The New Normal ‚Äì Indonesian Health Minister Issues COVID-19 Workplace Guidelines
By Syarifah Reihana Fakhry
In an effort to break the chain of transmission of COVID-19 while supporting economic sustainability, the Indonesian health minister has issued protocols for the management of workplaces to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 and protect workers as much as possible, as well as protocols for workers themselves in the face of changes brought about by the pandemic. In other words, these are guidelines for businesses and workers in dealing with the new normal.
The workplace protocols are found in Minister of Health Decree No. HK.01.07/MENKES/328/2020 dated May 20, 2020 regarding Guidance for the Mitigation and Control of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in Office and Industrial Workplace Settings in an Effort to Support Business Continuation during a Pandemic. We will refer to this decree hereinafter as the Guidelines. The Guidelines were issued to support the sustainability of businesses during the pandemic.
In this article, we discuss the workplace protocols for businesses operating during and after the period of large-scale social restrictions, or PSBB.
Workplace Protocols During PSBB
During the period of enforced large-scale social restrictions, the following protocols must be implemented in the workplace:
a. Management Policies to Mitigate COVID-19 Transmission
During PSBB, the employer/office management shall continue to monitor the development of COVID-19 cases in the area. This information can be accessed at http://infeksiemerging.kemenkes.go.id. Employers must also continue to observe local government policies regarding COVID-19.
Employers shall establish a COVID-19 Response Team/Task Force in the workplace consisting of a chairperson and designated persons in charge of personnel, health and safety (K3), and a health worker. The management shall also (i) provide policies and procedures for workers to report every case of suspected COVID-19 symptoms, (ii) refrain from stigmatizing positive cases, and (iii) implement a work from home policy by determining which workers are required to come to the office (\"Essential Workers‚Äù) and which may work from home.
b. Health Protocols in the Workplace for Essential Workers
To accommodate essential workers who are required to come into the office during the PSBB period, the employer/management must ensure the following measures are implemented:
i. All workers shall have their temperature taken and fill out a COVID-19 Risk Self-Assessment form (attached in the Guidelines) before entering the workplace.
ii. Refrain from requiring overtime work.
iii. Late-night shifts should be avoided or only assigned to workers under the age of 50.
iv. Workers are obliged to wear protective face masks.
v. Ensure any food provided by the workplace is nutritious. If possible, workers shall be given vitamin C supplements.
vi. Facilitate a safe and healthy workplace by maintaining hygiene, air quality and providing handwashing facilities.
vii. Implement physical distancing in all activities.
viii. Implement the Healthy Living Community Movement (Gerakan Masyarakat Hidup Sehat or \"GERMAS‚Äù) through the Clean and Healthy Lifestyle Movement (Pola Hidup Sehat dan Perilaku Hidup Sehat dan Bersih or \"PHBS‚Äù) in the workplace. This includes encouraging workers to routinely wash their hands and to cover their mouths and noses with their upper arm or with a tissue, which they then properly dispose of, when coughing. Workers should also be encouraged to exercise together before work while maintaining a safe physical distance, sunbathe during breaks, eat a nutritious and balanced diet, and avoid the communal use of items such as prayer mats and cutlery.
c. Provide Information About COVID-19
Employers shall ensure that workers are given information on how to mitigate the transmission of COVID 19 by learning how the virus is spread, how to identify the symptoms, and how to implement the Clean and Healthy Lifestyle Movement. Employers must also put in place a monitoring and reporting system for new COVID-19 cases. This information can be provided by various measures, including putting up banners and distributing pamphlets in the office. Materials can be found at www.covid19.go.id.
Worker Obligations During PSBB
While the large-scale social restrictions are in place, workers shall also abide by the following protocols:
a. Workers who are not coming to work shall remain at home. If it is absolutely necessary for them to go out, they shall maintain physical distancing of at least one meter.
b. Facilitate a safe and healthy home environment by maintaining hygiene and air quality.
c. Routinely wash their hands with soap and water.
d. Implement the proper coughing etiquette.
e. Use protective face masks.
f. Distance themselves from sick family members.
g. Workers experiencing COVID-19 symptoms must immediately consult with a health worker using a telemedicine provider such as SehatPedia, Halodoc, Good Doctor, the COVID-19 call center, etc.
h. Avoid visiting health service facilities during the pandemic, but if it is absolutely necessary to go, wear a protective face mask.
i. Obtain information regarding COVID-19 from trusted sources such as www.covid19.go.id.
Workplace Protocols After PSBB
After the large-scale social restrictions have been lifted, businesses shall maintain health protocols in the workplace. An office\'s management/COVID-19 Task Force shall:
a. Keep workers updated regarding COVID-19.
b. Obligate workers to use protective face masks.
c. Restrict sick workers from entering the workplace.
d. Give workers the right to self-quarantine/self-isolate (if necessary).
e. Provide a separate room to observe workers who are showing COVID-19 symptoms.
f. Facilitate a self-quarantine/self-isolation facility (if necessary).
g. Maintain hygiene and sanitation in the workplace.
h. Implement transmission prevention measures such as the installation of barriers or glass screens for workers serving customers.
i. The day before entering the workplace, all workers shall carry out a COVID-19 Risk Self-Assessment to ensure they are healthy and free from the virus.
j. Set up a temperature checkpoint at the entrance of the workplace.
k. Implement physical distancing inside the workplace, using positioning stickers on the floor and posters/signage as a reminder.
l. If possible, the workplace shall provide transportation for workers from their home to the workplace.
m. A health worker or designated person in charge of K3/personnel shall proactively monitor the health of all employees.
Worker Obligations After PSBB
After the PSBB period, workers are required to continue to follow the protocols for a healthy lifestyle (Gerakan Masyarakat Hidup Sehat or \"GERMAS‚Äù) on the way to the workplace, in the workplace and upon returning to their homes. These procedures are outlined in the Guidelines.
They shall also maintain a healthy immune system. Workers with a degenerative disease such as diabetes, hypertension, respiratory problems or kidney problems, and immunocompromised or pregnant workers must also exercise extreme caution.
OTG, ODP, PDP or Infected Workers
The Guidelines also provide procedures for various scenarios. These include the following:
a. A worker who been in contact with an infected individual but is not showing any symptoms (Orang Tanpa Gejala or \"OTG‚Äù) shall immediately report to the nearest health center and health office and take a polymerase chain reaction (\"PCR‚Äù) test or Rapid Test.
b. A worker with a fever (‚â•38 degrees Celsius) or respiratory problems without any other symptoms, or who in the 14 days prior to the onset of these symptoms has travelled to or resided in a country that has reported local transmission of COVID-19, or has had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient (Orang Dalam Pemantauan or \"ODP‚Äù) shall take a PCR test on the first and second day of the onset of the symptoms. If a PCR test is not available, they may take a Rapid Test.
c. A worker with a fever (‚â•38 degrees Celsius) and a cough, trouble breathing, sore throat, flu/pneumonia-like symptoms without any other causes, and in the 14 days prior to the onset of these symptoms has travelled to or resided in a country that has reported local transmission of COVID-19 or has had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient (Pasien Dalam Pemantauan or \"PDP‚Äù) shall immediately be referred to a designated hospital. They will also complete an epidemiology test (form attached in the Guidelines) to identify OTG workers they have been in contact with.
d. A worker who has been declared to have COVID-19 following a positive PCR test (Kasus Konfirmasi or \"Infected Workers) will also complete an epidemiology test to identify OTG workers they have come in contact with.
The workplace will identify workers who have been in contact with PDP and Infected Workers through a Contact Identification Form (attached to the Guidelines). These workers are then categorized as Ring 1 (direct contact with ODP, PDP and Infected workers) and Ring 2 (in the same room as ODP, PDP and Infected workers). Workers in Ring 1 and Ring 2 are required to take a Rapid Test and self-quarantine/self-isolate by working from home and implementing proper physical distancing procedures. If they experience COVID-19 symptoms, they shall immediately inform health workers. The procedures for self-quarantine/self-isolation can be found in a form attached to the Guidelines.
Workplace areas contaminated by ODP, PDP or Infected Workers shall be disinfected and closed for 24 hours during the cleaning process, and the doors or windows shall then be left open for 24 hours after the cleaning/disinfectant process.
Monitoring and Sanctions
The Minister of Health decree does not stipulate sanctions for non-compliance with the Guidelines. However, it provides that the central government, provincial governments, and regency/city governments are authorized to supervise the implementation of the Guidelines, in accordance with their respective authorities, and may also involve the community.
At the moment in Jakarta, sanctions for violations of PSBB restrictions are regulated in Government of DKI Jakarta Regulation No. 41 Year 2020 (\"Regulation 41‚Äù). Article 6 paragraph 2 of Regulation 41 provides that workplaces operating during PSBB that do not implement proper protocols to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 are subject to administrative sanctions in the form of a written warning and administrative fines of at least Rp 25 million and a maximum of Rp 50 million.
Coordination Between Industries and Regional Governments
The Guidelines provide that government, the private sector and the community must cooperate and collaborate in efforts to mitigate and control COVID-19. The roles of health offices (Dinas Kesehatan), employment offices (Dinas Ketenagakerjaan), health centers (Puskesmas), hospitals/clinics, offices and industrial workplaces, and workers are all laid out in the Guidelines.
Offices/industrial workplaces shall:
a. Provide a safe and healthy work environment for workers by implementing various measures to mitigate and control COVID-19 in the workplace. These measures shall be integrated with other occupational safety and health measures.
b. Coordinate with their local health office in preventing the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace.
c. Report to the health office if workers are exposed to COVID-19.
d. Facilitate self-quarantine/self-isolation facilities for workers classified as OTG, ODP or PDP (if necessary).
The involvement of all parties - the government, businesses and the community - in the mitigation and monitoring of COVID-19 in the workplace can help minimize the impact of the virus on the sustainability of business, and can help to suppress and control the spread of the virus in the community. Workers play a significant role in breaking the chain of transmission due to their large numbers and high mobility and interaction. It is therefore crucial that the Guidelines are implemented as intended.
This publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Any reliance on the material contained herein is at the user\'s own risk. You should contact a lawyer in your jurisdiction if you require legal advice. All SSEK publications are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without the express written consent of SSEK.