Issued on 9 May 2020
Updated as of 10 October 2022
- The tripartite partners (MOM, SNEF, and NTUC) have updated the workplace safe management measures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission at the workplace. These requirements are meant for general workplace settings.
- To keep your workplace resilient against risk of new COVID-19 variants or future outbreaks, employers should exercise vigilance and continue to implement measures to take care of your workers and workplace. You must also be prepared to respond when workers are infected, based on MOH’s Health Protocols.
A. Taking care of your workers
- With the lifting of Vaccination-Differentiated SMMs (VDS) from 10 October 2022, the tripartite partners are of the view that employers should take the decision to remove vaccination-differentiated requirements for access to the workplace. Nevertheless, if there are genuine occupational requirements, employers may continue implementing vaccination-related requirements for employees to access the workplace, taking into consideration the workplace health and safety and operational needs of their business, as a matter of company policy and in accordance with employment law. Employers and employees can refer to the Updated Advisory on COVID-19 Vaccination at the Workplace for more details on the arrangements.
- Employees1 returning to the workplace are encouraged to self-test when they feel unwell or had recent contact with an infected person. Employers are encouraged to continue to offer flexible work arrangements (FWAs) such as telecommuting and staggered work hours. FWAs have strengthened the resilience of workplaces during the pandemic, support employees’ work-life harmony and contribute to a more engaged and productive workforce and better talent attraction and retention.
- Mask wearing is optional for all workplaces except for healthcare facilities, residential care homes and public transport. For employees (and contractors and vendors) who are physically onsite at the workplace in these settings2, mask wearing is required indoors except when (i) not interacting in person with another individual present in that area and (ii) not in customer-facing areas where interaction is likely to happen3. Everyone is advised to exercise social responsibility by masking up when in crowded places or when in contact with vulnerable groups.
- In addition, employers are encouraged to support employees’ mental well-being during work (whether it is working from home or at the workplace). Employers can adopt the recommendations in the Tripartite Advisory on mental well-being at workplaces.
B. Taking care of your workplace
- Clean common spaces and touchpoints regularly in accordance with NEA’s advisory.
- Increase ventilation where possible, in accordance with advisories by NEA or BCA. You may also refer to WSH Council’s video on improving workplace ventilation. Employers can increase the mechanical airflow, open windows or doors to facilitate higher exchange of air. Employers are also encouraged to measure their carbon dioxide CO2 levels within the premises to keep within NEA’s guidelines of 800 parts per million (ppm).
C. What to do when workers are infected
- Workers should inform their employers if they are unwell, tested positive for COVID-19, or identified by MOH as a close contact of an infected person. Workers should follow MOH’s Health Protocol on isolation periods.
- Steps to take by employers: Upon notification that workers had been infected, employers are encouraged to take the following steps to reduce risk of workplace transmission:
- Establish if the colleagues had interacted with the infected worker recently (e.g. meals together with colleagues).
- Conduct ART on colleagues who had interacted with the infected worker and follow Health Protocols. There is no need to send them home if they are tested negative.
- Clean the area where the infected worker was working in accordance with NEA’s advisory. Deep cleaning of the premises is not required.
- Review the implementation of Safe Management Measures.
- Employers should also refer to the Advisory on work and leave arrangements for employees who test positive for COVID-19 but are mildly symptomatic or physically well.
- It is important that employers ensure that the risk of transmission at the workplace is reduced to as low as possible even as we transit to an endemic situation. Otherwise, employers may face severe disruption to their operations if more workers are infected.
D. Implement a system of Safe Management Measures
- Employers should maintain a system to implement the above SMM requirements in a sustainable manner so as to provide a safe working environment. This includes:
- Assess and identify the risks of transmission of COVID-19 that may arise in the workplace, and to mitigate it.
- A detailed monitoring plan to ensure compliance with SMMs and timely resolution of outstanding issues.
- Communicate and explain measures to employees so as to reduce misunderstanding especially in measures related to working from home.
(refer to Annex B for a checklist of SMM)
- The appointed Safe Management Officer(s) (“SMO”) should assist in the implementation, coordination and monitoring of the system at the workplace. The roles of the Officer(s) include:
- Coordinate implementation of Safe Management Measures, including identifying relevant risks, recommending and assisting in implementing measures to mitigate the risks, and communicating the measures to all personnel working in the workplace;
- Conduct inspections and checks to ensure compliance. Any non-compliance found during the inspections should be reported and documented;
- Assist the employer to rectify the non-compliance found during the inspections and checks through immediate action; and
- Keep records of inspections, checks and corrective actions, to be made available upon request by a Government Inspector.
- You may refer to the frequently asked questions on Safe Management Measures at the workplace. For further queries, please contact:
Ministry of Manpower
Ministry of Health
MOH Emergency Line 1800 333 9999
- Employers should note that interns, part-time staff, etc. who are under a contract of service are also employees.
- Please refer to MOH’s advisory on the premises where mask wearing is required.
- The requirement for masks to be worn can be waived when carrying out, in the course of employment, an activity that requires that no mask may be worn, or that it must be removed in order that other equipment may be worn or used, to carry out that activity, or when riding a motorcycle in the course of employment or otherwise.