To ensure the safety of fertilizer and pesticide industry stakeholders and FPA employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) issued Memorandum Circular No. 12 series of 2020 or the ‘Guidelines on Food Safety Measures for Agricultural Frontliners for the Handling of Fertilizers, Pesticides and Other Agricultural Chemicals and Related Activities,’ on 21 May.
This is in compliance to the DA’s request for guidelines on food safety measures for agricultural frontliners in relation to the agency’s commodity specified under the Food Safety Act of 2013.
The guidelines directs FPA stakeholders and employees to strictly comply with the “Interim Guidelines on 2019 Novel Corona Virus Acute Respiratory Disease (2019 NCOV-ARD) Response in the Workplace” issued by the Department of Health (DOH), which provides the guidance for the prevention, containment and mitigation of COVID-19.
Such workplace safety measures includes the implementation of social distancing; wearing of masks, face shields and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs); provision of alcohols and hand sanitizers; regular workplace disinfection; thermal scanning upon entry of employees and clients; and, the conduct of necessary orientation and training.
These protocols shall be applied during the conduct of field activities such as importation, transport, hauling, delivery, sampling, quality inspection, storage, piling, stacking, display, purchase, sale, use and disposal of fertilizer, pesticide and other agricultural chemicals.
In addition, establishments shall designate a place for deposit and pick-up of parcels and payments to avoid prolonged exposures of buyers. They may also adapt online transactions whenever possible.
The FPA Central Office and its Regional Field Units has already implemented measures such as the installation of plastic sheets in the client queing/waiting areas and posting of workplace safety reminders in strategic office corners.
Moreover, the FPA issued the ‘Guidelines on Service Continuity and Precautionary Measures in the Workplace During the Period of State of National Calamity Due to COVID-19 Pandemic’ for the adoption of alternative working arrangements.
Alternative Work Arrangement (AWA) includes the implementation of Work- from-Home, Skeleton (Skeletal) Workforce, Four-day (Compressed) Workweek, Staggered Working Hours, and other alternative work in accordance with CSC Memorandum Circular No. 10, series of 2020.
Given said working set-up, clients and stakeholders are advised to continue transacting with the agency through email, telephone, and social media. They may refer to the directory of FPA Offices at https://bit.ly/2B7qxry
On the other hand, when face-to-face interaction is extremely necessary, clients shall secure an appointment with the concerned office or personnel before proceeding to the office to ensure that the person they intend to transact with is available on-site.