The COVID-19 outbreaks in Myanmar are part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Novel Coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency in January 2020 and as a global pandemic in March 2020. COVID-19 virus was confirmed to have reached Myanmar on March 23, 2020.
Before the WHO’s declaration of global pandemic and zero patient in Myanmar, to increase the risk awareness in the company, UPG P&C internally posted a warning notice about the international outbreak and issued N95 face masks to the employees.
Since occupational safety & health is one of our top priorities in the Company Policy, Mission Statement and Company’s CSR Commitments, through the first, second and third waves of COVID-19 outbreak in Myanmar, UPG P&C implemented the followings.
A Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Program called ‘UPG P&C’s Oxygen Concentrators Donation Project’ was implemented.
At all the company’s workplaces including the Head Office and the factories, doors and windows are opened if possible, all ventilating fans at the factories are switched-on, to reduce air-con enclosed areas and increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible.
At all company units including the Head Office and the factories, the company repositioned workplaces and rearranged seating to create safer distance between the employees and demarcated the safe distances (at least 6 feet apart) using visual indicators (ie. Demarcation lines and marks) at all entrances, work areas and common places. Plastic partitions between the employees are installed where there could not be 6 feet apart.
Floor markings are drawn in the elevators and near to the entrances of the elevators and washrooms to reinforce social distancing. Empty desks and meeting tables are marked with cross signs to maintain the safe distance.
At the factory canteen where most employees enjoy dining, stanchion lines are drawn at the entrance area and in front of the food counter, for social distancing. At all the dining places in all company units, dining tables are rearranged as individual and/ or individually partitioned.
In the factories, temporary isolation rooms are arranged for sick employees, to isolate before they are taken to the nearest government’ fever clinics. Visitors are discouraged but isolated parlors are also arranged for outside contractors, suppliers and buyers, with social distancing rules. Isolated restrooms are also available for the company’s delivery personnel who are in and out of the company premises frequently.
Closure of Company Operation
All the company units including the Head Office and factories were closed down during the periods of stay-at-home orders of the Ministry of Health & Sports (MOHS). The factories were reopened after passing the inspection of the health authorities and getting the permission to reopen.
Work from Home (WFH) and Telework
Employees whose job functions can be performed from home were to work from home (WFH) during 1st, 2nd and 3rd waves of the outbreak. The in-person meetings were replaced with Zoom video-conferencing.
Staggering Work Shifts
To spread out the employees across the time and place, and reduce possible congregation of the employees, at all company units including the Head Office and the factories, on-site employees had to attend on different days and times depending on their job functions. Some employees were to perform their work with hybrid work arrangement (ie. WFH and on-site alternatively).
Almost all employees in UPG P&C have been vaccinated and the company keeps the copy of the employees’ vaccination certificates.
Antigen Rapid Test (ART)
According to the company’s Workplace Health Program, at all company units including the Head Office and the factories, all onsite employees are required to take Antigen Rapid Test (ART) conducted by professional health workers, once every two weeks. The ART pass cards are to be attached to the employees’ ID card necklace.
Safe ferries to and from the workplaces are arranged for all employees. Employees have to ride the ferries from the start point to the destination. Ferries provide social distancing seating, temperature screening and hand sanitizers on board. The employees must wear face mask and face shield in the ferries. No employee is allowed to use public transport or taxi.
At all the company units including the Head Office and the factories, employee temperature screening at the entrance of the workplaces are conducted daily, in accordance with the social distancing rules. The temperature screeners are equipped with non-touch thermometer, face mask, face shield, apron and gloves.
At all company units including the Head Office and the factories, all persons enter into the company’s premises must wear face mask at all times except during activities that require masks to be removed. Employees must also wear mask and face shield in the ferry. The company issues KN95 masks to all employees daily.
At all company units including the Head Office and the factories, the company repositions workplaces and rearranges seating to create safer distance between the employees. The physical touch-points where employees could have close contact (ie. Within 6 feet) are minimized by staggering shifts. No facing seat, no workplace visit and no cross-deployment is allowed. In- person meetings are encouraged to replace with Zoom video-conferencing.
Subject to the company’s staggering meal breaks, employees can have their lunch at the canteens where
individual tables and/ or individually partitioned tables, disposable cups, paper towels, pedal sinks, soaps, sanitizers, water and pedal waste bins are available. (All employees must bring their lunch boxes. No Eat out is allowed.)
Employee locker rooms in all company units must be used with staggering shifts. The lockers must be closed and cleaned by the respective employee after using.
Cleaning & Disinfection
At all the company units including the Head Office and the factories, every person enters into the company premises are encouraged to frequently wash or sanitize their hands for at least 20 seconds. The company also produces hand sanitizers and freely distributed to the employees. The hand sanitizers are available at all entrances, guestrooms, office rooms, meeting rooms, locker rooms, canteens and wash rooms. The practices of handshake, hug, fist-bump or high-five are discouraged.
All high-touch surfaces like door handle, table surface, light switch, elevator bottom, handrail etc. are sanitized regularly. All the work areas, common areas, locker rooms, isolation rooms, canteens and washrooms are cleaned with disinfectant spray regularly. Daily housekeeping is done by the company’s housekeeping teams.
No person is allowed to enter into the office areas with their outside footwear. Every person has to change their footwear with office footwear, clean their outside footwear and keep in the designated shoe cabinets.
At all company units including the Head Office and the factories, all visitors entering the company’s premises must have appointment, receive temperature screening, wear face mask, register at the security gates, draw visitor card and meet in the designated guestroom. The registration is to record the entry and help health authorities for contact tracing in case transmission is occurred. All frequent visitors like contractors and suppliers must fill Health Assessment Form.
At all company units including the Head Office and the factories, the orders and announcements of the Ministry of Health & Sports (MOHS) related to the company operation are strictly followed. And they are posted on the office notice boards, displayed as vinyl posters and stick on the walls at common areas. The instructions, warnings and reminders for COVID-19 are posted at the entrances and all other necessary areas. Through the PA systems, employees are being regularly reminded of MOHS and the company’s COVID-19 guidelines, especially for mask wearing, hand washing, and social distancing. UPG P&C Office Rules booklets comprising the company’s COVID-19 guidelines are in the drawer of the every office desk.
Every floor and work area has Floor or Area In-Charge and Assistant In-Charge. Their contact numbers are provided to all respective employees for emergency. A list of local health emergency authorities and administrative authorities’ contact numbers is given to all employees concerned.
Employees at Home
Employee who is unwell or has symptoms of COVID-19, or tested positive for COVID-19, or identified by MOHS as close contact of an infected person, or has a sick family member at home with COVID-19, or his/ her neighborhood is heavily infected by COVID-19, is to immediately inform his/ her superior and stay home.
The following personnel are responsible to monitor and make sure the compliance of company’s COVID-19 Workplace Guidelines.
Antigen Rapid Test (ART)
All onsite employees are required to take Antigen Rapid Test (ART) conducted by professional health workers once every two weeks, through company’s Workplace Health Program. If an employee is tested suspect or infected, he/ she will be isolated, briefed about patient guidelines at home and neighborhood and drive to home by a designated company car. He/ she will be cured at home for 21 days.
To provide necessary support to the suspect or infected employee, the record of him/ her will be disseminated to the respective Departmental/ Section Head, Heads of Human Resources Department, Health, Safety & Environment (HSE) Committee, Administrative Department and the Company’s Doctor.
Every suspect or infected employee can apply for a company’s financial support of Kyat 100,000 through Personnel Affairs Committee (PAC) with ‘COVID-19 Suspect/ Infected Employee Support Application Form’.
Medicines & Consultation Support
With the consent of COVID-19 suspect or infected employee, the company will support drugs and medicines which will be deducted from the financial support he/ she is entitled. The employee shall daily report to the Company’s Doctor of his/ her health condition. To have consultation and motivation, the employee is informed to join the company’s ‘Talking about COVID-19’ Viber Group.
Medical Oxygen Support
Every COVID-19 suspect or infected employee can apply to hire the company’s oxygen concentrator or oxygen cylinder (with application & safety guidelines) through Personnel Affairs Committee (PAC) with ‘O2 Request Form’.