Kuala Lumpur, 22 March 2021 – YAB Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, has announced the Strategic Programme to Empower the People and the Economy (PEMERKASA) aimed at jumpstarting and revitalising the country’s economy. As part of the programme, the Ministry of Trade and International industry (MITI) introduced Safe@Work as a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).
The SOP can be implemented by companies to provide safe accommodation that complies with standards under the Minimum Standards of Accommodation and Housing for Employees Act 1990 (Act 446). It also entails responsibilities relating to management of employees who are COVID-19 positive, close contacts, health screening as well as measures to prevent transmission among employees.
This initiative is calculated at preventing disruption of company operations and reducing the adverse impact on productivity in the event of an occurrence of a positive case of COVID-19 in business premises. It is the result of a series of consultations with public and private sector stakeholders including the Ministry of Health, National Security Council, Department of Labour, Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM), industry associations and chambers, as well as local and international businesses.
Based on the current practice, in the event of an occurrence of a positive case, close contact workers must be quarantined and barred from working until all of them are certified COVID-19 free after undergoing health screening tests. Now, the Safe@Work initiative will allow close contact workers to continue working under a new protocol known as the Safe Work Bubble.
In accordance with this protocol, close contact workers will be isolated from the local community as well as other workers until all of them are certified COVID-19 free based on screening test results. Some of the main aspects emphasised under the Safe Work Bubble are as follows:
- Establishment of Safe Work Bubble for close contact workers in factory areas and employee accommodation premises;
- Establishment of COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Team (PERT) by the company for the preparation and implementation of procedures to manage emergency cases;
- Ongoing sanitation processes at manufacturing premises;
- Permission to use employee vehicles at full capacity;
- Provision and management of conducive employee accommodation;
- Implementation of targeted screening for employees of the manufacturing and related services sectors; and
- Provision of information channels related to pandemic control procedures from employers to employees.
As an incentive to companies implementing Safe@Work, the government will provide additional tax deductions under the manufacturing and related services sector. Expenses eligible for this additional tax deduction are limited to RM50,000 per company. Companies can register in the COVID-19 Intelligent Management System (CIMS) from 1 April 2021.
– Construction+ Online