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COVID-19: INEC issues guidelines for workers nationwide

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has issued guidelines for its workers nationwide to resume activities.

NewsWireNGR recalls that the commission had suspended regular activities for workers in line with the advisory on social distancing from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

According to a statement by the commission the resumption of duty will be after the COVID-19 lockdown, and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic emergency.

The Commission notes that this is in line with the presidential directive of April 26 to gradually ease the lockdown measures imposed on the FCT Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States.

The guidelines, according to the commission aim to reflect peculiarities of the Commission nationwide and it covers areas such as hygiene and personal health, sanitation within office premises, distancing measures, and related matters for it headquarters and state offices.

SEE FULL GUIDELINES BELOW:

(A) HYGIENE/ PERSONAL HEALTH

1. All offices of the Commission will be decontaminated before resumption and periodically to ensure environmental safety. Staff of our Facility Managers and INEC cleaners shall be trained on continuous disinfection/decontamination procedures.

2. The use of face masks is compulsory throughout the offices of the Commission, for all staff, visitors and contractors at all times.
a. Staff are encouraged to have their own face masks and will be guided on the
use of masks.

b. No staff/visitor should be allowed into the Commission without face masks.

3. Hand sanitizers will be provided at all entrances, exits and offices of the Commission. Meanwhile staff are encouraged to have their personal hand sanitizers.

4. Office clerks will be given guidelines on handling/decontamination of mails and files.

5. Funds will be made available to state offices to procure hand sanitizers for use in the office premises.

6. There must be provision of water and soap for hand washing at all entrances and exits of the Commission offices and during all Commission activities.

7. Infrared thermometers must be used at entry and exit points at all offices of the Commission, and proper protocols will be established for the operators.

8. The INEC Clinic and sickbay staff will be provided with and trained on the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and early detection of COVID-19 symptoms. Specific guidelines will be made available to relevant staff handling the thermometer at the entrances on early detection of suspected cases.

9. Staff have responsibility to urgently report any suspected case with symptoms of the virus (cough, fever e.t.c) to the officer in-charge at the sickbay at the HQ, or any designated higher authority in other locations.

(B) SOCIAL DISTANCING MEASURES

1. Workspace distancing of at least two (2) metres should be adopted within offices, in the premises and the Commission meeting rooms.

2. There should be no loitering in the premises of the Commission by staff/visitors.
3. Under no circumstances shall visitors or contractors be allowed into the Commission except on authorized invitation by the Commission.

4. Visitors’ books must be maintained at each entry point and all floors, with contact details of all visitors. Wearing of identification cards and tags shall be strictly enforced.

5. Invitation regarding entry by visitors and contractors should be communicated to the main gate through a dedicated phone line.

6. Congregational prayers in the Mosque and Chapel are prohibited for the time being.

7. Use of canteen and other places of gathering (cooperative society meetings) are also prohibited for the time being.

8. Driving into the Commission should be limited to staff and other Government officials/ VIP visitors who may have been invited by the Commission.

9. The staff bus service is suspended for the time being until adequate measures to ensure social distancing and other safety measures are put in place.

(C) RESUMPTION OF WORK

1. Work hours shall be from 8am – 2pm, and staff are advised to strictly respect the curfew hours of 8pm to 6am.

2. Workdays shall be the alternate days of Monday, Wednesday and Friday (3days-a- week for now) based on the FG/PTF guidelines.

3. All heads of offices (National Commissioners, Resident Electoral Commissioners, Directors, and Heads of Departments/Units) are required to create a rotational roster of duty to limit staff that come to work on a given day to enable maintenance of social distancing within the offices.

4. The number of personnel working per shift at the Commission’s main gate and Commission’s entrances of all the Commissions offices should be reduced subject to consultation with the relevant service providers. This reduction extends to cleaners and other services being provided to the Commission.

5. Essential Duty staff will continue work as earlier approved by the Commission.

6. Only staff that own cars are allowed to resume work.

7. Staff that are resident in distant places and have to commute by public transport should stay at/ work from home.

8. Staff that travelled out of the FCT should remain until inter-state travel ban is lifted.

(D) CONDUCT OF MEETINGS

1. All meetings in the Commission should be limited to key participants and the duration of meetings be reduced to the necessary minimum.

2. Where necessary a combination of virtual and physical meetings should be held to minimize physical contacts; Zoom, Skype, Webinars and other Virtual interactive techniques will be explored and employed to meet internally and with external stakeholders.

3. Commission meetings and other meetings should be held at the Conference Hall or any other outsourced hall where the two (2) meter social distance can be maintained.

4. Wearing of face mask is compulsory at every meeting.

5. Meeting venues must be decontaminated before and after every meeting.

(E) STATE OFFICES

1. Re-opening of State and Local Government Area (LGA) offices will depend on existing lockdown guidelines issued by the respective State Governments.

2. Ondo and Edo state offices should re-open immediately due to the upcoming gubernatorial elections in consultation with the relevant State Governments for issuance of necessary permits.

3. Funds required to meet the hygiene protocols (decontamination, Hand sanitizers etc) will be made available to these two state offices as soon as possible, and to all other state offices as the need arises.

4. State offices should liaise with the various State COVID-19 Response secretariats on decontamination protocols for their respective States.

5. LGA offices should remain closed and open only where/when necessary.

MISCELLANEOUS CONSIDERATIONS

1. All staff above age 58 with underlying medical conditions (hypertension, diabetes, asthma, renal and hepatic diseases,) should work from home.

2. Other staff with underlying medical conditions should also work from home.

3. Pregnant and Nursing mothers should also work from home.

4. Stakeholder meetings should be conducted in line with guidelines on meetings above.

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