Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Gov’t details safety measures to stop COVID-19 infections at workplaces

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Following the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases at workplaces across the country, the government has outlined safety measures to guide institutions in tackling the spread of the virus at their premises.

The government has raised concerns that available case management data show that most of the new COVID-19 cases were from corporate organisations, hence the need for institutional measures to curb the spread of the virus.

Key amongst the enhanced protocol is the restriction of employees with mild coughs and cold from the workplace, rotation of employees, and a reduction in internal meetings.

Additionally, companies with a staff strength of more than 29 are mandated to have a registered nurse at their facilities.

Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kojo Kyerematen who announced the measures at government’s bi-weekly COVID-19 press briefing on Thursday, June 25, 2020, cautioned that these protocols must be followed to help the country’s fight against the pandemic.

“Stop employees with mild cough or fever from coming to work. Schedule work by breaking the workforce into shifts. Also, limit in-house meetings as much as possible and use online conference platforms. If unavoidable, sitting arrangements should follow social distancing protocols. Employers should allow staff to work virtually if possible. Obviously, with most industrial establishments, you need to be on the top floor, but particularly for administrative staff, it should be possible for you to help them work virtually. Also, factories and enterprises with more than 29 employees are required to provide a registered nurse on site,” he outlined.

Enhancing safety protocols

Meanwhile, Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has asked organizations to intensify their safety measures to stem the spread of the virus among staff members.

“Some of the new cases that are coming are predominately coming from workplaces. While we are tempted to believe that it is coming from the general community spread, the details are suggesting that most of the significant numbers are concentrated within workplaces. We have to take the safety protocols very seriously because as I am suggesting, the data tells us that the significant number of the new cases that we are recording are coming from workplaces,” he added.

Some institutional cases 

In May 2020, over 500 workers at a Tema-based fish processing factory- Pioneer Food Cannery were infected with the virus after one worker contracted the disease.

Many Ghanaians received the information with anxiety, especially within the Tema region.

The spread at the factory garnered international attention as it was the largest number of confirmed cases within a single organization in Ghana.

Some even called for the company to be sanctioned over purported negligence and failure to put in place adequate precautionary measures.

Also, in the Eastern Region, some engineers working on the Tema to Mpakadan railway project at the AFCON camp B at Kpong tested positive for the virus.

Aside from these, some other organizations including health facilities and educational institutions have recorded cases of Coronavirus infections.

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