262 test positive for Covid-19 in Kenya in under 48 hours as employer’s umbrella body FKE issues preventive Covid-19 return to work measures.

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Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) CEO Jacqueline Mugo (right) accompanied by FKE President Mr. Mark Obuya at a past event. Photo/Courtesy.

By Dickson Ogutu dickson@theexecutivetalk.co.ke

A total of 262 persons have tested positive for Covid-19 in Kenya in the period spanning forty eight hours between Sunday and Monday of June 7 and 8, 2020, Ministry of Health statistics indicate.

The National Emergency Response Committee has now warned against reckless disregard for public restraint and behavior that could further fuel spread of the virus in a Twitter message posted Tuesday morning.

“We have noted various facilities opening for business & selling alcohol to clients & We want to caution the owners that anyone who defies the directive will have their license permanently withdrawn,” said the committee.

In the same vein, employers’ umbrella body Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) has now issued fresh guidelines to employers in Kenya and their workers on preventive measures for a safe return to work in the context of COVID-19.

Kenya now has a total of 2,862 reported cases of Covid-19. 849 Kenyans have since recovered from the disease while 85 deaths have been recorded.

As a top priority, FKE is pleading with employers to form joint occupational safety and health committees at work, specifically relevant to contexts of their work environments to preside over instituting health precautions as work resumes; a committee with equal representation of both the employer and employees.

FKE is also pleading with employers to consider gradual/staggered or a phased out reopening i.e. from a minimum level to a normal level of operations based on risk assessment to establish the safety preventive and control measures in place for a safe return to work, besides strict adherence to  Ministry of Health protocols already in place.

Moreover, FKE is urging employers and businesses in Kenya to put in place policies and procedures to determine the number of workers and visitors coming to the workplace at any one given point .

“Promoting personal hygiene at the workplace will require that the employers provide workers with the conditions and means necessary for frequent hand washing with soap and water, put signage for proper hand washing methods and inform workers on the need to avoid physical contact,” said FKE CEO Jacqueline Mugo in statement on Tuesday June 8, 2020.

The Federation of Kenya employers is now recommending regular cleaning and disinfection of all business & work premises before reopening the and frequent cleaning while at the premises, emphasizing that promotion of personal hygiene at the workplace will require that the employers provide workers with the conditions and means necessary for frequent hand washing with soap and water, put signage for proper hand washing methods and inform workers on the need to avoid physical contact.

FKE’s newly released guidelines  urges employers in Kenya to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and educate workers on their correct use besides conducting regular health surveillance at the work place to constantly monitor the health status of workers. This should include employers developing clear protocols and procedures for handling cases of suspected and confirmed infection and further reporting cases of infection to the authorities.

FKE offers that employers must consider hazards including psycho social effects of Covid-19 at the work place and regularly communicate with workers and where possible provide for psychological counseling services.

Other proposals of FKE in the newly released return-to-work guidelines include the need for businesses to develop and review emergency preparedness plans adapted to COVID-19 and in view of the new changes at the workplace, Periodic review of preventive and control measures as the situation evolves to determine whether measures have been adequate to avoid or minimize risk.

FKE is urging employers in Kenya to sustain the right culture at the work place post COVID -19, fully embracing the new realities of work and evaluating the business processes, products and services with lessons learned from COVID – 19.

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