Union Galvasteel Corporation (UGC) is manufacturer and distributor of pre-painted and other galvanized roofing, and of galvanized steel building products. With the imposition of the enhanced community quarantine last March, UGC has been looking forward to re-starting its business operations but has emphasized that the situation will be a “new business normal” and no longer “business as usual”.
In response to this, UGC has implemented guidelines to align employees to the new business normal which will be strictly implemented in all company locations. These guidelines were released in April 2020.
Aside from the Guidelines on the New Business Normal, UGC has also crafted its own “COVID-19 Return to Work Protocols” which are measures that must be taken at all sites and locations once a return to work order has been given by the Management. These protocols apply to all UGC personnel on all facilities including plants, projects and project sites, offices, terminals, and warehouses.
Once the Management gives the green light to open plants/offices to employees, contractors, and customers based on risk assessments and government directives, UGC aims to limit people coming to the sites to essential personnel only. Following GCQ guidelines, the number of employees who will report must be based on the number of headcounts a particular area can accommodate considering the 6 feet apart social distancing rule.
The security officer will also be provided with the signed manpower list containing names of personnel officially allowed back to work and only these workers will be allowed entry. Non-essential visitors and third parties are restricted from entering the premises unless approved by the highest-ranking officer on-site or his designated representative. Moreover, all employees are required to fill up a General Health Declaration form prior to reopening of the plants and offices.
When going to and from work, UGC has specific protocols for those workers who will be commuting using PUVs and those riding the company van or rented shuttle services. All employees are asked to wear cloth masks and ensure that social distancing guidelines are followed either in a tricycle, jeepney, bus, motorcycle, or carpooling services. If public transportation is reduced and inadequate for employees who are physically reporting to work, UGC will be providing a company van or rented shuttle services. Company van or shuttle driver must only allow persons on the approved list to board the vehicle and must also wear cloth masks and face shields.
In terms of plant/office entry, UGC employees at the screening area must follow designated distance markers to keep >1m from each other while on queue. Prior to work resumption, UGC will be providing its security guards with training on the guidelines. Trained security guards with PPEs will be asking basic screening questions to incoming employees prior to temperature screening using an infrared thermal scanner. The questionnaire will be asked only once after the personnel goes back to work after shutdown, but temperature checking is to be done daily.
In addition, UGC will be conducting risk assessment to ensure that truck drivers who will be going to the plant/terminal/warehouse are not from COVID-19 “hotspots”. Security officers and guards will be provided with the names of the approved drivers and those with no trip schedules will not be allowed entry. All approved drivers must be wearing cloth face masks at minimum prior to screening. An emergency isolation room/area must be designated should there be a failure of the aforementioned controls, as well as contract tracing and disinfection protocols.
All UGC workers are expected to stay at home or to seek medical attention, if needed. If at the company premises, all must observe social distancing, basic hand-washing practices, and proper cough and sneezing etiquette. Employees are also encouraged to use the stairs whenever possible, but if using the elevator, they must make sure to follow social distancing of >1m. Staggered break times will also be imposed to avoid crowding. In relation to that, meeting rooms must also be temporarily decommissioned, and virtual meetings and trainings will be conducted.
New Work Protocols
1. Entering and exiting buildings/offices/rooms
- If possible, workers should use their elbows to open doors. They are also expected to wash their hands before going to their workstations/area where they need to go. UGC will also consider placing mechanisms to enable opening of doors by foot or place door stoppers.
- Employees must follow UGC travel directives for international destinations.
- No travels allowed within domestic destinations (i.e. beyond the municipality/city of work) until further notice.
- If a person will travel for personal reason, he or she should disclose where. Depending on the destination and accompanying risk, management may want to quarantine that person (i.e. 14 days home quarantine) before allowing access to any UGC site/office.
3. Customer/contractor project site visits
- As much as possible, calls and video conferencing must be used to get in touch with customers.
- Everyone must follow post-quarantine plans and guidance prior to allowing sales field work officers to make site visits.
- UGC employees making site visits must first seek approval from customers and / or contractors they intend to visit.
- Sales officers and other UGC employees should wear prescribed PPE when visiting customer sites and observe social distancing rules. If UGC social distancing rules are more stringent than visited site’s rules, follow UGC rules.
4. Customer service/invoice collection
- UGC intends to design a barrier that would provide protection for both customer/messenger and receiver. When using plastic sheeting, air circulation will be taken into account.
- Alcohol and disinfectant will be provided. Front Desk officers must make it a habit to clean the area after every transaction without offending the customer.
5. Receiving visitors
- Visitors are restricted to essentials only. Personal visitors of employees will not be allowed on site.
- A designated visitor area will be provided and employees must discourage visitors from going to their work area.
6. Cleaning and disinfection
- All buildings, work areas, kitchens, dining facilities, staff houses especially water facilities will be cleaned and disinfected at least once a day, particularly surfaces that are touched by many people (office railings, desk, tables, computers, lunch table, doors and window handles, tools, etc.).
- Sodium hypochlorite 0.5% (equivalent to 5,000 ppm) will be utilized for disinfecting surfaces and 70% alcohol for disinfecting small items.
- Cleaning staff must be provided with appropriate PPEs. All trash will be removed and disposed of safely especially tissues and masks. Co-processing facilities will be used for disposal.
To know more about UGC’s COVID-19 Return to Work Protocols, you may follow these links:
- UGC Guidelines on New Business Normal
- UGC General Health Declaration Form for employees
- UGC COVID 19 Return to Work Protocols
- UGC DOLE Compliance Evidence
The Philippines is slowly traversing the road to economic recovery. As we move towards the end of the lockdown and anticipate a new normal, policymakers, regulators, and the private sector are now gearing up for continuity and resiliency. Businesses and establishments, which were once directed to temporarily shut down operations due to the imposed enhanced community quarantine, are slowly preparing for the resumption of work.
The Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Labor and Employment jointly issued interim guidelines to assist private institutions in developing the minimum health protocols and standards for the workplace to prevent and control the spread of the coronavirus.
While some companies have instituted business continuity plans at the onset, many companies, especially the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) which have limited resources and access to information, do not have such plans.
In this regard, we would like to respectfully ask our constituents in the business community to share with us your re-entry plans, to include work arrangements, workplace etiquettes, social distancing measures, health and safety protocols, facilities management, and visitor policies, among others.
We would like to know how your new normal and post-lockdown offices would look like. We need these stories to show how companies intend to continue their businesses while ensuring the welfare of the workers and their families, suppliers, customers, as well as the community. These cases may also provide guidance to smaller companies on how to navigate the new dynamics of the world of work.
We would appreciate getting salient features of your model policies, best practices, and strategic plans on or before 15 July 2020. ECOP will publish them in its website and social media accounts under the series “Business Continues, Business Cares: Strategic Framework towards Re-entry and Recovery”. Please send them to ECOP’s Advocacy, Research and Communications Department ([email protected]).
Visit ECOP COVID-19 Center