Returning to the workplace amidst COVID danger

The rising curve of COVID- 19 in India gives a clear indication of the forthcoming danger. Cases in India are increasing every single day and opening of workplaces possess a great danger. The healthcare system is teetering. With more than 2 months of prolonged lockdown and people with the source of incomes drying up, resumption of work is an evil necessity.

Manufacturing units have been shut down since long and worst hit are the daily wage labourers. Reopening these units will add to a little relief for them. Also, a large portion of the labour force (skilled and unskilled) have faced layoffs. Major companies including Uber India, Ola, Zomato, Swiggy and Cure fit have together announced the reduction of around 4,441 jobs in the last month. It is going to take a lot of time for people to go out and about like before.

The partial reopening of the workplace and resumption of work will have sanguine effects on the companies as well as employees. The reopening of the workplace should be a well planned 'phase reopening' where protective measures must be adhered to!

The Union Health Ministry has also issued a manual of preventive measures, that cover all type of workplace and workforce. Physical distancing, mandatory use of masks, frequent hand washing with soap and workplace sanitisation still remain the first line of defence against novel Coronavirus.

Employers are required to follow the following measures to ensure safe reopening:

1. Provide information and myth busters about COVID to the employees.

2. Clean and sanitize the workplace. Provide soap, sanitizer and proper toilets.

3. Ensure that the food prepared in the canteen is properly cooked and handled.

4. Monitor the health of employees and thermal screening should be mandatory.

5. Employees may even act as carriers of the virus to the workplace hence, pick up and drop facility should be provided.

6. Employers must ensure a limit of 50% of the workforce in order to contain the spread of the virus.

The resumption of economic activities is the need of the hour but it is even more important to abide by the rules of safety and this needs significant behavioural change. After an ineffective lockdown and inept handling of efforts to combat COVID, we've no other way out except vaccination. Let us hope for a medical breakthrough soon!


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