Workplace Safety and Health Guidance in Response to the Outbreak of Severe Pneumonia with Novel Pathogens (2019-nCoV)
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Ministry of Labor set and published the Workplace Safety and Health Guidance in Response to the Outbreak of Severe Pneumonia with Novel Pathogens on January 30 to prevent the spread of the newfound coronavirus in the workplace. The key excerpts are as follows:
1. For employers:
(1) Employers should implement temperature screening for all employees, strengthen the education and training on workplace infection prevention and employee self-protection, and work to enhance the cleaning and ventilation of all areas of the workplace. If there is a concern for infection, employers should have the floors, walls as well as all kinds of appliances and objects well disinfected.
(2) Employers should prepare a sufficient amount of proper surgical masks and should not prohibit employees from using them. In particular, when frontline staff are at risk of infection, employers should provide surgical masks for their personal use and ensure that they wear the masks at work.
(3) The health and safety of employees should be the top priority of all considerations. If there is no necessity, employers should avoid dispatching employees to the infected areas in China.
(4) Employers should monitor the health conditions of employees recently returning from the infected areas either for business trips or travelling purposes, if any, and take necessary tracking and management measures.
2. For employees:
(1) Employees should be proactive in managing their health by washing hands often with soap and water and avoiding travelling to the infected areas. Those showing symptoms such as fever and coughing should go to see the doctor immediately and provide their history of travel, occupation and contact and inform their employers of such conditions.
(2) Frontline staff serving at bus/train stations, transportation companies, shopping malls and department stores are advised to wear surgical masks
(3) Employees having any inquiries on workplace safety and health regulations and employee rights protection can directly call the toll-tree number (1955) from a cell phone or a fixed line to seek assistance.
The competent authority emphasizes that if employers fail to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Guidance, they shall be subject to a fine of NT$30,000 to NT$300,000 in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. Therefore, it is necessary for employers to take all relevant measures to ensure the safety and health of employees.