Making the chief operating officer (COO) of firms such as Amazon and Flipkart responsible for strict implementation of social distancing and sanitisation norms and staff compulsorily downloading the 'Aarogya Setu' app are among the measures proposed in the draft Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for e-commerce operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the government allowing e-commerce companies to operate during the nationwide lockdown, a draft SOP has been formulated and circulated to stakeholders.

"The purpose of this SOP is to provide health and safety guidance for cleaning, maintaining hygiene and safety at workplace during a pandemic outbreak across the supply chain, including First Mile Sellers," according to the draft norms, accessed by PTI.

The COO, it said, will have the overall accountability for ensuring the compliance requirements of the SOPs.

Also, regional facility and infrastructure manager or similar shall be responsible for carrying out specific tasks while the management shall be responsible for educating and communicating the requirements of the SOP guidelines to all stakeholders.

The draft SOP provides for screening of staffers at seller, warehousing and sale operations for COVID-19 symptoms (cough, sneezing, fever, breathing difficulty) at entry and immediate reporting to nearby hospital in case of any symptoms.

In the event of any staff turning out to be positive for COVID-19, the entire facility shall be immediately evacuated and all assets shall be covered and isolated.

"It is mandatory of all staff and business owners to download and register on 'Aarogya Setu' application and if applicable on the 'Suraksha Store' app also," it said.

Logbook must be maintained for every employee and visitor accessing the premises.

"Management is responsible for safekeeping of such logbook and forms with detailed information of such visitors, such as name, age, address (current and permanent), proof of residence, mobile number, among others)," the draft SOP stated.

It provides for all staff using handwash / sanitizer at entry, at periodic intervals, and before exit from a facility.

Warehouses and hubs have to run on staggered shifts basis manpower availability to limit crowding. All staff must be provided with masks at the entrance by the MSME/ first mile seller.

They are also supposed to maintain social distancing, particularly at places most prone to gathering, such as loading bays.

"Seller staff to maintain minimum distance of 3 feet from e-commerce 1st mile executive," it said.

The draft SOP also provides for detailed guidelines for cleaning of the premises of sellers, including wet mopping with disinfectant once a day, wiping of all trolleys and other industrial machines every four hours with disinfectant and cleaning of doorknobs every two hours.

All first mile sellers/ MSMEs must follow FSSAI's food hygiene and safety guidelines for food business during COVID-19 pandemic.

"E-commerce company shall determine high risk areas/impacted pandemic zones and carry out fumigation of warehouse sites by external vendors at least once every 15 days or if any risk is identified (for example any person visiting the warehouse has been in contact with a COVID-19 positive person), whichever is earlier," it said.

Also, vehicles used for delivery need to be cleaned and norms similar to staff for drivers followed.

During last mile customer delivery, each delivery staffer/driver must carry company ID card and vehicles used must be cleaned/ sanitized / disinfected.

"Bags used by delivery person for carrying shipments shall be cleaned before they leave for delivery," the draft SOP said, adding all delivery staff shall strictly wear masks at all times during delivery and maintain minimum 3-feet distance with customers.

"Cash on Delivery options should be discouraged as far as possible for all order irrespective of the item or value of the order," it added. PTI ANZ

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