Thu | Jul 16, 2020

SAJ members adhere to strict COVID-19 protocols

Published:Tuesday | June 16, 2020 | 12:11 AM
Adolph Levy’s social-distancing floor markers for customers.
Adolph Levy’s social-distancing floor markers for customers.

Following the expiration of the Government’s work-from-home order on June 1, the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ) and its members have committed to the continuation of strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocols which they have enforced to comply with government directives.

In response to the health risks posed by the coronavirus, the SAJ and its 79 members in April initiated a COVID-19 compliance audit, undertaken by SAJ’s occupational health nurse, Deanmarie White. As a result of the audit, the association and its members have strengthened their prevention methods.

Effective June 1, all employees of the SAJ are required to complete a screening process, which includes temperature checks, travel history and other screening questions prior to resuming full attendance at the offices. Additionally, the companies have continued work-from-home arrangements for some employees so as to facilitate effective social distancing and in response to other challenges being faced by staff, such as having to use public transportation and having suitable arrangements to care for children still at home while schools remain closed.

As part of its safety measures, Laparkan Shipping installed foot-powered hand-wash station for staff and customers.

Signage, such as Adolph Levy’s social-distancing floor markers for customers, are displayed across member companies to reinforce best practices, along with the development of communication and emergency plans should there be any suspicions of infection.

The audit comprised an inspection of each member company, along with the successful completion of compliance questionnaires. The questions focused on management plans to control risks and support the workplace, emergency response plans, provision of cleaning supplies, general hygiene, communication, social distancing, personal protective equipment, travel and emotional and mental support.

As companies gradually resume their operations, Nurse White asks that, as a nation, we do not “drop the ball”, highlighting that “it is not just the coronavirus that is a threat to the world’s health status, but other viruses and bacteria remain health challenges for all”. She said that persons need to be cognisant of the fact that cleanliness should always be a way of life, and not just in the time of the pandemic. She also recommended that efforts be made to keep work and home environments clean at all times. Personal hygiene should always be maintained, as this single act is a great barrier against many other diseases and infections, White said.

In the workplace, it is advisable that persons continue to maintain the practices of physical distancing and the wearing of masks when in close contact with other individuals. Persons with medical conditions, which may compromise their immune systems, must take greater care to ensure they do not become infected.

Nurse White said many persons may not be aware that COVID-19 has taken a mental toll on all persons in one way or another, and as people respond differently to stressors, we must not neglect the mental health of all concerned. Special care should be paid to children, who have been negatively affected by this pandemic. She warns that in the workplace, persons may also ‘act out’ their stresses in different ways, so it is very important to know and be able to recognise the signs of stress and depression.