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FKE Urges employers to Constitute health committees under new Return to Work guidelines

NAIROBI, Kenya June 11 –The Federation of Kenya Employers has urged employers to constitute occupational safety and health committees which will steer the return to work process even with the revision of curfew hours to allow 4 pm- 9 pm working hours schedule.

 The lobby group said the planning team composed of both employers and employees will be mandated to formulate and implement occupational safety and health preventive and control measures.

“Develop a work plan that includes steps to be taken to organize a safe and healthy return to work. This should be part of the business continuity plan,” FKE advised in a document dated June 5th.

The committees will also be required to train members on the basic principles for the formulation and implementation of occupational safety and health preventive and control measures

Under the new guidelines, employers have also been urged to conduct risk assessment and put in place preventive and control measures for those who will be required to return to work.

“Implement the prevention and control measures before resuming business activity and determine if your sector is fit for teleworking,” the lobby group added.

FKE advises that companies should identify critical personnel who will be required to be present during the reopening process while calling for the creation of policies which will limit the number of workers and visitors in the workplace.

Under the protocols for consideration in implementing return to work plans,  FKE says, “Where possible, plan for gradual/staggered or a phased out reopening from a minimal level to a normal level of operations.”

“Identify focal points to monitor prevention and control measures, maintain ongoing communication with employees throughout, keep them informed of the policies and measures taken,” FKE further pointed out.

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In order to prevent a crisis in the workplace amid the coronavirus pandemic which as of June 10 had infected 3094 people, employers have been asked to put in place hierarchy-of-controls strategy which prioritizes engineering, organizational, and administrative controls .

The strategies as listed by FKE include ensuring workplace is ventilated, avoidance of physical interaction and concentration of workers, training as well as communication of employees about the measures to re open workplace.

“The employers to provide PPEs and train workers on its use , promote pyshical hygiene, ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of work premises and conduct health surveillance to monitor health status of workers,” FKE further advised.

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