The COVID-19 pandemic has not hit Hong Kong as hard compared to other countries, however, despite the few cases reported, new cases do emerge from time to time and are at risk of spreading like wildfire. Hence, proper precautions are still being undertaken by the Hong Kong government in order to curb the transmission of the disease.
For businesses that seek to continue operations at their workplaces, employers must put in place and enforce safe management measures at the workplace, and adhere strictly to them. Random checks by the authorities will be conducted from time to time, and businesses that are found non-compliant with these regulations will be forced to close their workplaces.
In light of these new measures set in place by the Hong Kong government to curb the spread of COVID-19, we have compiled a list of measures every business should be aware off and ought to take in order to be compliant with the new regulations, safeguard the health of their employees and to be able to operate their businesses with optimal efficiency with less worry.
1. Minimise socialising. Ensure clear physical spacing of at least 1 metre between persons at all times.
While at work, all personnel should not be encouraged to socialise in and out of the workplace, and their meals and breaks should be taken separately in order to minimise physical contact. Safe physical distances should also be demarcated where people usually congregate. It is also advisable to limit the number of sessions and attendees for physical meetings and to conduct them online preferably.
2. Practice good hygiene and step up cleaning of premises
All personnel should also observe good personal hygiene by constantly washing their hands and sanitizing whenever necessary. Employers should provide cleaning and disinfecting agents at toilets, hand washing areas, human stoppage points (entrances), meeting rooms, common spaces and step up the cleaning of workplace premises.
3. Adhere to travel advisories and control access to workplace only to essential employees and authorised visitors
- Personnel who are found to be unwell (high temperature) are to be rejected entry. If visitors arrive without a mask, they should also be denied entry into the premises. It is imperative that everybody returning to work continue to wear their masks at all times. Employers must provide sufficient masks for all of their employees in order to enforce this rule.
- They must also declare their health information, such as they are not under quarantine order or stay at home notice, or to have had close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days; and are not exhibiting fever/flu-like symptoms.
- Businesses should also minimise need for physical touchpoints. It is advisable to adopt contactless access controls rather than a fingerprint device that could result in the spread of bacteria. If physical contact is needed, they should be disinfected frequently.
- Regular checks for temperature and respiratory symptoms for all onsite employees and visitors should be conducted constantly. These should be conducted twice daily or wherever relevant; employers also must demonstrate this measure is in place during routine inspections by authorities.
With all these new measures in place, it can be quite a tedious process to constantly and effectively manage it, especially if you need to assign particular personnel to standby entry and exit points to constantly monitor everybody’s temperature and fill out health declaration forms.
With JustLogin’s SafeClock device that is integrated with JustLogin cloud-based HR Management System, safety management measures for your company becomes automated and a whole lot easier. SafeClock is your assistant to scan the temperature of employees and visitors automatically all day long. When fever is detected, administrators will instantly be notified on JustLogin’s HR management system and visitors could be rejected entry. SafeClock would allow businesses to monitor visitors and enforce entry based on registered users, temperature and mask detection. Registered employees will be identified via facial recognition. Unregistered visitors will have their photos and time of entry captured for contact tracing.
4. Stagger work and break hours among employees
It is imperative that not all your workforce go back to the workplace at the same time. Staggered work hours should be in place, and must be over at least three 1-hour blocks (e.g. 8 am to 5pm, 9 am to 6pm, 10 am to 7pm) with no more than half of employees reporting to work within each block. If possible, work hours should try and avoid peak-travelling hours to minimise possibility of contact.
However, if all these are not possible due to the nature of their work (e.g. manufacturing production line activities), businesses will then have to implement other measures to prevent mass congregation of staff, e.g. require employees to arrive in different entrances/exits. JustLogin’s fully automated attendance tracking module, allows for staggered shift management to ensure that you are able to manage your employees’ work shifts efficiently. Hence, it will be very easy for employers to implement shift or split team arrangements. This will ensure that there are no cross-deployment or interactions between employees of different teams or shifts even outside work.
It should also be mandatory that employees cannot work in more than one team/worksite. Employees should also try to step up cleaning of common areas when changing their shifts. When employees scan their temperature on SafeClock, their clock in and out timings are recorded in the cloud-based HR platform. Administrators can be notified of employees who are not keeping to their shift timings.
5. Implement a system for safe management measures
A safe management officer should be appointed to actively monitor unwell employees. However, despite active measures being taken, one should always be prepared for every possibility and the proper evacuation path and follow up plan should be enacted for anybody suspected of being infected or confirmed with COVID-19.
Any employee who is feeling unwell or showing symptoms of illness should report to his employer, leave the workplace and consult a doctor immediately, even if symptoms may appear mild. Employers must track and record these cases as part of Safe Management Measures. For incapacitated or unconscious individuals, employers must clear the area of other personnel and administer aid immediately. Employers should call for an emergency ambulance to ferry them to the nearest hospital.
Once a case is confirmed, businesses should immediately vacate and cordon-off the immediate section of the workplace premises where the confirmed case worked. There is no need to vacate the building or the whole floor if there had been no sustained and close contact with the confirmed case; and carry out a thorough cleaning and disinfecting all relevant on-site areas and assets that were exposed to confirmed cases. For worksites with confirmed cases, businesses could be suspended if there are public health grounds.
Ultimately, we hope that all businesses will adhere to these guidelines in order to ensure a safe and healthy working environment for everybody as we work together to stop the spread of the invisible enemy, COVID-19.
SafeClock. Clock in safely to work.
A contactless facial recognition temperature scanner, attendance tracker and door access all in one. Fully integrated with JustLogin’s HR Management System for centralised employee information and monitoring. Protect your company against the invisible threat, COVID-19, and ensure your business is safe and compliant. Contact us here.
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