The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has issued fresh workplace guidelines for industry and establishments in a bid to reduce the impact of coronavirus on businesses.
As per the document, 'COVID-19 safe workplace guidelines for industry and establishment' framed by the Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC)', employers have been suggested to deter employees from taking cigarette breaks as they are "social-distancing disruptors".
"Ban the use of Gutka, tobacco, Paan Masala, and cigarettes at the workplace. Ban spitting as it may increase disease transmission. Prohibit any cigarettes break," the ESIC guidelines said.
Additionally, it said the companies must avoid central air conditioning and instead use individual air conditioners with HEPA filters. The ESIC guidelines also suggested increasing outdoor air ventilation in air conditioners by opening doors and windows or instaling exhausts.
Further, the revised notice said that " Every person (with or without symptoms) in the workplace should be considered a potential source of infection. All the risk factors, including those associated with various worksites and the task workers, perform at those sites must be taken into account.
The ministry guidelines have asked companies to allow visitors inside the workplace with prior appointments only. Also, companies must avoid biometric attendance systems and adopt calibrated, infrared, and no-touch thermometers at the entrances of the facility to measure the temperature of all visitors and all workers.
The health ministry has recommended companies to disallow workers/employees from sharing pens, phones, computers, or other work tools and pieces of equipment.
Besides, the guidelines said to remove newspapers, magazine and other paper materials which might come in contact amongst individuals.
The guidelines also encourage offices to continue flexible worksites. For instance, work from home, teleworking, and flexible work hours like staggered shifts should continue to reduce the number of employees reporting at the same time.