MOM fines 42 companies for breaching COVID protocols

The ministry is keeping a close watch as new virus strains emerge

MOM fines 42 companies for breaching COVID protocols

After Singapore eased a number of COVID safety regulations in September, a total of 42 companies have been found violating rules specific to the workplace.

The Ministry of Manpower penalised employers whose safety measures allegedly failed to meet government standards, which included placing physical-distancing markers at the worksite. MOM issued the penalties after inspectors completed a review of nearly 5,400 workplaces from 28 September to 15 January.

Meanwhile, other employers were fined for purportedly asking staff to work on site even though their assignments could be performed from home.

Read more: COVID-19: MOM will penalise firms for 'weak' measures

MOM and its tripartite partners – the Singapore National Employers Federation and the National Trades Union Congress – have called on businesses to continue their remote work arrangements, especially since the mutating coronavirus strains pose new threats to the community.

“With the higher risk of potentially more transmissible strains as well as recent trends in COVID-19 cases in the community (including at workplaces), the tripartite partners have decided to postpone any further adjustments to workplace safe management measures,” they said.

While most companies have complied with the safe management measures, MOM plans to continue inspecting workplaces and identifying areas for improvement, The Straits Times first reported.

Read more: MOM penalises 21 firms for failure to 'social distance'

The ministry has been hard at work enforcing COVID safety rules since the early weeks of the pandemic. In March last year, the ministry issued 13 stop-work orders and eight remedial orders to companies that purportedly failed to comply with COVID preventive measures. At the time, the inspections zeroed in on workplaces – such as factories, construction sites and shipyards – where groups are required to work together closely in shared spaces.

MOM has continued making the rounds, imposing a fine of $1,000 each to a total of 52 employers and ordering seven businesses shuttered back in June. The employers worked with inspectors to rectify their safety procedures.

Singapore is working to contain the spread of the new COVID-19 strains across its communities, but public health officials have reportedly traced at least three new clusters to workplace transmissions.

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