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Office Workspace guidelines for COVID-19 by BIMCO



The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak started as a locally circulating infection associated with Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market but has since developed into the current pandemic.

To assist the shoreside of the maritime industry in taking appropriate protective measures at office workplaces, BIMCO has issued below guidelines intended to help shipping companies avoid spreading of the disease at offices and office buildings.

BIMCO has produced posters that can be easily printed and used at offices to help guide members of staff and visitors.

We all have a shared responsibility in containing this outbreak and promoting a sense of awareness amongst ourselves and others. We hope that these guidelines will spread the message that basic human acts can go a long way in protecting each other as well as containing the spread of this disease.

Please feel free to share these guidelines throughout the industry.

Beside common sense, please consider the below non-exhaustive list of items that should be considered carefully when the COVID-19 is active in your area


Stay informed regarding the current situation and developments

  • relevant media
  • local authorities
  • national authorities
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Be critical of the source of information on social media.

Adhere to local authorities’ guidance and instructions

  • Implement guidance as instructed and advised.
  • Provide clear instructions to all personnel.
  • Inform all personnel about local guidance.

Protect your employees:

  • Involve and keep employees up to date and duly informed – share information in writing.
  • Provide personnel with relevant information and guidance from WHO and National Health Authorities – emphasise how it affects their daily routines.
  • Implement stricter hygiene and cleaning standards for workplaces, offices and facilities.
  • Provide hand sanitiser at strategic locations in the workplace, offices and facilities.
  • Limit all unnecessary travel.
  • Consider repatriation of personnel from abroad.
  • Avoid personnel attending crowded meetings and events – attend meetings online if possible.
  • Minimise employees’ public travel during rush hours – allow for flexible working hours or working from home.
  • Avoiding shaking hands and other greetings involving body contact.
  • Implement strict procedures for handwash and hand rub – promote high hygiene with posters at all hand wash facilities.
  • Implement a social distance of minimum 2 metres for all personnel – consider applying stickers to the floor for recommended social position – eg in the vicinity of vending machines.
  • Cancel buffet lunch arrangements – establish safe distance in dining halls by removing every second chair.

Protect your business

  • Make a business continuity plan for how to cope with the COVID-19.
  • Inform your service providers, clients and customers that you are prepared accordingly.
  • Provide relevant guidance and information to employees.
  • Inform all if implementing procedures affecting your day to day business.
  • Implement health screening of personnel (body temperature and general condition).
  • Respect people and other companies in the affected areas.
  • Avoid crowed in-house meetings and gatherings – arrange for online meetings to the extent possible and make sure employees are well equipped for these arrangements.

Proposed content of a Health Safety Management plan

  • health policy
  • planning process for accidents and sickness prevention
  • line of command and responsibilities
  • practices, procedures and resources for developing and implementing the health policy.

Proposed content of a health contingency plan

  • List of appointed key personnel as contact for clients and customers – make sure to have replacements prepared to take over on short notice.
  • Inform all personnel, service providers, clients and customers of your overall plan.
  • Implement self-isolation for employees considered a risk or who show COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Provide Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) if appropriate.
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfection of relevant workplace locations and surfaces.
  • Minimise staff in office during normal office hours – eg implement personnel arrangements for working in shifts.
  • Consider remote operation – eg employees having functions that allows for working from home.
  • Closely monitor the stock of essential consumables – eg portable hand sanitisers and soap.
  • Minimise direct contact with clients and customers – eg make a social contract to avoid physical contact.
  • Ensure enough material, resources and manpower is available to operate remotely.
  • Make arrangement with your bank for ensuring cash flow and payment of obligations.
  • Screen visitors for temperature and general health condition.

Proposed content of an emergency plan

  • Engage the company’s crisis management plan.
  • Update all personnel, service providers, clients and customers.
  • Close and lock down affected locations and premises.
  • Ensure the location is securely guarded and locked to avoid unauthorised access.
  • Maintain remote operation only.

Proposal for placing signs at strategic locations (please see the examples below)

  • sign at entrances for visitors
  • sign in offices
  • sign at exits.

Links related to COVID-19 information

Links related to BIMCO COVID-19

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