San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has put in place stringent protocols to ensure a safe workplace environment for office-bound employees physically reporting for work starting this week, following Metro Manila’s transition to general community quarantine. SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang yesterday said that PCR-testing for the company’s employees is now in full swing nationwide, and added that health protocols have already been established and implemented in all facilities for the employees’ peace of mind and to help prevent Covid-19 transmission.
While the majority of SMC’s office-bound employees are still working from home, Ang said that there are those who need to be present at the offices due to the nature of their jobs.
“Only 20 percent of our employees are required to report to the office under the existing skeletal work arrangement. And to ensure that these employees will work in a clean and sanitized environment, we will aggressively implement these protocols for their safety and the safety of their families,” Ang said.
Ang added that only employees who have been tested and were found to be negative for Covid-19 will be allowed entry to the office premises. These employees have been given a Covid-19 negative badge that also serves as their access pass.
“The testing is being done in batches so as to reduce unnecessary crowding in the testing areas. And those who were given a clean bill of health will be regularly checked for indicative symptoms, so they can be isolated if needed and early intervention can be made,”said Ang. He also assured employees that their health insurance cards, as well as those of their family members’, are more than enough to cover various illnesses, including Covid-19.
“Our employees’ health is of paramount importance to the company. While the establishment of these health protocols and the pandemic overall, has affected some aspects of our work life, we remain a closely-knit organization, and we follow all the rules and implement all necessary measures until a vaccine is found,” he added.
At the SMC headquarters, every returning employee is also provided a face mask, face shield, and ethyl alcohol. Handwashing facilities complete with soap and water, thermal scanners, foot bath, and a disinfection chamber that checks temperature and automatically dispenses sanitizer, have also been installed in various areas.
Other health protocols include: wearing of office and Covid-19 negative ID at all times, wearing of mask and face shields, frequent hand-washing with soap and water, use of handkerchief or tissue to cover mouth and nose when sneezing, observance of physical distancing, and avoidance of congregation in groups. Employees have also been advised to bring their own food and beverages, including cutlery and tableware, as the office cafeteria and food kiosks will remain closed.
“We are asking for the cooperation and understanding of everyone and I am sure that the employees will appreciate all these efforts for their safety. Keeping San Miguel a safe and healthy workplace will allow us to conduct business continuously and efficiently, as we all do our part to help jumpstart the economy,” Ang said.
Before the shift to general community quarantine, SMC was already building its own Covid-19 testing facility and laboratory to test 70,000 employees and workers in its network, to help reduce the strain on the health facilities tasked to conduct and process Covid tests.
Testing has commenced at food manufacturing facilities to ensure that these will be running smoothly and further stabilize the country’s food supply in the coming months. SMC has prioritized the testing of 8,000 manufacturing, operations, and other frontline staff. Testing at its Visayas and Davao facilities are also set to start. To contribute to the government’s expanded testing initiative, SMC has donated swab booths as well as PCR testing kits equivalent to 34,000 tests to 17 Metro Manila LGUs.
It also provided three sets of Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing machines and RNA machines to key government hospitals aside from the five sets of the same machines donated to the Department of Health, which also received testing kits equivalent to 20,000 tests.