Uganda Manufacturer’s Association (UMA), an umbrella body for all manufacturers in the country together with the Ministry of Health has unveiled a full list of Standard Operating Procedures which must be followed by all the members and other stake holders to reduce the risks of covid-19 at the work places.
With a number of sectors resuming operations, there has been an increase in the number of Covid-19 infections which have caused worry among the manufacturers that factory premises may turn into sources of infections due to the presence of many people who interact on a daily basis in the course of their duties.
As such, UMA together with Ministry of Health, has drafted guidelines which will help reduce the likelihood of infection transmission among employees both at the work places and their homes, reduce the likelihood of disruption of work in case of any infection as well as maintaining a healthy working environment.
Addressing journalists at his office in Lugogo, Daniel Birungi, the Executive Director of UMA, pointed out that the implementation of these SOPs has been categorized under ten groups under which all member companies and all businesses will have to appoint task force representatives from management and employees to spearhead their implementations
“The first step is information dissemination which involves talking with the employees about planned changes in operation of the work place and thus seek for their output; monitor all public health communication from the Ministry of Health to ensure that workers have access to it. Then provide posters with this information to educate all employees about the preventive measures,” Birungi revealed.
To protect employees, customers and visitors, all people, while at the factory premises, must wear masks in all public settings where physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
“Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. Inform employees that if their hands are visibly dirty, they should use soap and water instead of hand sanitizer,” he added.
Any employee who appears to have symptoms upon arrival at work or who become sick during the day should immediately be separated from other employees, customers, and visitors, and referred to the ERT for further management before being sent home, UMA has stipulated.
All companies must put in place safer transport of an employee who becomes sick while at work. The employee may need to be transported home or to a healthcare provider.
About the safety of employees at the workplace, Birungi said that the proprietors will disinfect the premises and conduct supervision to identify workplace hazards related to Covid-19 that are present, or are likely to be present, and determine what type of controls or Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed before employees are allowed access.
“I would like to thank the Ministry of Health for working with the Uganda Manufacturers Association to produce these SOPs and GIZ Creating Perspectives Project for assisting us to train the companies on the SOPS. We have so far trained over 350 employees in 43 companies. These companies have also formed Covid-19 task forces,” he added.
UMA has produced booklets with these SOPs and model COVID-19 policies to assist manufacturers in developing their own with the assistance of the set up team to assist members in identifying the gaps within their COVID-19 response protocols to enable adjustments.