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FAQs on Safe Management Measures at the workplace after Circuit Breaker period

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, and when does it come in force?Show

From 12 May 2020 onwards, all businesses allowed to operate will be required to have implemented the Safe Management Measures in the requirements, including those already operating during the Circuit Breaker period.

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

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 will be allowed to gradually resume operations from 12 May 2020. Companies that fall under the list of activities and services do not need to apply before resuming operations. Please go to https://covid.gobusiness.gov.sg for more details.

As we bring down the number of new COVID-19 cases, we will progressively reopen businesses. The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) will announce more details in due course. Employees who are able to telecommute should still continue to do so.

Is it possible for my business to resume operations earlier if I have implemented all Safe Management Measures at my workplace?Show

To prevent the re-emergence of community cases, we will need to open up the economy gradually, and not all at once. In general, sectors that allow us to trade with the world and access critical supplies will start first. Sectors that attract high traffic and social interactions will have to wait, and also put in place additional safe measures before restarting progressively.

You can resume business operations only if your company falls under MTI’s list of activities and services that are allowed to resume operations, and your company has implemented all required Safe Management Measures at your workplace.

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 which 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 will be fined up to $10,000 or jailed up to 6 months, or both. Repeated non-compliance will be fined up to $20,000 or jailed 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; and
  • 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 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 workplaces in general. 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 which have employees that are deployed to other sites should 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, 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.

If you are the owner of a company that is not in the list of permitted services, you may go to your business facility to take care of crucial tasks that cannot be done remotely or to retrieve necessary materials or documents.

Otherwise, if you need to activate your employees to work onsite for short periods of time (i.e. less than a day), you can apply to MTI for a time-limited exemption. If you need to maintain a skeletal workforce at the workplace for longer periods, you should apply for a general exemption.

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 covid_gobusiness@mti.gov.sg 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 via SnapSAFE, an app that allows the reporting of workplace safety and health issues to MOM.

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

Implement Safe Management Measures at your workplace

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 Officer(s) (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.

Reduce physical interaction and ensure safe distancing at your workplace

Are companies which are resuming operations in Phase 1 required to ensure that their employees work from home?Show

The default mode of working for all companies (including for companies resuming operations in Phases 1 and 2) should be telecommuting.

Those who have been working from home so far should continue to do so, and employees should go to the office only where it is demonstrably necessary, e.g. to access specialised systems/equipment that cannot be accessed from home, or to fulfil legal requirements (e.g. to complete contracts or transactions).

To this end, all employers should provide the facilities necessary and direct every worker to work from home, as far as reasonably practicable.

Refer to MOM’s Safe Management Measures requirements at the workplace, which include ensuring that employees telecommute where possible, and a list of resources such as technology solutions and grants available to assist companies.

Checks will be conducted. Businesses whose employers do not provide a safe workplace, ensure employees work from home where possible, or whose workers do not adhere to safe management measures, may have to close their workplaces.

Visit MTI’s website for more information on the phased approach for the re-opening of our economy.

Is there a minimum percentage or number of workers that employers must place on work from home arrangements?Show

The overarching objective of the requirements is to reduce physical interactions in the workplace in order to minimise spread of COVID-19. Employers should focus on providing the facilities necessary and directing every worker to work from home, as far as reasonably practicable. The proportion of employees that can do so will vary in different workplaces and sectors due to differing operational requirements.

The onus is on employers to show that they have made a reasonable effort to facilitate working from home for all days and at all times, including reviewing and transforming business processes through technology to support remote working, e.g. e-payment, e-invoicing, e-signatures.

Annex A of the Safe Management Measures provides a list of resources such as technology solutions and grants available to assist companies.

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

The overarching objective of these regulations is to reduce physical interactions in order to prevent spread of COVID-19. Employers are required to provide the facilities necessary and direct every worker to work from home, as far as reasonably practicable.

If employees are genuinely unable to work from home, they can be allowed to continue working in the workplace, subject to the implementation of all other Safe Management measures such as staggered working hours and physical safe distancing measures. Employers should be prepared to demonstrate the reasons for the employee’s being unable to work from home.

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

For employees who are still working in the workplace, employers must demonstrate the business or operational reasons why the workers 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.

At the same time, 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 to enable them to work from home, including temporarily redeploying these employees to another role within the company that is suitable for working from home.

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 1m between persons at all times and demarcate safe physical distances (at least 1m apart) with visual indicators or physical means such as barriers between work stations.

If leaving an empty desk and demarcating clearly with visual indicators allows for at least 1m 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 1m apart.

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) or Work-Life Grant (WLG) for flexible work arrangements to support business transformation and put in place flexible work arrangements to minimise spread of COVID-19 (e.g. work from home, staggered hours).

Will I be penalised if I'm unable to fully implement shift or split team arrangements or avoid cross-deployment in my workplace due to the nature of my business?Show

If shift or split team arrangements or cross-deployment cannot be avoided due to the nature of the job, additional safeguards must be taken to minimise the risk of cross infection, e.g. systems are in place to ensure no direct contact with the cross-deployed personnel.

Other Safe Management Measures should still be adhered to in order to ensure a safe working environment and minimise outbreaks.

The advisory states that special attention should be paid to vulnerable employees (e.g. older employees, pregnant employees and employees who have underlying medical conditions) to enable them to work from home. What is the age to be considered as older employee and how can companies support them? What if they can’t work from home?Show

Generally, workers aged around 55 and above are considered to be senior workers. However, employers are encouraged to assess the vulnerability of all employees regardless of age.

Those who are more vulnerable should be allowed to work from home where reasonably practical. Employers should enable this by reviewing the work processes and providing the necessary IT equipment to 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 which will allow them to do so.

If there is no possible redeployment for vulnerable employees’ work to be performed from home, he/she can still be deployed to work in the company premises. The company however, must ensure that safe distancing measures such as ensuring clear physical spacing of at least 1 metre between persons at all times are implemented.

Support contact tracing

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

From 12 May onwards, businesses are required to use SafeEntry to collect entry information of employees and visitors on their premises.

Businesses that need to retain the use of their current system for the collection of data that are not required in the SafeEntry system (e.g. purpose of visit, employee’s ID number) are required to implement SafeEntry on top of their existing system.

The use of SafeEntry is mandatory because a common system used by all establishments would allow data to be made available to MOH quickly, so as to facilitate contact tracing. SafeEntry allows the data of visitors and employee data to be sent the authorities in an automated manner. Contact data collected by SafeEntry is only used by authorised personnel for contact tracing purposes, and stringent measures are in place to safeguard the data in accordance with the Government’s data security standards.

SafeEntry is already implemented for my building, (e.g. malls), do tenants within the building have to implement SafeEntry as well?Show

As part of safe workplace measures, all venues and facilities found listed on https://www.safeentry.gov.sg/deployment will have to implement SafeEntry for employees and visitors.

This includes office tenants/workplaces where there is a SafeEntry checkpoint at the main building entrance.

Read the FAQs on SafeEntry for more details.

Who will be liable if an employee or visitor has not recorded their entry and exit using SafeEntry?Show

Businesses whose operations fall under the list of places must ensure the use of SafeEntry for all employees and visitors entering premises.

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.

Personal protective equipment and observing good personal hygiene

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. 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).

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; and
  • 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.

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.

Ensure cleanliness of your workplace

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.

Implement health checks and protocols to manage potential cases

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

Employees who are offsite (e.g. 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.

What is the frequency of health declaration required?Show

Health declarations should be done daily prior to entry into workplace premises. This must be done regardless of whether the employee is working at the employer’s premises, or at a client’s worksite.

Temperature screening and respiratory checks should be conducted twice daily for employees.

Can I fulfil the requirements for temperature screening, respiratory checks and relevant declarations via the deployment of SafeEntry?Show

Yes, declarations by individuals via SafeEntry can be used to fulfil the requirements for temperature screening, respiratory checks and relevant declarations. Employers are reminded that temperature and respiratory symptom checks for employees have to be conducted twice daily at minimum, and for visitors prior to entry.

Employers are not required to keep declaration records for inspection purposes but must be able to demonstrate that regular checks for temperature and respiratory symptoms are in place during inspections. This could include facilities set up to screen temperature or records of temperature checks.

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.