The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, has commended four large companies in Accra for their strict adherence to COVID-19 hygiene and safety protocols to help contain the spread of the virus.
They included the placement of hand sanitiser dispensers at the entrances and at vantage points for staff and guests of their companies, social distancing and wearing of masks.
The companies visited were the Appointed Time Printing Limited, Dignity DTRT Limited and Sixteen 47 Ghana Limited, both apparel manufacturing companies, and Pharmanova Pharmaceutical Company, which have not reported COVID-19 cases.
Mr Baffour-Awuah said he was impressed with the cooperation he had received so far from employers who had instituted precautionary measures at their workplaces as prescribed by the World Health Organisation and the Ghana Health Service.
The Minister said this, on Thursday, when he led a team from the ministry and its departments for a random inspection of offices, shops and factories in Accra to probe their compliance to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
The minister said: “Almost all the places the team has visited, their management have actually made sure that the health protocols on COVID-19 were being observed and I am so grateful for that and I want to recommend these measures to other employers to ensure that their workers’ safety is paramount to the company’s success”.
The inspection exercise, which started on July 2, would continue until the pandemic was controlled.
The ministry and its social partners, which include Employers and Organised Labour, in June, issued a 10- point communique, urging all stakeholders, including workers, to develop plans and provide logistics to keep the workplace safe.
Among the measures was a plan indicating the preparedness for COVID-19 prevention and response and the evidence of communication among management, workers and workers’ representatives on implementation.
Others were the evidence of physical distancing during meetings, existence of an isolation room for persons who develop COVID-19 symptoms at the workplace, while awaiting transfer to an appropriate health facility and arrangements for disinfection of the workplace.
“Even though I am encouraged by what I have seen at the workplaces, that is not to say that the companies should relax, but must continue to seek ways of improving the situation so that should there be an outbreak, its consequences on the work and the entire workers would be minimised,” the minister said.
On companies whose staff had tested positive, the minister said it was unfortunate, adding: “It is the wish of everybody that we all live in a safe environment without cases of the virus, but our duty as a government ministry is to make sure that workplace is kept safe”.
Mr Baffour-Awuah, who is also the Member of Parliament for Sunyani West, said the health protocols were put in place in such a way that, should there be an unfortunate event of somebody having an infection, that person would not re-infect others.
He advised organisations to make visible the educational materials on COVID-19 on their notice boards as some had placed them in obscure places.
The minister encouraged the companies to also position their hand washing facilities properly and endeavour to fix better systems like automatic hand sanitisers to prevent the touching of the objects after washing of hands.
He advised the companies to prepare an isolation place so that in the event of somebody having an emergency, that person would be kept at that place until a national ambulance arrived to take the individual out.
The management of the companies expressed commitment to enforcing the protocols for the health and sustained safety of workers for national development.
The GNA observed that the companies had put in place the necessary measures and learned from its engagements that some of them had engaged the services of a doctor and a nurse to train the staff on how to deal with the pandemic.
All the workers were in their face masks, while educational materials had been posted on notice boards.
Hand sanitiser dispensers were placed at the entrances and at vantage positions for staff and guests of the company.