For breaching circuit breaker rules, the permits of 24 work pass holders have been revoked, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Monday (13 April). Those work pass holders have been permanently barred from working in Singapore.
MOM said the work pass holders were caught drinking, eating, and gathering in groups in the area of Tuas View Square, which is a factory-turned-dormitory. It is one of such industrial or warehouse developments which has partially turned into a dormitory for workers.
Noting that it has increased its inspection of factory-converted dormitories (FCDs) to ensure that safe distancing measures are complied with, MOM said it inspected more than 600 of such facilities in Sungei Kadut, Tuas, and other areas across the island.
“Inspections revealed that the vast majority of the FCDs (factory-converted dormitories) had instituted safe distancing measures and health checks for their residents. The dormitory residents also had no well-being or salary issues,” said the Ministry in its statement.
However, it also noted that it found that 57 of those dormitories had ‘minor lapses’. The most common issues include a lack of sick bays and isolation areas. Apart from that, the cleanliness levels at a number of the FCS were found to be “unacceptable”, for which MOM said it has issued instructions to operators to immediately rectify the problem.
“MOM will complete the inspections of the remaining 600 FCDs in the next two days.”
Other measures that should be adhered to in dormitories are that workers should stay in their rooms as much as possible and only leave the premises to get essential goods and services.
The advisory also referred to construction temporary quarters which are structures that house employees within a construction site as well as temporary occupation license quarters which are pre-fabricated temporary buildings used to house foreign workers in the construction sector.
It said, “In recent days, more cases of COVID-19 have involved foreign work pass holders in these places of residence,” said MOM. “There is serious risk of widespread outbreak in your facility.”
Earlier, MOM has issued an advisory that employers who have workers living outside purpose-built dormitories should remind their employees to adhere to safe distancing measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Purpose-built dormitories like S11 Dormitory @ Punggol and Westlite Toh Guan already have inter-agency teams in place to help the Government manage the spike in COVID-19 cases in those dormitories which have since been gazetted as isolation areas.
Other dorms to join that list include Tampines Dormitory, Toh Guan Dormitory, Sungei Tengah Lodge, Acacia Lodge, and Cochrane Lodge 1.
Employees allowed at least one hour of free space time; risk fines or revocation of work pass for breaching measures
In its advisory on Monday, MOM also advised employers to ensure that there is no ‘inter-mixing’ of workers between blocks and even, if possible, floors. The Ministry added that residents within the same floor are permitted to have at least one hour of open space time each day.
It noted, “They will be allowed to leave the dormitory during this time to buy essentials or to run important errands, such as remitting money. The workers are to minimise time spent outside and must return to the dormitory/quarters within the time period given to them.”
MOM also emphasised that it is mandatory for workers to register each time they enter or leave the dormitory, and that employers should make sure to cater meals for the workers to minimise the need for them to leave.
The Ministry said, “We need you to engage your workers and help them understand that these are important and necessary adjustments for their health and safety.”
The advisory also noted that workers who do not cooperate with the regulations will be fined and are at risk of their work passes being revoked and being permanently banned from working in Singapore.