Tuesday, July 7, 2020

COVID-19: Factories to implement anti-stigma policy

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Alan Kyerematen, the Minister of Trade and Industry, on Thursday urged all factories and other industrial processing establishments to implement an anti-stigma policy for COVID-19, stating “that no employee should be discriminated against”.

“Employees should not be stigmatized or be sacked if they test positive to COVID-19. Employers must engage the services of experts to provide psychological and emotional support for COVID-19 positive employees and their families,” Mr Kyerematen stated in Accra

The Trade Minister said this at the meet the press series, which was organised by the Ministry of Information to give an update on COVID-19.

The Minister said: “Employers must ensure workplace confidentiality for employees”.

Mr Kyeremanten said factories and other industrial processing establishments must stop employees with mild cough or low-grade fever from coming to work and seek medical care.

He also encouraged employers to stagger work schedules by breaking the workforce into shifts.

The Trade Minister said factories and other industrial processing establishments must limit in-house meetings as much as possible and use online conference platforms; adding that; “If unavoidable, sitting arrangements should follow social distance protocols”.

He said if possible employers should allow staff to work virtually if feasible.

He said factories and enterprises with more than 29 employees must provide a Registered Nurse on site.

Mr Kyeremanten said as part of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, factories and industrial processing establishments must carry out periodic fumigation of premises, machines and equipment.

He said also that industries and factories with more than 29 employees must dedicate One Room within the factory premises as a holding room to immediately house or quarantine anyone who was suspected to be showing symptoms and signs of COVID-19 and be isolated from others while making arrangements for evacuation.

He urged them to follow established evacuation procedures if a worker becomes sick and has to be evacuated.

He said factories and industrial processing establishments must form COVID-19 in-house Inspection taskforce and that members should be trained in Health Promotion and Prevention Measures, and Evacuation Protocols.

“If a person is confirmed positive for COVID-19, the workplace COVID-19 taskforce must link up with the local health authorities to ensure all contacts are traced, tested, and treated,” he said.

The Trade Minister said employers must have Staff Attendance monitoring mechanisms, either electronic or manual.

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