensure that Safe Management Measures such as ensuring clear physical spacing of at least 1 metre between persons at meeting rooms, work areas and work stations are implemented.

Are companies required to ensure staggered start times and implement flexible workplace hours for employees at the workplace?Show

Employers are encouraged to stagger the start times for all employees who are unable to work from home (due to the nature of their work, or their work can only be done with equipment that is confined to the workplace) such that at least half of all employees arrive at the workplace at or after 10am, as far as possible. This would enable more employees to avoid peak-hour travel, especially if employees require the use of public transport. Timings of lunch and other breaks should also be staggered accordingly.

Are my employees and visitors required to wear a mask at all times at my workplace?Show

For general office workplaces, employers must ensure that employees and visitors wear a mask at all times at the workplace, except during activities that require masks to be removed or when individuals are alone in their own office with the door closed. Supplementary personal protective equipment is encouraged, whenever relevant (more guidelines can be found in sector-specific guidelines). This is in addition to other Safe Management Measures (e.g. safe distancing) that must be in place at the workplace.

Some examples of activities where the requirement for masks to be worn can be waived include mealtimes, or where other equipment must be worn during the course of work (e.g. motorcycle helmets).

In addition, if an individual is alone in his or her own office with the door closed, and no other person enters the room, the individual may remove his or her mask in the room. If the room door is opened or if there is any contact with people, a mask must be used.

Where possible, employers should consider improving the working environment for employees to enable them to wear their masks.

What type of personal protective equipment should my employees use? Can employees wear other types of PPEs (e.g. face shields) instead of surgical masks?Show

A mask that closely and completely covers the nose and mouth (i.e. without leaving a gap between the mask and the face) must be worn at all times when persons go out of their homes, including while at the workplace.

The following specific groups of persons can use a face shield, in place of masks:

  • Children 12 years and below, who may have difficulty wearing and keeping face masks on for a prolonged period of time.
  • Persons who have health conditions that may result in breathing or other medical difficulties when a mask is worn for a prolonged period of time.
  • Persons who are speaking to a group in a classroom or lecture-style setting, where they largely remain at the spot from which they are speaking, and are able to maintain a safe distance away from any other persons.

A face shield must be worn properly so that it covers the entire face, from the forehead to below the chin, wrapping around the sides of the face.

Plastic spit guards predominantly cover the mouth and are not considered as masks. Face coverings such as neck gaiters, bandannas, scarves or handkerchiefs are not considered as masks.

If the risk of encountering an infectious person is high (e.g. personnel has sustained contact with many other individuals throughout the course of their work), then surgical masks and other relevant PPEs should be used instead.

Yes. However, you need to split into multiple groups at different locations.

Each group must be capped at 50 persons. For example, if you have 100 persons, you need at least 2 groups, with each group in a different location.

You can use videoconferencing to link the groups.

You must ensure there is no intermingling between groups, including at common spaces such as pantries and lift lobbies. You should consider using:

  • Rooms on different floors
  • Different wings of the building
  • Separate buildings

Can my employees use employer-provided recreational facilities which are not located at the workplace?Show

Access to standalone recreational facilities which are located away from employees’ workplaces will depend on the re-opening plans for relevant permitted enterprises.

These facilities will also be subject to stricter Safe Management Measures (e.g. maintaining a distance of at least 2-3 metres from each other when engaging in any sporting activity or physical exercise).

When visiting such facilities, employees will still have to comply with the relevant Safe Management Measures put in place for that setting.


Take care of your workplace

What type of authorised visitors are allowed to visit my workplace?Show

Authorised visitors are those who visit the workplace for official reasons, including:

  • Suppliers or contractors who need to be physically onsite to deliver their goods and services.
  • Buyers who are onsite to collect their goods and services.
  • Visitors who need to attend a physical meeting within the workplace premises.

This excludes visitors who visit the workplace for leisure purposes.

Can I use an alternative visitor management system instead of SafeEntry?Show

Businesses must use SafeEntry to collect entry information of all employees and visitors on their premises. Businesses that need to use their current systems to collect additional data, e.g. employees’ ID, must ensure SafeEntry is implemented on top of their existing systems.

From 17 May 2021, all individuals must use TraceTogether (TT) app or token to check in at all premises.

What changes must businesses make to their SafeEntry check-in mode from 17 May 2021?Show

From 17 May 2021, only TraceTogether token or app can be used for SafeEntry check-ins. Other modes, such as scanning of identity cards, venue QR code through Singpass app or other QR code reader apps, will be discontinued.

Venues should allow entry to individuals who successfully check in to SafeEntry using their TraceTogether (TT) app or TT token.

Find out more about what businesses need to do.

Where can I find more information on SafeEntry?Show

You can visit the SafeEntry website for more information on the implementation and usage of SafeEntry.

In an office setting, would leaving an empty desk marked (e.g. with a cross) suffice for safe distancing? For barriers between workstations, are there guidelines for how high they need to be?Show

Employers must ensure clear physical spacing of at least 1 metre between persons at all times and demarcate safe physical distances (at least 1 metre apart) with visual indicators or physical means such as barriers between workstations.

If leaving an empty desk and demarcating clearly with visual indicators allows for at least 1 metre distancing between employees, such an approach can be considered. For barriers between workstations, while there are no specific height guidelines, the barriers should also facilitate the required safe physical distance of 1 metre apart.

How frequently should I clean my workplace, i.e. what is considered regular cleaning?Show

As the recommended frequency and intensity may differ by sector, businesses should refer to the sanitation and hygiene advisories disseminated by NEA.

Take care of workers who become unwell at the workplace

Do my employees who are working from home need to undergo regular temperature screening and declarations?Show

Employees who are working from home do not need to submit their temperatures or declarations.

However, they should continue to monitor their health conditions and see a doctor if needed.

I have implemented the snap work-from-home regime. Do I need to continue on 27 September 2021?Show

The snap work-from-home regime will be suspended from 27 September 2021. Work-from-home would be the default mode for employees whose job functions can be performed from home.

How do I apply for ART kits to be distributed to the workplace?Show

Companies who are not already subject to mandatory RRT will be eligible to voluntarily apply for 8 ART kits per onsite employee for weekly testing of their staff over a two- month period. The companies are also expected to report the ART results at the end of the two-month testing cycle. Companies can log on to the GoBusiness website to register. Kits obtained from this channel are fully funded by government, and companies are subjected to audit processes to ensure compliance.

How do I prevent outbreaks from starting at my workplace?Show

You can do your part to guard against outbreaks starting at your workplace through:

  • Adherence to Safe Management Measures at the workplace.
  • Ensuring employees at the workplace who have visited a clinic submit to you records of their Medical Certificates (MCs) and diagnoses provided (only for COVID-19-related symptoms, including acute respiratory infections), and if they were tested for COVID-19 and the results of their tests.
  • Advising employees who are unwell to stay home and consult a doctor rather than going to the workplace.
  • Requiring employees on MCs to closely monitor their health before returning to the workplace.
  • Requiring close contacts of employees on MCs to monitor their health more regularly.

What should the evacuation plan and follow-up plan include?Show

The evacuation plan should include the appointment of the emergency response team, established procedures for activation of response team, evacuation routes, identification of designated clinic and transport arrangements, etc.

The follow up plan should include follow up actions to contain the spread of the virus such as cordoning off and disinfecting of affected area, managing of employees that are in close contact with the confirmed case, etc.

Implement a system of Safe Management Measures

What should be included in my monitoring plan?Show

The monitoring plan should at minimum, include details on the steps taken to ensure the requirements are communicated and adhered to, and how any anomalies or non-compliance will be identified. The plan should also highlight risk mitigation strategies and proposed steps to remedy and document any non-compliance found.

You can refer to Annex B – Checklist of Safe Management Measures at the workplace for resumption of business activities for guidance on what should be included in the monitoring plan.

Who can we appoint as a Safe Management Officer?Show

Companies should appoint someone capable of carrying out the duties stated in MOM’s requirements for workplace Safe Management Measures within the organisation as the designated Safe Management Officers (SMOs). For unionised companies, union leaders or Workplace Safety and Health officers could be appointed as SMOs.

Companies should ensure that SMOs are provided with sufficient resources and guidance to carry out their duties effectively.

SMOs can be part-time appointments.

How do I ensure that my employees adhere to Safe Management Measures?Show

Employers are responsible for ensuring that Safe Management Measures are in place, communicated and explained to employees prior to resuming work. Signs should also be put up to remind employers and visitors to observe all measures in place.

Can my company be exempted from Safe Management Measures when my employees are vaccinated?Show

We are still monitoring the duration of the vaccine’s protection and its effectiveness in preventing transmission of COVID-19.

Until enough people are vaccinated, you should continue to practise public health measures such as workplace Safe Management Measures. This will help to continue protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Do I need to implement temperature screening for my employees?Show

No. This requirement has been lifted from 19 August 2021.

What should I take into consideration when engaging employees on returning to the workplace?Show

You are encouraged to have a transparent and open discussion with employees on the work arrangements, taking into consideration factors such as:

  • Business needs and nature of work, i.e. task requires employees to be physically in office.
  • Readiness of workforce, e.g. infrastructure, IT support, onboarding of new hires, etc.
  • Implications on remuneration package, e.g. savings from office space rental, transport allowances, etc.
  • Sensitivity towards certain groups of employees, i.e. older and more vulnerable employees, employees identified by MOH as not suitable to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, employees with caregiving needs.

Having a clear set of guidelines or workplace policies on the work arrangements would help prevent misunderstandings or disputes.

You may wish to refer to TAFEP's telecommuting guide for more details on implementing a sustainable telecommuting arrangement or work-life programmes that can be implemented at the workplace.

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