Theweekendleader

SOPs for workplaces focus on disinfection, hospital lists

New Delhi

15-April-2020

The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for ensuring social distancing at offices, workplaces, factories and establishments under fresh norms issued on Wednesday emphasised on disinfection of areas accessed by employees and a list of COVID-19 hospitals.

The fresh guidelines put into the public domain on the first day of the second phase of the nationwide 19-day lockdown mention that it "shall be implemented by all offices, factories and other establishments".

Mandatory thermal scanning of everyone entering and exiting the workplace should be done by these establishments as per the new guidelines, which also stressed on "mandatory medical insurance of workers".

As per the guidelines, all areas in the premises of these establishments shall be disinfected completely using "user-friendly disinfectant mediums". These include the entrance of the building, office, cafeteria and canteens, meeting rooms, conference halls, open areas available, verandahs, entrance gates to sites, bunkers, ports, cabins and buildings etc.

Equipment and lifts, washrooms, toilets, sinks, water points, walls and all other surfaces of these establishments have also been suggested to be disinfected to break the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus.

For workers coming from outside, the order mentions special transportation facilities "without any dependency" on the public transport system. "These vehicles should be allowed to work only with 30-40 per cent passenger capacity. All vehicles and machinery entering the premise should be disinfected by spray mandatorily.

"Provision for handwash and sanitizers, preferably with touch-free mechanism, will be made at all entry and exit points and common areas, the order mentions, adding "sufficient quantity of all the items should be available".

"Workplaces shall have a gap of one hour between shifts and will stagger the lunch break of staff to ensure social distancing. Persons above 65 years of age and persons with comorbidities and parents of children below the age of five may be encouraged to work from home."

Large gathering or meeting of 10 or more people to be discouraged as per the order which focuses on seating at least six feet away from others on job sites and in gatherings, meetings and training sessions.

"Not more than 2 to 4 persons (depending on size) will be allowed to travel in lifts or hoists. Use of the staircases for climbing should be encouraged.

The establishments have been also instructed to imply the "strict ban of gutka, tobacco etc and spitting, and non-essential visitors at sites".

"Hospitals and clinics in the nearby areas, which are authorized to treat COVID-19 patients, should be identified and list should be available at the workplace all the time."

The new order followed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Tuesday morning announcement for the extension of the 21-day nationwide lockdown for another 19 days till May 3 to contain the spread of coronavirus that has claimed 377 lives and crossed 11,000 cases across the country. IANS