TODAY Online - Firms, govt agencies take steps to protect staff

Various government agencies and companies have swung into action, by implementing safety measures or taking steps to protect their staff.


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As the haze continues to remain at an unhealthy level, various government agencies and companies have swung into action, by implementing safety measures or taking steps to protect their staff.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore issued a port notice last week on the possibility of restricting the movement of harbour craft and pleasure vessels in port waters should visibility be affected by the haze.

Due to the poor air quality, the Pawfect Health Day, which is organised by the National Kidney Foundation, has been postponed to March 6.

Amid concerns over the health of workers who are exposed to the haze, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) said protective gear would be issued for those who are deployed outdoors.

Several companies in the construction, landscape, security and cleaning sectors told TODAY that they have taken several steps to protect their employees during the current haze, such as distributing masks to them.

The workers have also been advised to avoid being outdoors for long periods, encouraged to drink water, and to inform their supervisors on-site if they feel unwell.

At least two security companies have been distributing N95 and disposable masks to their workers, especially those assigned to work outdoors.

Mr Indhiran Thangaraj, Eagle I Security Services’ operations manager and workplace safety ad health coordinator, said: “We are also in the midst of discussion for a split shift — for a worker to be slotted in between another worker’s shift.”

“So instead of a one-hour break, workers get a four-hour break ... (Thus), they will only be working eight hours on the ground instead of the (usual) 12 hours.”

Reachfield Security and Safety Management has reduced the frequency of outdoor patrolling in schools and buildings for its staff.

Meanwhile, Esmond Landscape and Horticultural, a landscape company, said it plans to stop all activities if the haze worsens to the extent that visibility is affected.

Several construction companies said they have contingency plans in place.

Ms Ivy Tijin, human resource manager of Feng Ming Cooperation, said: “In the event that the haze worsens, we will try to minimise outdoor work or rearrange the schedule based on the urgency of the jobs.”

Mr Kelvin Ho, senior manager of BBR Holdings, noted that this is not the first time that the company is dealing with a haze situation.

“We have learnt from the past and should more (workers) fall sick, we will (shift the focus) to key jobs and stop all minor jobs.”

Source: TODAY Online


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