Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive on a phased and gradual easing of the lockdown measures imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, most businesses are reopening, and employees are returning to work.
As businesses reopen, the government rules for reopening must be adhered to; employers must ensure that precautionary measures are taken to provide a safe work environment for employees and clients. Based on the rules issued by the Lagos State Government (“LASG”), we have provided a non-exhaustive list of recommended actions for employers to consider as business activities resume.
PRE-WORK RESUMPTION PROTOCOLS
To mitigate the risk of COVID 19 infections, we advise companies and their facilities/HR teams to work with their professional health care providers. Some recommended actions include;
- Deep cleaning (fumigation) of the entire office area, including all work surfaces, work tools (such as printers, desktops), car parks, etc;
- Re-organise the physical layout of the workspace and other shared spaces within the organisation, (such as the cafeteria, meeting rooms etc) to ensure mandated social distancing between workers (i.e. desks should be at least 6 feet apart);
- Adapt new policies on flexi-hours, working from home, tele-conferencing, workplace hygiene, etc and provide regular training by healthcare professionals on new policies to all employees prior to resumption of work and afterwards;
- Require employees to notify the HR department or healthcare professionals of pre-existing conditions to ensure they are not put at risk;
- Adapt a COVID-19 policy to cover rules on: employees on public transport; data privacy; use of lifts or cafeterias (if any); cleaning services; how to report suspected COVID-19 exposure and other matters.
WORK RESUMPTION PROTOCOLS
Return to Work Action Plan
In addition to the above pre-resumption protocols, We advise employers to adopt a plan to ensure smooth transition from remote working. Below are some action points to consider.
- Phased return to work such that a rotating group of employees work in the office every few days to comply with the 60% workforce rule of the LASG;
- Retain remote working for non-essential or at risk employees especially persons with underlining illnesses, pregnant workers, workers with close family members who are at high risk, etc;
- If possible, provide a staff bus to convey employees who utilize public transportation to reduce the challenge of transportation.
Minimising Exposure to COVID-19 at Work
General Hygiene and Social Distancing Measures
- Implement a temperature testing procedure for employees and clients/customers prior to entry;
- Place hand sanitizers in multiple accessible locations within the office area;
- Provide face masks for employees and clients;
- Provide tissues and no-touch disposal baskets in lifts;
- Enforce social distancing inside lifts;
- Ensure increase in frequency of cleaning of surfaces in public and high traffic areas;
- Implement LASG mask in public rule, for example employers should establish “no face masks no entry” practise for both employees and clients/customers.
Employers are also advised to follow any additional industry-specific rules issued relating to the company’s industry area, in addition to the recommendations above to ensure a safe workplace for employees and clients.