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Business News of Thursday, 30 April 2020

Source: GNA

Coronavirus: National Tripartite Committee issues 10-point guidelines for workplaces


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The National Tripartite Committee comprising the representatives of Government, Employers and Organised Labour on Tuesday issued a 10-point guidelines for workplace safety as part of efforts to contain the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the country.

A joint communique signed by Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations; Mr Daniel Acheampong, President, Ghana Employers Association (GEA) and Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, General Secretary, Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC), said the guidelines were reached during the National Tripartite Committee meeting held on April 21st, which was chaired by the Minister.

The communique, which was presented at a press conference by Mr Baffour-Awuah, recommended that all employers should provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and related facilities for the safety and health of workers, in compliance with the World Health Organisation (WHO) safety protocols and the Ministry of Health (MoH) guidelines.

It urged employers to constitute Safety Committees to deal with all issues related to COVID-19 at workplaces.

It recommended that employers should appoint Focal Persons to facilitate education of workers on the COVID-19; adding that such Focal Persons would also have the responsibility of liaising with health professionals in the event of an outbreak of the virus at the workplace. It appealed to employers to create an enabling environment for social distancing at workplaces and encourage their staff who could work from home to do so.

The communique said Unions should collaborate with employers to ensure that workers comply with and observe strictly the WHO and the MoH enhanced hygiene and safety protocols; including wearing of facemasks. It encouraged Local Unions to educate workers on the shared responsibility of promoting personal safety to avoid spread of the COVID-19 at the workplace by wearing facemasks and ensuring personal and workplace hygiene at all times.

It said employers and unions should collaborate and cooperate with the enterprise level through social dialogue to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sustainability of their respective enterprises.

The Communique said the Labour Depart (LD) and the Department of Factories Inspectorate (DFI) should monitor compliance with the WHO and MoH COVID-19 safety protocols and guidelines in their workplace inspections.

It noted that Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) COVID-19 Committees should intensify public education in their respective communities and ensure strict compliance with WHO protocols, Government and MoH guidelines on the COVID-19 pandemic. It also recommended that the Government policy on wearing of facemask at all public places must be strictly enforced by the relevant authorities.

Mr Baffour-Awuah on behalf of the National Tripartite Committee lauded the frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19, especially those within the health fraternity and security services, who had contributed so much in making Ghana proud.

He said in the event that should anything happen in the country that would require that another section of the population would have to also give off their best to society, the would take a cue from them (health workers and security forces).

On his part Mr Acheampong expressed his gratitude to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the bold and pragmatic decisions he had so far taken in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It is indeed, gratifying to note that these decisions that the President had taken have all being on the basis of science and data."

He said it was the GEA's confident expectation that all categories of employers would continue to be supported in one way or the other to enable them continue to offer sustainable employment to the theming workers of this country.

Dr Baah said the focus of the guidelines was to prevent the spread of the virus at the workplace.

"What happens at the workplace is extremely important because workers when they closed, they go back to their homes. So, if somebody should get the virus at the workplace automatically the family at home is also affected. So, the idea is to make sure that all workplaces are safe."

He appealed to workers to stay safe, support themselves and work with their employers and make sure that they sail through this crisis.

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