Updated: Feb 20, 2021
Find out more about the Safe Management Measures, how to implement at your workplace, and ensure your employees and visitors are protected.
General Information on Safe Management Measures
From 12 May 2020 onwards, all businesses that are allowed to operate will be required to have implemented the Safe Management Measures in the requirements, including those already operating during the Circuit Breaker period. For companies resuming operations after 2nd June 2020 (End of Circuit Breaker), they need to ensure that all Safe Management Measures are in the requirements BEFORE operations can be resumed at the workplace.
The Multi-Ministry Task Force has announced that selected activities and services will be allowed to gradually resume operations from 12 May 2020. Companies that fall under the list of activities and services do not need to apply before resuming operations. As the number of new COVID-19 cases go down, more businesses will progressively reopen. The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) will announce accordingly. However telecommuniting should be the first priority and employees should continue to do so. Singapore will only reopen the economy gradually to prevent the re-emergence of community cases, and not all at once. In general, sectors that allow us to trade with the world and access critical supplies will start first. Sectors that attract high traffic and social interactions will have not be allowed to open yet and will also have to put in place additional safe measures before restarting progressively. Only business operations that falls under MTI’s list of activities and services are allowed to resume operations, and if your company has implemented all required Safe Management Measures at your workplace. MOM and sector agencies will take calibrated enforcement actions based on the areas of non-compliance found. For workplaces which severely lack Safe Management Measures, businesses will be directed to stop operations at the workplace.
Employers will have to take steps to ensure that Safe Management Measures are in place before operations can resume. Under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act , failure to comply with Safe Management Measures will be fined up to $10,000 or jailed up to 6 months, or both. Repeated non-compliance will be fined up to $20,000 or jailed up to 12 months, or both.
Enforcement action may be taken by any of the following persons under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act:
A police officer;
A Health Officer appointed under section 4(1)(a) or (b) of the Infectious Diseases Act;
A public officer;
An officer of a statutory body;
An auxiliary police officer; and
An employee of a prescribed institution under the Infectious Diseases Act.
The identity of enforcement officers can be verified via their authority cards or their public service identification cards. To find more information on Safe Management Measures businesses can refer to Annex B – Checklist of Safe Management Measures at the workplace for resumption of business activities for an overview of the requirements that must be fulfilled prior to resuming business activities at your workplace. Unionised companies are also encouraged to engage their unions on such arrangements. Annex B – Checklist of Safe Management Measures at the workplace for resumption of business activities sets out the requirements needed for employers to resume operations.
Employers must ensure that the documents listed in the checklist (or equivalent) are available upon request by officials.When inspected by any government agency, businesses must be prepared to show that they have fulfilled the requirements. The requirements on Safe Management Measures at the workplace released by MOM is for general workplace settings. For specific workplace settings or sector requirements, please refer to guidelines issued by the respective sector agencies. If you have received two advisories, one from MOM and another from the sector agency, you will have to refer to to the sector-specific advisories issued, over and above MOM’s advisory. But ensure that you still over at least MOM's advisory. All employers must implement Safe Management Measures at their workplaces for all employees and contractors. Companies which have employees that are deployed to other sites should ensure that their employees comply with the Safe Management Measures put in place at these sites.
Some of the Safe Management Measures can be implemented by employers regardless of where employees are deployed, such as health monitoring. Businesses should suspend operations in their premises from 7 April 2020 onwards until they are approved by MTI to continue operations or their list of business activity falls within the permitted list allowed to operate from 2 June 2020. If you are the owner of a company that is not in the list of permitted services, you may go to your business facility to take care of crucial tasks that cannot be done remotely or to retrieve necessary materials or documents. Otherwise, if you need to activate your employees to work onsite for short periods of time (i.e. less than a day), you can apply to MTI for a time-limited exemption. If you need to maintain a skeletal workforce at the workplace for longer periods, you should apply for a general exemption. If you see a business that is not in the permitted services list continuing to operate when it is not- please report the incident to firstname.lastname@example.org and include relevant details such as company name, address and relevant evidence (e.g. photographs). If you notice any breach of Safe Management Measures or poor practices at the workplace, you can report it via SnapSAFE, an app that allows the reporting of workplace safety and health issues to MOM. MOM will treat each report seriously and will keep your identity strictly confidential.
Implementing Safe Management Measures in the Workplace
The monitoring plan should at minimum, include details on the steps taken to ensure the requirements are communicated and adhered to, and how any anomalies or non-compliance will be identified. The plan should also highlight risk mitigation strategies and proposed steps to remedy and document any non-compliance found. Again you can refer to Annex B – Checklist of Safe Management Measures at the workplace for resumption of business activities for guidance on what should be included in the monitoring plan. Companies should appoint someone capable of carrying out the duties stated in MOM’s requirements for workplace Safe Management Measures within the organisation as the designated Safe Management Officer(s) (SMOs).
Companies should ensure that SMOs are provided with sufficient resources and guidance to carry out their duties effectively. Employers are responsible for ensuring that Safe Management Measures are in place, communicated and explained to employees prior to resuming work. Signs should also be put up to remind employers and visitors to observe all measures in place.
Reduce physical interaction and ensure safe distance at your workplace
You should telecommute as much as possible. Those who have been working from home so far should continue to do so, and employees should go to the office only where it is demonstrably necessary. Checks will be conducted. Businesses whose employers do not provide a safe workplace, ensure employees work from home where possible, or whose workers do not adhere to safe management measures, may have to close their workplaces. The overarching objective of the requirements is to reduce physical interactions in the workplace in order to minimise spread of COVID-19. Employers should focus on providing the facilities necessary and directing every worker to work from home, as far as reasonably practicable. The onus is on employers to show that they have made a reasonable effort to facilitate working from home for all days and at all times, including reviewing and transforming business processes through technology to support remote working, e.g. e-payment, e-invoicing, e-signatures.
If employees are genuinely unable to work from home, they can be allowed to continue working in the workplace, subject to the implementation of all other Safe Management measures such as staggered working hours and physical safe distancing measures. Employers should be prepared to demonstrate the reasons for the employee’s being unable to work from home. For employees who are still working in the workplace, employers must demonstrate the business or operational reasons why the workers are unable to work from home despite review and redesign of work processes. Our inspectors will assess the efforts put in by companies to implement work from home arrangements based on the practicality of whether the workers can work from home given the nature of the job. At the same time, employers should put in place other Safe Management Measures at the workplace to provide a safe working environment and minimise risk of further outbreaks. Special attention should also be paid to vulnerable employees to enable them to work from home, including temporarily redeploying these employees to another role within the company that is suitable for working from home. If shift or split team arrangements or cross-deployment cannot be avoided due to the nature of the job, additional safeguards must be taken to minimise the risk of cross infection, e.g. systems are in place to ensure no direct contact with the cross-deployed personnel. Other Safe Management Measures should still be adhered to in order to ensure a safe working environment and minimise outbreaks.
Support Contact Tracing
From 12 May onwards, businesses are required to use SafeEntry to collect entry information of employees and visitors on their premises. Businesses that need to retain the use of their current system for the collection of data that are not required in the SafeEntry system (e.g. purpose of visit, employee’s ID number) are required to implement SafeEntry on top of their existing system. The use of SafeEntry is mandatory because a common system used by all establishments would allow data to be made available to MOH quickly, so as to facilitate contact tracing. SafeEntry allows the data of visitors and employee data to be sent the authorities in an automated manner. Contact data collected by SafeEntry is only used by authorised personnel for contact tracing purposes, and stringent measures are in place to safeguard the data in accordance with the Government’s data security standards. SafeEntry is already implemented for my building, (e.g. malls), do tenants within the building have to implement SafeEntry as well?
Personal Protective Equipment and Observing good personal hygiene
For general office workplaces, employers must ensure that employees and visitors wear a mask at all times at the workplace, except during activities that require masks to be removed. Supplementary personal protective equipment is encouraged, whenever relevant (more guidelines can be found in sector-specific guidelines). This is in addition to other Safe Management Measures (e.g. safe distancing) that must be in place at the workplace. Where possible, employers should consider improving the working environment for employees to enable them to wear their masks. In lower-risk settings with other Safe Management Measures in place (e.g. safe distancing, health checks), any mask, including reusable masks, DIY masks or plastic face shields, offer adequate basic protection.
Ensure cleanliness of workplace
As the recommended frequency and intensity may differ by sector, businesses should refer to the sanitation and hygiene advisories disseminated by NEA.
Implement health checks and protocols to manage potential cases
Employees who are offsite (e.g. working from home) do not need to submit their temperatures or declarations. However, they should continue to monitor their health conditions and see a doctor if needed. Health declarations should be done daily prior to entry into workplace premises. This must be done regardless of whether the employee is working at the employer’s premises, or at a client’s worksite. Temperature screening and respiratory checks should be conducted twice daily for employees. Declarations by individuals via SafeEntry can be used to fulfil the requirements for temperature screening, respiratory checks and relevant declarations. Employers are reminded that temperature and respiratory symptom checks for employees have to be conducted twice daily at minimum, and for visitors prior to entry.
Employers are not required to keep declaration records for inspection purposes but must be able to demonstrate that regular checks for temperature and respiratory symptoms are in place during inspections. This could include facilities set up to screen temperature or records of temperature checks. The evacuation plan should include the appointment of the emergency response team, established procedures for activation of response team, evacuation routes, identification of designated clinic and transport arrangements, etc. The follow up plan should include follow up actions to contain the spread of the virus such as cordoning off and disinfecting of affected area, managing of employees that are in close contact with the confirmed case, etc. (referenced from MOM website)