The protocol includes cleaning of surfaces which are touched frequently. (Internet image.)
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In order to protect the health and safety of public officers, a protocol has been developed for cleaning and disinfecting in the Public Service, and it is already in use by some departments.
This protocol was developd to limit the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as more public officers return to work, according to a media release on May 21.
Director General, Human Resource, Ministry of Public Service, Gail Atkins, made this announcement on May 20, during a presentation on Safe Work; Safe Environment; Safe People, during the Learning and Development Directorate’s Webinar, in which 250 officers participated.
Atkins said the protocol would give guidelines on areas including how to clean frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, tabletops, counters, light switches, elevator buttons and faucets.
“We will give you information on approved cleaning substances for sanitising and disinfecting the workplace and direction on the frequency of cleaning. We have attached checklists to the protocol, which would be used by the janitorial and housekeeping staff to monitor the cleaning of various areas, whether lunchroom, bathroom facilities or general areas.
“However, I want to encourage all of us as public officers to maintain an appropriate level of sanitisation at our own individual workstations. Though we know that there is staff assigned to do the cleaning and sanitising, we want to impress upon you that this is going to be a shared responsibility going forward. We all have a role to play in safeguarding our personal protection and safety,” she said.
Atkins said the serious impact of the pandemic had compelled the Ministry of Public Service to review social interaction and hygiene standards, as public officers gradually return to their offices.
In this regard, she said many of the protocols devised by the World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health and Wellness would be used to limit risks of COVID-19 infections in the office.
She reminded public officers that they must wash their hands and sanitise them regularly throughout the day; clean their individual workstations with the relevant cleaning materials; practise physical distancing; wear face masks; and remain at home if they feel unwell.
The Ministry of Public Service was proposing flexible working arrangements such as: flexi-time, which some agencies are already operating under; staggered hours; telecommuting; and compressed work. She said the Ministry had been looking at the flexible work arrangements since the end of 2018.
“The focus on flexible working arrangements began in an effort to modernise the operations in Government.
“We expect that this policy will result in a number of gains within the public service . . . . Flexible work arrangements would also be a benefit, in terms of reduced employee tardiness and absenteeism as well as improved performance and productivity. It may also ensure our clients and customers can access services beyond the standard workday,” she said. (BGIS)