Construction firms employing migrant workers can now resume work outside of the construction site and supply works premises without seeking approval from the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), as part of its measures to accelerate the restart of construction work safely.
Earlier on Tuesday (11 Aug), the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) stated that all migrant worker dormitories are cleared of the COVID-19, except for 17 standalone blocks in six purpose-built dormitories (PBDs).
Following that, BCA announced on Wednesday (12 Aug) that it has granted permission for all firms with foreign construction workers to resume work, adding that 40,000 workers are expected to benefit from this.
“All firms employing foreign workers registered with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) under Construction Account (foreign construction workers), outside of construction sites and supply works premises, have been allowed to resume work without the need to apply to BCA for approval,” it noted.
However, all workers must meet four conditions before being approved to resume work – they have to be cleared of COVID-19 infection, are not on Stay-Home Notices, and are staying in accommodations cleared of the COVID-19. They must also install the TraceTogether app.
But this only applies to smaller-scale projects that employ a relatively limited number of workers, such as renovation work and lift maintenance. For deployment of workers at construction sites and supply works premises, main contractors are still required to apply for BCA’s approval to resume work.
“To minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission, main contractors will have to set out in their applications to BCA the necessary safe management measures. Main contractors will continue to make the application on behalf of its subcontractors and the subcontractors’ workers for such works,” said the authority in its statement.
BCA will also temporarily suspend the 10-accommodation restriction to facilitate a faster construction restart.
“During this time, employers should work towards cohorting their foreign workers together in their accommodation, minimally by employers,” it remarked.
The authority added that employers and accommodation operators should ensure safe living measures are implemented at the workers’ accommodation premises, and provide dedicated transport for their migrant workers to go to work.
“Contractors should take into account the larger number of workers on-site and enforce strict zoning of their workforce, and ensure that workers residing in different accommodation or performing different activities do not intermingle on site.
“BCA will closely monitor the situation, including stepping up audits and inspections at worksites,” it asserted.
BCA – together with MOM, Inter-agency Task Force (ITF), and the Economic Development Board (EDB) – will work with operators of the Foreign Employee Dormitories Act (FEDA) to facilitate cohorting of workers in dormitories to minimize intermingling of workers, which will involve the relocation of about 160,000 workers in 43 FEDA-licensed dormitories.
“Employers and workers will be informed of the cohorting schedule in advance, so that workers can prepare for the shift, including packing their personal belongings,” said the authority.
Workers who are living in cleared dormitories with “green” AccessCode status on their SGWorkPass app will be allowed to resume working while the cohorting exercise is underway. BCA added that firms must cohort their workers by 30 September.
“Otherwise, the AccessCode of their workers will turn ‘red’ and the workers will no longer be able to work.”