No employee should be discriminated against, stigmatized or sacked because they have tested positive for COVID-19 infection – Trade Minister
With stigmatization rife in the current COVID-19 pandemic, the trade and industry minister Alan Kyeremanten in a press briefing organised by the information minstry advised factories to implement an anti-stigmatization policy and also constantly indulge in fumigation of machines and establishment.
The minister for trade and industry posited that, “no employee should be discriminated against, stigmatized or sacked because they have tested positive for COVID-19 infection”.
He also added that, “industries and factories with more than 29 employees must dedicate at least one room within the factory premises as a holding room to immediately house or quarantine anyone who is suspected to be showing symptoms and signs of infections”.
Mr. Kyeremanten, also spoke on the impact of COVID-19 on trade and industries as part of the COVID-19 updates initiated by the ministry of information.
Under the trade and industrial sector, the minister considered two categories of workplaces, which are factories and other processing establishments and retail outlets and shopping malls.
The minister in his address highlighted on the existing protocols and measures that must be observed in factories.
Social distancing protocols
“With respect to social distancing protocols, what we are advising is, company buses and public transport for workers to and from work must observe very strict social distancing protocols”, he said.
Also he re-echoed the need for workflow adjustments including staff rotation at the factory and shop floors, as well as customer service protocols which includes floor markings to ensure social distancing protocols.
According to the minister, “currently there are some industrial companies that are already observing this but you can believe me, there are many others who have no idea what needs to be done”.
Sanitary protocols also featured prominently in his speech as he advised the continued regiment of hand washing under running water with soap, provision of hand sanitizers and enhanced regular cleaning, disinfection of regular use of surfaces and the use of nose masks.
He said, “it must be clear that the no face mask no entry policy must be observed and then also particularly for purposes of industrial establishments, the use of gloves for workers who previously did not require the use of protection gear”.
“Now these are existing protocols, but we also propose enhanced restrictions which we believe are critical if we want to keep our industrial establishment safe”.
In the enhanced restriction guidelines, he iterated that factories must stop employees with mild fever or low-grade fever from coming to work. Also, factories and other processing establishment must stagger work schedules by breaking the workforce into shifts.
Similarly, he advised they limit in-house meetings as much as possible and use online conference platforms and where unavoidable sitting arrangement should follow social distance protocols. Employees are also entreated to allow staff work virtually under the enhanced restrictions if possible.
Honorable Alan Kyeremanten in similar vein tasked factories with over twenty nine (29) staff to provide an in-house nurse.
He said, “If our factories and our industries are not practicing these measures, they are required to practice them now and that is the most important message that we are carrying across today”.