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DOL Commissioner Chen Hsin-Yu Leads a Team to Visit Hospitals, Senior Care Institutions

DOL Commissioner Chen Visits Local Hospital In preventing the Wuhan coronavirus from spreading at the workplace while protecting the health and safety of workers, Taipei City Department of Labor Commissioner Chen Hsin-Yu once again led a team to visit Taipei City Hospital, Renai Branch and Taipei City Hang-An Nursing Home Multiple Long-Term Care Services on February 5 to see if the staff is wearing masks as required and to express his gratitude to the staff for their diligent work.

Hospital workers are considered high-risk groups in terms of exposure to the Wuhan coronavirus, therefore the primary focus of the inspection is to ensure that hospitals supply their staff with adequate personal protective gear (mask, protective visor, and protective suit) depending on the level of risks at various workplaces inside the hospital, and to make sure that the workers utilize this protective gear properly. Samples by pathogens must be sterilized, stored and labeled appropriately. Furthermore, various utensils and items must be cleaned and sterilized, while the cleaning of workplaces must also be reinforced.

At senior care institutions, employers may not ban workers from wearing masks, especially frontline workers who are exposed to the risk of being infected. Employers should provide individual masks and make sure that they are worn accordingly. While conducting an inspection, inspectors will also provide the institutions with Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines for the Prevention of Severe Special Infectious Pneumonia (Wuhan Coronavirus or Pneumonia) as stipulated by the Occupation Safety and Health Administration of the Ministry of Labor as a reference in order to prevent the outbreak from affecting the workplace.

Commissioner Chen emphasized that employers should adopt preventive measures rigorously in response to the changing condition of the Wuhan coronavirus, identify hazards and risks, as well as step up labor health management, cleaning and disinfecting of workplaces, and implement labor self-protection-related education and training. Moreover, they should avoid sending workers to outbreak areas for business, and employees with family care needs should be given outbreak family leave according to regulations. The Directorate-General of Personnel Administration (DGPA) of the Executive Yuan has confirmed on February 5 that public servants are entitled to 14 outbreak family leave days without pay, and the leave will not have an impact on their performance appraisal.

The DGPA has issued an official letter to various local governments today. Additionally, in preventing the outbreak from spreading, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has strengthened control measures for foreigners arriving in Taiwan starting from February 7. For foreign nationals holding valid ARC who intend to return to Taiwan, if they have entered or lived in China within the past 14 days, they will be subjected to the limitation of residence and a 14-day period of self-health management. By working hand in hand, employers and employees will be able to combat the outbreak more effectively and created a healthy, safe, workplace where they can work with peace of mind.