Keeping an eye on workplaces, key to winning fight against COVID-19

Besides community spread, one other fertile ground for the spread of the coronavirus is the workplace.

Indeed, the World Health Organisation, (WHO) has noted that COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets or contact with contaminated surfaces.

It states that exposure can occur at the workplace, while travelling to work, during work-related travel to an area with local community transmission, as well as on the way to and from the workplace.

According to WHO, the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace depends on the likelihood of coming within one metre of others, in having frequent physical contact with people who may be infected with COVID-19, and through contact with contaminated surfaces and objects.

It acknowledges that the risk of exposure to COVID-19 can be minimised if preventive measures are instituted for each specific work setting and each job.

The Ghanaian Times can say without fear of contradiction that, many work places have not instituted strict COVID-19 preventive measures against the disease.

The number of high profile institutions and work places including high profile public and government official who have been exposed to the disease is a confirmation that there is laxity in the implementations of the preventive measures in the workplace.

Thankfully, government officials last week acknowledged the challenge and hinted that visits would be made to companies to ascertain their preparedness and measures instituted to contain the deadly COVID-19.

Indeed, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, visited four large companies in Accra last week and commended them highly for their strict adherence to COVID-19 hygiene and safety protocols.

During the visit, the minister observed that in addition to running water and soap, hand sanitiser dispensers have been placed at the entrances and at vantage positions for staff and guests and the companies were promoting social distancing and wearing of masks.

But while these four companies are being praised and may not have recorded any positive cases, others such as COCOBOD, GRIDco, BOST, Judicial service and few government ministries have reportedly shut down for fumigation due to COVID-19.

We may not know the extent of the spread of the disease in those places but we are concerned that, if care is not taken to ensure strict observance of the COVID-19 safety protocols, we may end up recording more confirmed cases at work places across the country.

It is an undeniable fact that the disease is wrecking havoc across many countries around the world, including Ghana and we must double our efforts in fighting and containing its spread. 

No country has overcome the disease and therefore, it should be both an individual and collective responsibility of all Ghanaians, to strictly adhere to the safety measures and observe the protocols instituted at work places across the country.

While commending the minister for his unannounced visits to the companies, we would have been much happier if all other workplaces instituted measures that are strictly enforced to curb the spread of the deadly disease.

This is non-negotiable and in our interest to do it without any official prompting.

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