ONLINE READERS' COMMENT: Don't leave COVID-19 protection to employer's discretion only

Latest News

ONLINE READERS' COMMENT: Don't leave COVID-19 protection to employer's discretion only

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Print this page Email A Friend!

The Editor,

Having been in quarantine for over two months, I am particularly grateful that we should start to see some normalcy return as we head back to the physical workplace in June.

I also want to thank the Government of Jamaica which, in my opinion, has done a good job in dealing with the foreseeable consequences of this COVID-19 pandemic.

I do have an urgent concern which I am asking the Government to fully consider when drafting the new workplace protocol with the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ).

I work in a fairly small building with a company whose revenue, like many others, has been negatively impacted by the coronavirus. So, I understand that the safety measures being put in place for staff must be within reasonable cost.

It is, however, unacceptable that employers use this as a reason for doing only the bare minimum required by law, and do not use discretion to effect adequate protective measures, given the conditions in which their employees must operate.

The managers at my workplace each have their own partitioned offices, however, the remaining staff complement share small open areas. In most cases, our desks are attached together due to the space limitations. We have cases of workers who suffer from severe allergies which cause them to sneeze quite frequently, along with persons who have persistent coughs. However, because they are only human, they do not always remember, or are not always able, to cover their mouths in time. We jokingly refer to our office space as “the flu conduit” since very often when one person gets sick, majority of the others do too.

Recently, a group of us made contact with our superiors as well as the company's general manager about the issue, and presented some possible solutions including the installation of cost-effective plastic screens alongside the top edges of closely positioned desks. Similar screens are now in place at the cashier counters of several supermarkets. Our appeals have been flatly refused, and we now expect to return to the office building and to have to work in the same close quarters as before, without sufficient protection.

I therefore make this appeal to the Government and PSOJ on behalf of my co-workers and other employees in a similar situation. As we eagerly anticipate going back to work, please make it mandatory for employers to have at least six feet of space between work stations, or to install adequate protective barriers where space is limited. Otherwise, the unfortunate truth is that some decision-makers who remain unaffected in their own partitioned offices will not give such thought to the safety of their own staff.


Kingston, Jamaica

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon