Working safely: On workplaces during
the pandemic (The Hindu)
Mains Paper 2: Health
Prelims level: Aarogya Setu app
Mains level: Highlights the new guidelines for workplaces issued by the Health
Opening up economic production from a lockdown, even partially, when the
COVID-19 pandemic has not peaked in the country poses an extraordinary
challenge. Countries around the world are focusing on making the workplace
safe, and issuing guidelines to help workers return to their jobs.
Reducing the number of people present at any given time is a universal
principle, either through resort to shifts, or arrangements to enable
employees to work from home. The Union Health Ministry has addressed the
issue through a manual of preventive measures that covers all types of
workplaces and depends heavily on behavioural change, with some additional
requirements for confined spaces such as offices.
Defence against virus:
Fortunately, the first line of defence against the novel coronavirus is
a set of simple measures that involves little expenditure: physical
distancing of at least one metre, mandatory use of face masks or cover,
frequent hand washing with soap, respiratory etiquette, sanitising contact
surfaces and self-monitoring of health.
These requirements have by now become................................
The Centre’s protocol for symptomatic cases at the workplace, requiring
testing, and, where warranted, quarantining of both the worker and close
contacts, and a two-day closure of offices experiencing an outbreak, should
underscore to employers the importance of prevention.
Responsibility, however, does not devolve entirely on offices and
establishments, and it is imperative for other activities, such as public
transport used by many workers, to meet COVID-19 requirements.
Some institutions are mandating installation of the Aarogya Setu app by
employees returning to work, when the legal basis of this monitoring
mechanism remains shaky and there are no assured benefits in terms of health
At this stage of the pandemic, when a gradual resumption of economic
activity in multiple sectors ranging from construction to food takeaways is
a necessity, the most feasible interventions at the workplace are voluntary
and those that cost the least.
There may still be occasion to resort to intermittent lockdowns if
opening up leads to mounting cases. A prudent course would be to navigate
the present with a minimalist approach, as the quest for a medical
breakthrough makes progress.
Q1. With reference to the Intellectual Property Facilitation Cell (IPFC),
consider the following statements: 1. It was set up under Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti.
2. Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti was launched with the aim to inculcate IP culture
in Indian defence manufacturing ecosystem.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2