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Workplace task force on adherence to COVID-19 protocols to be constituted

BY: Emelia Ennin Abbey
• Mr Ignatius Michael Baffour Awuah — The Minister-designate for Employment and Labour Relations

The National Tripartite Committee (NTC) has directed the Labour Department (LD) and the Department of Factories Inspectorate (DFI) to constitute a joint task force to monitor compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols and guidelines at workplaces to curb the spread of the virus.

Employers have also been directed to constitute safety committees in their respective organisations to deal with the emerging issues of COVID-19.

Furthermore, employers are to ensure that the names of members of their safety committees are displayed on notice boards and at vantage points at the workplaces.

The safety committees will be responsible for educating workers on personal safety and hygiene.

The joint task force will report to the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations on a fortnightly basis, while the safety committees are to appoint focal persons to liaise with health professionals in the event of an outbreak of the virus at the workplaces.

Statement

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations in Accra last Wednesday, the NTC came up with the directive after an emergency meeting on the pandemic on February 4, 2021.

The meeting, which was chaired by the Minister-designate for Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah, was part of efforts to complement measures instituted by the government to fight the pandemic.

The tripartite partners, comprising representatives of the government, employers and organised labour, reviewed their guidelines on the fight against the COVID-19 at workplaces and came up with the new measures.

Enabling environment

Employers were also asked to create enabling environments for physical distancing at workplaces through well demarcated intervals of at least one metre.

They must also consider the introduction of appropriate shift systems for their employees and allow those who could 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," it added.

Employers were also asked to fumigate and disinfect workplaces, including publishing schedules for the fumigation and disinfection on their notice boards and other channels.

On unions or workers’ associations, the committee urged them to educate their members on the shared responsibility of promoting personal safety to avoid the spread of the virus by wearing face masks and observing the safety protocols at the workplaces, 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 the COVID-19 on the sustainability of their respective enterprises," it said.

It further called on metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) to set up COVID-19 committees and also intensify public education at the markets, lorry parks and other public places.

"The law on the wearing of face masks in vehicles and at public places, as well as all other restrictions on mass gatherings, must be strictly enforced by the relevant authorities," it added.