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Employees will be required to wear face masks at work to minimize the risk of spreading and catching coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) when they’re allowed by government to return to their offices.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) shared Friday (May 1) details of the interim guidelines on workplace prevention and control of COVID-19 that employers will be required to follow.

Under the guidelines, all employers and workers should wear face masks at all times at the workplace. The face masks should only be removed when they are eating or drinking. Employers shall provide the appropriate face masks for workers.

Everyone at the workplace are also required to accomplish daily health symptoms form, undergo temperature check, and have them recorded in the health symptoms questionnaire.

The employer must provide the DOLE through its Regional Office, copy furnished DOH, the monthly reporting of illness, diseases, and injuries utilizing the DOLE Work Accident/illness Report Form (WAIR).

Workers whose temperature is more than 37.5 degrees celsius should be isolated following evaluation by the clinic staff. He or she will not be allowed to enter the workplace premises.

Clinic staff assigned to assess the workers held in the isolation area shall be provided the appropriate medical grade PPEs by the establishment which shall include but not limited to, face masks, goggles/face shields, and or gloves.

Disinfection must also be done for equipment or vehicle entering the establishments, including facilities, and touched objects, such as doorknobs and handles, at least once every two hours.

On top of observing at all times physical distancing, proper respiratory etiquette and disinfection protocols, eating in communal areas are also discouraged, and if this is not possible, the employer shall ensure a one worker per table and one-meter distance per worker scheme.

Workers are also discouraged to engage in conversation, as well as prolonged face to face interaction with workers and clients. Meetings needing physical presence must also be reduced or avoided.

If feasible, employers must also provide shuttle services and/or decent accommodation on near-site locations to lessen travel and people movement.

The guidelines were drafted by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.

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