KARACHI: The Sindh government will only allow those export-oriented units to resume operations which submit an undertaking to abide in letter and spirit with the prescribed standard operating procedures (SoPs) of the provincial government.
The decision was taken during a meeting between Chief Secretary Sindh, Mumtaz Ali Shah, Provincial Minister Jam Ikram Ullah Dharejo and representatives of various industrial bodies on Wednesday
The Sindh government had notified comprehensive SoPs for workplaces and industries on April 14 in a move to contain the spread of Covid19 while resuming business activities.
Under the SoPs, factory owners shall be responsible for treatment of workers, labour and persons contracting coronavirus. Random tests for Covid-19 may be conducted by health authorities from time to time.
Only units that submit undertaking will be allowed to operate
No workers or employee of over the age of 55 years are to be called for work, it was recommended.
Those industries which have been green lighted need to ensure implementation of SoPs for which they have to provide an undertaking to the government, Chief Secretary Sindh said. Besides, industrialists are also bound to provide details of workers in the units to the government, he added.
Talking to Dawn, Council of Textile Association (CTA) Chairman Zubair Motiwala said the government is taking an undertaking from exporters, ensuring that they follow six main clauses of the SoPs.
Under the SoPs, random visits for Covid19 can be conducted at the units by the provincial health authorities.
He said some 224 textiles and leather units have applied for operating their units. The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) has verified 82 applications and sent these to the Sindh Labour Department.
“After getting permission from the government, exporters will resume their partial production in first phase to clear their pending export orders,” the CTA chairman said.
As per Sindh’s Home Department order relating to SoPs for workplaces and industry, industrialists would ensure that only minimal essential staff for the permissible activities/operations is engaged. As far as possible, engage in online and work from home mode of operations, the government recommends.
Modify workstations or stagger hours to increase spaces between staff, visitors and customers/clients. Also determine and display room/hall capacity for persons, keeping in view over three feet distance required to be kept between individuals.
The workers/staff will wear masks and hand gloves which are to be ensured in sufficient quantities by the management.
Doors, handles, copy machines, printers, light switches, telephones, keyboards and machinery/equipments must be wiped clean with proper disinfectant after every use.
The floor must be cleaned on regular basis with disinfectant before and after every shift and premises fumigated as required.
Industries would ensure providing enough space during lunch or other breaks to workers and staffers for sitting at a distance of three feet.
Prayer areas will have no rugs/mats and only limited persons will pray at a given time to ensure adequate spacing. The floor must be wiped clean after every prayer.
Dedicated workers must be employed to keep toilets clean and disinfected. Canteen, cooking and baking places will adopt measures of distancing followed by use of gloves, masks and head covers by the cook and serving persons.
Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2020