COVID-19 Workplace Spread: Taskforce constituted to monitor compliance of protocols

Ignatius Baffour Awuah, Minister Designate for Employment and Labour Relations

The Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations and the Tripartite Partners comprising representatives from government, employers and organised labour have set up a taskforce to monitor the adherence levels to the COVID-I9 safety protocols and guidelines at the workplace.

The taskforce, composed of top personnel from the Labour Department (LD) and the Department of Factories Inspectorate (DFI) are to monitor compliance with COVID-I9 safety protocols and guidelines during workplace inspections and report to the Ministry on a fortnightly basis.

The move has become imperative as the Ghana Health Service has noted that workplace spread is fast fueling the new COVID-19 wave currently being experienced by the country.  The government has asked organizations to strengthen their safety measures to curb the spread of the pandemic among staff.

In the past three COVID-19 press briefing organized by the Ministry of Information, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Kumah-Aboagye has emphasized the role businesses can play to help curb the spread of the virus, requesting the managers of both public and private companies and organizations, to enhance observation of COVID-19 etiquettes at the various workplaces to help stem the tide.

At the meeting, chaired by the representative of the President at the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations and attended by Minister Designate for Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour Awuah and the Tripartite Partners some other workplace safety guidelines were agreed.

The safety guidelines, as mentioned in a statement to all businesses said: “all employers should provide and enforce the usage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and related facilities for the safety and health of workers in compliance with COVID-I9 safety and health protocols.

Also, all workplaces should constitute Safety Committees to deal with issues concerning COVID-19.  The Safety Committees should appoint focal persons who will have the responsibility of liaising with health professionals in the event of an outbreak of the virus. The names of Safety Committee members should be displayed on notice boards and at vantage points in all workplaces. It shall be the responsibility of Safety Committees to educate workers on personal safety and hygiene to avoid spread of the virus at workplaces.

Again, employers should create an enabling environment for physical distancing at workplaces through well demarcated intervals of at least one metre intervals. Employers are also encouraged to consider the introduction of appropriate shift systems for their employees and allow those who can work from home to do so without compromising standards and productivity. As much as possible, all conferences, durbars and meetings should be held via virtual platforms.

Employers should make sure workplaces are fumigated and disinfected. A schedule for the fumigation and disinfection should be pasted on notice boards for the information of workers and other stakeholders.

Unions/Workers Associations should educate their members on the shared responsibility of promoting personal safety to avoid spread of the virus by wearing face masks and ensuring strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols at the workplace as well as in their homes and communities.  Employers and unions should collaborate and cooperate at the enterprise level through social dialogue to deal with the impact of COVID-19 on the sustainability of their respective Enterprises.

Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) should set up COVID-19 Committees, intensify public education in markets, lorry parks and other public places. They should also enforce strict compliance with all protocols concerning the virus.

The law on wearing face masks in vehicles and at all public places as well as all other restrictions imposed concerning mass gathering must be enforced by the relevant authorities.

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