PETALING JAYA: A reworking of the standard operating procedures (SOP) is needed if the recent spike in the number of Covid-19 clusters involving workplaces is to be tackled effectively.
The Malaysian Trades Union Congress said a delicate balance is needed to tackle the spread of Covid-19 while protecting the economy and workers.
MTUC deputy president Mohd Effendy Abdul Ghani told theSun that the government needs to rework the SOP to ensure factories and workplaces are safe.
The focus needs to be on preventing the spread of the virus instead of simply managing it, he said, adding that sanitisation of workplaces, especially factories and construction sites, should be done more frequently.
For workers in manufacturing or construction, more shifts are needed to ensure better social distancing to curb the spread of the virus, Effendy said.
The government can help by providing subsidies for sanitation equipment needed in order for companies to handle the sanitisation work on their own, he said.
But Effendy warned against locking down factories as it will severely affect workers and production.
The Malaysian Employers’ Federation said the increase in the number of workplace clusters does not mean that employers are not implementing the SOP strictly.
Its executive director, Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said the majority of employers are working very hard to ensure that their workplaces are free from the virus.
“This is because the reporting of an infection at a workplace will mean that it would need to be temporarily closed.”
Shamsuddin added although workplaces have strict measures to ensure their workers’ safety, there is a risk of them being infected outside of workplaces.
“The new workplace clusters are mostly related to the manufacturing and construction sectors where work from home is not possible.”
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in his daily briefing on Jan 23 that a total of 350 new clusters were reported between Jan 6 and 22. Of these, 225 or 64.3% were linked to workplaces.
Manufacturing related clusters were the highest (80), followed by construction (53) and service-related clusters (31).