Articles Details

  • 27
    May / 2020

    COVID 19 - Safe Work Practice – SOP for Indian Industries

    Background of the Document

    A pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan, China was first reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Office in China on 31 December 2019. The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020 by WHO. On 11 February 2020, WHO announced COVID-19 as pandemic.

    Most of the countries in the world underwent a lockdown to prevent the spread of the disease. India was not an exception. On 23nd March 2020, Prime minister of India declared a total lockdown for three weeks. All industrial activities came to a grinding halt impacting people’s life and economy.

    Till date no confirm solution has been reported to prevent corona virus infection (COVID-19). It may take an unusually long time to find out a workable prevention for people against COVID-19. Industries shall have to sail through such an unprecedented challenge for their survival.

    Government of India and State Governments have taken several initiatives to reduce the spread of such a disease in the society. All stakeholders are working together to bring back normalcy as far as possible in industrial activities.

    Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India in a directive published on 15th April 2020 has allowed few essential services to resume their operation with certain mandatory guidelines as Standard Operating procedure for Social Distancing for Offices, Workplace, Factories and Establishments.

    If situation improves, the authority may consider to allow other industries to resume their operation. But work practices shall not be the same again and shall undergo permanent changes.

    This Standard operating procedure has been prepared in line with MHA guidelines industries can practice as an interim or permanent measure to minimise spreading of COVID-19 and to maintain a safe and healthy ambience for their employees.



    This document is prepared as a model Standard Operating Procedure for Industries to

    Minimise the risk of COVID-19 infection for employees Follow the guidelines announced by Govt. of India Follow safe work practice while on work or travel Manage mass gatherings Make the organisation ready in case of COVID-19 emergency

    Promote a permanent change in work culture.


    Standard Operating Procedure


    All areas in the premises including the following shall be disinfected completely using user friendly disinfectant mediums

    Entrance gate of the Building, Office, etc. Cafeteria and Canteens Meeting Room, conference halls/Open Areas   

    available/Veranda/Entrance, gate of site, bunkers/ Porta

    cabins, buildings, etc.

    Equipment and Lifts Washrooms, toilets, sink, water points Walls/all other surfaces.





    Before Opening of the Plant/Office/Work site

    Organisations shall plan before starting the plant activity considering MHA guidelines, resource requirements, manpower, sequence of actions required, monitoring mechanism and safety requirements during reopening and operation of the plant.

    People essential to reopen and to start operation shall only be called at first stage.

    Manpower shall be increased in stages as and when required.

    The whole physical infrastructure shall be disinfected within the premises considering possibilities of human access.

    Common utilities and spaces if shared with other organisation shall be coordinated for disinfection.

    Trained people shall be used with proper PPEs for disinfection

    Disinfectant shall be of approved quality

    Supervisory control shall be ensured

    Any activity if outsourced for reopening the plant, additional vendor control procedure shall be applied following MHA guideline for COVID-19.

    Biometric attendance system shall be discontinued.


    Organisation to organisation planning requirements may vary.









    Disinfectant with 1% sodium hypochlorite or phenolic may be used.



    Vendors with required credential experience may be selected.


    Before Each shift change

    Parts of Infrastructure and access points where chances of contact are more shall be disinfected with special attention to

    Common Areas and passages


    Door handles/locks

    Tool Boxes

    Shop floor cubicles and Seating arrangements, etc.


    Note 1: Appropriate care shall be taken for cleaning of garbage, spittoons, etc.


    Organisation shall arrange to maintain all relevant records of workers and staff entering the premises. As a minimum,




    Contact Number:

    Travel History:

    Doctor’s certificate related to COVID-19 testing.


    Organisation shall also collect information about the family/people staying with the person including

    Travel History:

    Doctor’s certificate related to COVID-19 testing.

    Workers above 60 years of age shall not be allowed to enter the premises.

    Employees with medical history of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, cancer shall not be allowed to enter the premises.


    Note 1: More information shall be collected for employees joining after a leave




    For workers coming from outside, special transportation facilities will be arranged without any dependency on public transport system. These vehicles should be allowed to work only with 30 – 40% passenger capacity.



    Passenger transport system (Bus, Auto, car, etc.) shall be arranged for workers commuting from a distance.

    All vehicles shall be disinfected before start of a trip

    These vehicles shall accommodate people not more than 40% of passenger capacity.

    If the service is outsourced, certificate of fitness shall be ensured for the driver and the vehicle.

    Necessary clearance shall be arranged from the appropriate authority to make the travel hassle-free and safe for employees.

    Use of Mask shall be made mandatory.

    Under no circumstances workers shall use any unauthorised vehicle (such as goods vehicle, auto, etc.) to attend their duties.


    Note1: Supervisory Control may be exercised.









    Workers commuting from nearby locality shall walk down or can use own transport to join duty.

    Employees shall be advised to maintain adequate distance from each other while commuting.

    Use of Mask shall be mandatory.

    Adequate social distancing norms (At least 6 feet) shall be maintained at parking area or in cycle stand.


    Note 1: Different timings to start from home may be planned.


    Note 2: Temporary stands may be created.


    All vehicles and machinery entering the premise should be disinfected by spray mandatorily.




    All vehicles and machinery entering the premise shall be disinfected by spraying chemicals as per the directive of Ministry of Health and family welfare.

    Vehicle drivers/helpers shall be tested thermal check and shall not be allowed to move inside the premises without permission.

    Packaging material shall be collected and quarantined to an identified location for disposal.


    Note 1: A separate instruction for this activity may be developed.


    Mandatory thermal scanning of everyone entering or exiting the workplace to be done




    Thermal scanning of all people entering or exiting the workplace shall be carried out for COVID – 19 symptoms at entry/exit gate of the premises

    Note 1: Entry and exit timing may be staggered as thermal scanning may take additional time.


    In case of a person comes under suspicion after scanning, the person shall be immediately moved to isolation (located nearby) and the responsible health and safety officer shall be informed without undue delay for next course of action.  Necessary system shall be made available in all shifts.



    The person shall be treated as per the direction of the physician.


    Note 1: Contact numbers shall be made available


    Medical Insurance for the workers to be made mandatory




    All workers shall be covered under ESI. New workers shall be brought under ESI cover before they join their duties.




    Provision of hand wash and sanitizer preferably with touch free mechanism will be made at all entry and exit points and common areas. Sufficient quantities of all the items should be available.



    Considering that it may take some time to arrange sufficient number of touch free sanitizing system, organisation shall arrange for sufficient number of hand washing facilities with soap as a temporary measure. The water tap arrangement shall be such that it can be operated by elbow.

    These facilities shall be arranged in common toilets, wash rooms including different locations of the shop floor with easy access.

    Posters/displays and other communication methods shall be in place to encourage employees to wash their hands frequently and about its benefit.

    Training /Demonstration shall be carried out on the right process of hand washing.

    Use of Mask shall be encouraged.


    Note 1: Workers can use liquid soap solution.


    Note 2: Employees may report discomfort about wearing mask. Special attention to be given to convince them for its necessity.


    Workplaces shall have a gap of one hour between shifts and will stagger the lunch break of staff, to ensure social distancing




    Shift hours shall be such that there is a gap of at least one hour between end of a shift to the start of the next shift.


    Shift 1: 6.00 AM to 2.00 PM

    Shift 2: 3.00 PM to 11.00 PM

    Notification of timing shall be communicated to employees and to the appropriate authority.




    Lunch breaks and tiffin breaks shall be staggered suitably to avoid gathering of people.

    A supervisory control mechanism shall be in place to control and monitor the process.



    Large gatherings or meeting of 10 or more people to be discouraged. Seating at least six feet away from others on job sites and in gatherings, meetings and training sessions.


    MHA Guideline


    Large gatherings or meeting of 10 or more people shall be avoided. If any such gathering becomes unavoidable, prior approval shall be taken from appropriate authority. Social distancing of 6 feet shall be maintained.



    People shall avoid shaking hands.



    Employees shall be discouraged to take part in religious congregation as an interim measure.

    Note 1: Refer MHA Directive dated 15.04.2020, point no. xii.


    In all training sessions, Canteens, rest rooms social distancing norms to be maintained. Necessary Instructions shall be communicated appropriately.

    Note 2:

    A monitoring mechanism shall be in place.


    All locations of mass gathering shall have visible markings for social distancing to guide people.


    Note 3: Ques in Canteen, Exit and Entry gates, etc.


    Not more than 2/4 persons (depending on size) will be allowed to travel in lifts or hoists.


    MHA Guideline


    Clear instruction shall be displayed on Lifts or hoists to prohibit such practice




    Use of staircase for climbing should be encouraged.


    MHA Guideline


    People shall be encouraged to use staircases maintaining social distancing norm.




    There should be strict ban of gutka, tobacco, etc. and spitting shall be strictly prohibited.


    MHA Guideline


    Organisation shall strictly prohibit sale or consumption of gutka, tobacco, or any such material within factory premises that may cause harm to human health.

    Communication methods shall be established to convince people about the harmful effect of these material on human health.

    An effective monitoring system shall be established.




    Employees shall be discouraged against spitting within factory premises.

    An effective communication and monitoring system shall be in place to prohibit such practice.




    There should be total ban on non-essential visitors at site

    MHA Guideline


    Non-essential visitors shall not be allowed within the factory premises.

    Records of entry and exit of all visitors shall be maintained with personal details, contact number, address, etc.

    Visitors shall undergo thermal scanning before entry.


    Note 1: Visitors shall be guided to destination.


    Hospitals, clinics in the nearby areas, which are authorised to treat COVID-19 patients, should be identified and list should be available at workplace all the time.


    MHA Guideline


    Organisation shall be in close contact with nearby hospitals allowed to treat COVID-19 patients.

    Contact details of such hospitals shall be communicated/displayed within the factory premises for information to all workers and staff.

    Alternative and back up arrangement shall be arranged for all shifts.


    Note 1: Route Map shall be made available


    Disaster Management System



    A disaster management system shall be developed and shall be in place considering sudden outbreak of COVID-19 among employees or in nearby locality.

    Note 1: A separate procedure shall be developed for disaster management.


    The system  shall involve top management and other employees including local authorities.



    Communication System



    Employees shall be regularly communicated about the status and performance of the changed system including notifications from GOI and state Government.


    Note1: Effective communication to employees shall play a key role for their involvement in the process of change.


    Notice and other information shall be displayed at conspicuous locations preferably in local vernacular.



    Regularity of communication shall be maintained.


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