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Requirements for Safe Management Measures at the workplace

From 1 January 2022, employers must ensure that unvaccinated employees do not return to the workplace.1 These individuals are at a higher risk of falling seriously ill from COVID-19 infection and putting a strain on our healthcare capacity. Please refer to the Updated Advisory on COVID-19 Vaccination at the Workplace for more details on work arrangements for unvaccinated employees.

Read the sector-specific guidelines and infographic on Safe Management Measures at the workplace.

Issued on 9 May 2020
Updated as of 23 October 2021

  1. 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.
  2. These requirements are meant for general workplace settings. Specific workplaces like construction worksites and shipyards may have to fulfil additional requirements and should refer to sector-specific requirements.2
  3. Agencies including MOM, Building and Construction Authority (BCA), Economic Development Board (EDB) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) will continue to enforce safe management measures and take action against errant employers. This may include issuing stop-work orders and financial penalties.

    Safe Management Measures
  4. Workplaces remain one of the common places where the highly transmissible Delta variant has been found to spread between workers. To ensure COVID-safe workplaces, employers need to take care of your workers and workplace. You should also be prepared to respond when workers are infected, based on MOH’s Health Protocols.

    A. Taking care of your workers
  5. The following measures are put in place to slow the rate of transmission and minimise strain on our healthcare capacity.
    1. Work-from-home remains the default. Employers must ensure that employees3 whose job functions can be performed from home are required to work from home. For those who need to be onsite (either they are unable to work from home or returning for ad-hoc reasons) they are encouraged to self-test weekly via an Antigen Rapid Test (ART).
    2. Unvaccinated employees are not to return to the workplace unless they have a negative Antigen Rapid Test (ART) administered via a Pre-Event Test (PET) at an MOH-approved COVID-19 test provider 24 hours before the expected end of work.1 This will take effect from 1 January 2022. Employers and employees can refer to the Updated Advisory on COVID-19 Vaccination at the Workplace for more details on work arrangements for unvaccinated employees. Employers may check their company’s vaccination rate through The Workforce Vaccination Checker (Corppass login required), from 9am on Monday 25 October.
  6. For employees (and also contractors and vendors) who are physically onsite at the workplace, employers must ensure the following:
    1. Wear masks at all times, except during activities that require masks to be removed.4
    2. No social gatherings at the workplace. Employees should have their meal breaks at the workplace individually.
    3. Stagger start times and allow flexible workplace hours:5 This will spread out staff across time and place, and reduce possible congregation of employees at common spaces at or near the workplace, such as entrances, exits, lobbies, canteens, and pantries.
    4. No cross-deployment across worksites:6 No employee should work at more than one worksite. If cross-deployment cannot be avoided (e.g. due to the nature of the job), additional safeguards must be taken to minimise the risk of cross infection.7
    5. Work-related events8 are subjected to the following requirements9
      1. The number of persons per event must be capped at 50 persons to limit the risk of exposure to infection.
      2. Attendees must maintain at least 1 metre safe distancing between individual attendees, as per the requirement at the workplace.
      3. Meals should not be the main feature of the event, i.e. they should only be served if incidental to the workplace event. The food must be served individually with the participants seated while consuming. Participants should minimise the time that they are unmasked while eating.
      4. Work-related events held at third-party venues will also be subject to any additional premises owners' safe management policies.
  7. In addition, employers are encouraged to:
    1. Support their 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.
    2. 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.

    B. Take care of the workplace
  8. Use SafeEntry / TraceTogether to record the entry of all personnel (including employees and visitors) entering the workplace. This is to help MOH in establishing potential transmission chains.
  9. Demarcate safe distances (at least 1m apart) using visual indicators in work areas, meeting rooms, pantries, canteens, etc.
  10. Minimise need for physical touchpoints: Employers should reduce the occurrences of, or need for common physical touchpoints in the workplace where possible (e.g. contactless access controls). Employers can adopt contactless delivery modes for suppliers or customers where possible.
  11. Clean common spaces regularly and provide disinfecting agents. Common spaces include entrances, lifts lobbies, meeting rooms, pantries as well as shared machinery and equipment should be cleaned in accordance with NEA’s advisory. Employees are encouraged to observe good personal hygiene by washing or sanitizing their hands regularly.
  12. Increase ventilationwhere possible, in accordance with advisories by NEA or BCA.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 content within the premise to keep within NEA’s guidelines of 800 parts per million (ppm).

    C. What to do when workers are infected
  13. MOH has simplified the Health Protocols as follows:
    1. Protocol 1 – You are unwell: visit a Swab And Send Home clinic via private transport for a doctor to assess and advise on your next steps.
    2. Protocol 2 – You are well but tested positive: self-isolate at home for 72 hours and repeat the ART after. End isolation when ART result is negative.
    3. Protocol 3 – You are identified by MOH as a close contact of a COVID-19 case (Health Risk Warning): On Day 1, take an ART and upload results at go.gov.sg/agsubmit. Thereafter, observe a 7-day monitoring period, during which you can leave your house including for work after testing negative via an ART self-test on the given day.
  14. 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. This is similar to when workers are unwell (MC from doctor) and are unable to work.
  15. Steps to take by employers:Upon notification that worker/s had been infected, employers are encouraged to take the following steps to reduce risk of workplace transmission:
    1. Establish if the colleagues had interacted with the infected worker recently (e.g. meals together with colleagues).
    2. 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.
    3. Clean the area where the infected worker was working in accordance with NEA’s advisory. There is no longer a need to conduct deep cleaning of the premise.
    4. Review the implementation of Safe Management Measures.
  16. 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
  17. Employers must establish a system to implement the SMMs in a sustainable manner so as to provide a safe working environment. This includes:
    1. A detailed monitoring plan to ensure compliance with SMMs and timely resolution of outstanding issues.10
    2. Communicate and explain measures to employees so as to reduce misunderstanding especially in measures related to working from home.
    3. Signs should also be put up to remind employees and visitors to observe all measures in place.
    4. Unionised companies should engage their unions on such arrangements.

    (refer to Annex B for a checklist of SMM)
  18. Appoint Safe Management Officer(s) (“SMO”) to assist in the implementation, coordination and monitoring of the system at the workplace. The roles of the Officer(s) include:
    1. 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;
    2. Conduct inspections and checks to ensure compliance. Any non-compliance found during the inspections should be reported and documented;
    3. Assist the employer to rectify the non-compliance found during the inspections and checks through immediate action; and
    4. Keep records of inspections, checks and correction actions, to be made available upon request by a Government Inspector.
  19. Employees should also do their part in adhering to the measures to create a safe working environment. Those who wish to report breaches or poor practices can report to MOM.
  20. You may refer to the frequently asked questions on Safe Management Measures at the workplace. For further queries, please contact:

    Ministry of Manpower
    Online enquiry
    www.mom.gov.sg

    Ministry of Health
    MOH Emergency Line 1800 333 9999
    Online enquiry
    www.moh.gov.sg


FOOTNOTE

  1. From 1 January 2022, employers must ensure only the following employees can return to the workplace: (i) employees who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine under the National Vaccination Programme or WHO Emergency Use Listing and their respective post-vaccination duration, (ii) employees who have recovered from COVID-19 within the past 270 days, (iii) unvaccinated employees who have tested negative for COVID-19 within 24 hours of returning to the workplace, via a Pre-Event Test at an MOH-approved COVID-19 test provider. Employees who are medically ineligible for all the vaccines under the National Vaccination Programme, including Sinovac, are exempted from the testing requirement above if they need to work on-site.
  2. For example, refer to BCA for construction, ESG for F&B and retail, EDB for marine and process sectors. More info about the various sector-specific requirements
  3. Employers should note that interns, part-time staff, etc. who are under a contract of service are also employees
  4. 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.
  5. Workplace hours here refers to the hours spent at the physical workplace.
  6. This will not apply to industries / companies that need to do so due to the nature of their work. Such companies will be required to demonstrate that cross-deployment or interaction between employees is critical for business operations, when requested by MOM or their sector agencies.
  7. E.g. systems are in place to ensure no direct contact between the cross-deployed personnel.
  8. This refers to events that involve employees or stakeholders, such as conferences/ seminars, corporate retreats, staff training sessions, Annual General Meetings and Extraordinary General Meetings.

    If there are external persons (who are not employees or contractors who regularly deliver goods or services to the workplace) at the event, the event should minimise activities that require masks to be removed such as serving of meals or high intensity exercises.

    If such mask-off activities are unavoidable at an event where external persons are present, all attendees of the event are required to be fully vaccinated (or in lieu of that, recovered from COVID-19 or have a valid COVID-19 negative test result).
  9. This is separate and distinct from MICE events approved by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
  10. E.g. follow-up on non-compliance and efforts to mitigate risks.

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