30 firms face probe over safe distancing breach of workers in lorries, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

30 firms face probe over safe distancing breach of workers in lorries

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Some 30 companies in essential services are being investigated for allegedly not complying with safe distancing measures while ferrying their workers in lorries, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said yesterday.

This comes after stricter measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 kicked in on Monday, requiring employers and lorry owners to review the maximum seating capacity in their vehicles, so that workers can maintain a safe distance of 1m from each other while seated.

As of 10am yesterday, 28 vehicles had been stopped and checked in an islandwide multi-agency enforcement operation by MOM, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Traffic Police.

Vehicles carrying workers were directed to a holding area and inspected by officers patrolling the roads on motorbikes.

The Straits Times saw about 10 vehicles pass through one such holding area in Soon Lee Road in Jurong during a 11/2-hour period yesterday.

MOM officers used measuring tape to confirm if they were in violation of the 1m rule.

Those guilty of such a violation were required to adjust their seating capacity on the spot, which meant some of the workers on board had to disembark.

Officers spoke to the respective employers over the phone, who then had to arrange for another vehicle to pick up the unfortunate workers at the holding area.

An employer who contravenes the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 faces a fine of up to $10,000 or a jail term of up to six months, or both. The penalties are doubled for repeat offenders.

"We are seeing a mix (of good and bad). There are indeed very good practices on the ground where the workers are spaced out 1m apart.

"But of course, there are some companies that probably need more time to implement some of these measures," said MOM's director of occupational safety and health specialist Ismadi Mohd.

MOM said the operation will continue throughout Singapore's circuit breaker period and advised employers to make provisions for additional trips or lorries where necessary.