The Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI), has published 11 strict measures for all business to comply with in making the workplace safe for workers. The move is to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 at the workplace in some parts of the country; a situation adversely impacting on government’s efforts to fight the virus.
After an emergency meeting between stakeholders, the general consensus for employers and all organisations was to strictly comply with the social distancing and other protocols that have been outlined by the Ghana Health Service.
The meeting was arranged after the Ghana Health Service declared the workplace as one of the stations driving the country’s COVID-19 case into exponential numbers, following the 533 cases recorded at an industrial plant in Tema and also the about-20 cases recorded at the Obuasi Market.
The communique from the meeting also urged all business to create COVID-19 reporting avenues for workers who have come into contact with persons tested positive to report and have the issue handled in a discreet and professional manner to prevent stigmatisation.
“We want a situation wherein employees will not be afraid of stigmatization or losing their jobs if they go and even test for coronavirus. We are in hard times, and the last thing one would want is to lose a job. Therefore, there must be a way that employees can report COVID-19 issues and still feel safe in the community and workplace,” the CEO of GEA, Alex Frimpong, told the B&FT in an interview.
The measures are outlined below
- Handwashing: Facilities must be provided at entry points by all organisations to ensure regular and frequent washing of hands by all workers, customers and visitors at all times.
- Use of sanitisers: All organisations have an obligation to provide hand sanitisers for use by workers, visitors and customers at all times.
- Wearing of Nose masks: All organisations are to ensure a ‘No Mask No Entry’’ policy.
- Supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): All organisations must endeavour to provide their workers with PPEs and to ensure that they are utilised.
- Transport: Organisations that provide transport for workers to and from work must ensure a ‘No Mask No Entry’ boarding policy.
*All buses must also have hand sanitisers at the entry points.
*Strict social distancing must be observed while on board the vehicle by ensuring reduction of the number of workers who can board the vehicle while conveying them to and from work.
- Regular cleaning: Organisations must ensure cleaning of door-handles, handrails, tables, chairs and other objects/surfaces that are likely to be regularly/frequently touched by workers.
- Canteen/Eatery/Cloakrooms: There must be strict compliance with the social distancing protocols in these areas in order to avoid infection of workers.
- Disposal of Used Nose Masks/PPEs: Organisations must ensure environmentally friendly disposal of used masks and other appliances in order to avoid contamination and infection of the workers.
- Temperature Checks: Organisations must endeavour to provide facilities for mandatory checking of temperature of all workers, visitors and customers at the entry point of their premises as well as staff buses.
- Disclosure/Confidentiality Policy: Organisations are required to adopt disclosure policies that encourage workers or their families who show symptoms of COVID-19 to disclose their status to their employers in order to seek help.
- Cooperation with MOH/GHS: All organisations are obliged to cooperate with the COVID-19 team of the MOH/GHS in the event that they request to trace and test any worker in their respective organisations. The team equally has a responsibility to ensure that such exercise does not injure or stigmatise the reputation of the organisation and affected worker respectively.