Will there be a national shutdown of workplaces over ongoing haze?

Amid worsening haze conditions, the government has published a statement on whether workplaces will be shut down as well as ways for employers to mitigate the health risks for themselves and their staff

A joint press release between the National Environment Agency (NEA), Ministry of Education (MOE), Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the People’s Association (PA) tackled the growing issue of the haze which continues to envelop Singapore.
With the 24-hour PSI crossing into the Hazardous range today, conditions continue to deteriorate. In light of this, the government has released several guidelines about reducing the risks stemming from these dangerously high pollution levels.
While MOM stated there would be no national shut-down of workplaces, they offered some instructions for businesses.
“During this period, employers should not compromise on the health and safety of their employees as they continue functioning. This is especially so for those involved in outdoor work,” the Ministry wrote.
Suggestions on how to do this included implementing risk-mitigating measures to make work less strenuous such as using mechanical aids, rotating employee jobs, and scheduling more frequent rest breaks.
MOM also urged employers to consider visibility factors, saying that worker safety could be compromised in the current conditions. They advised businesses to conduct risk assessments for tasks such as outdoor lifting activities.
The release also contained a warning that healthy people should minimise outdoor activity. The elderly, pregnant women and those with chronic lung or heart disease should avoid outdoor activity altogether.
If anyone is not feeling well, they are advised to seek medical attention. Employers should watch out for any adverse symptoms in staff and ensure they are taken care of as soon as possible.
Related stories:
Sick building syndrome and HR’s battle against the haze
Firms combat haze risk with creative staff policies
The unlikely risks facing seemingly safe employees

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