Environmental Sanitation Regime

Frequently Asked Questions

Environmental Sanitation Regime

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Question and Answer

1

What is the environmental sanitation regime?

The environmental sanitation regime will introduce mandatory cleaning standards for higher-risk premises, which will require a regime for proactive routine cleaning and disinfection. It will require the specified premises to appoint a Premises Manager (PM) and a registered Environmental Control Coordinator (ECC) to develop and implement an environmental sanitation programme, which includes, but is not limited to, baseline standards such as minimum cleaning frequencies for daily and thorough periodic cleaning and disinfection, a pest management plan, a cleaning and disinfection methodology/protocol to handle bodily discharge incidents, to achieve stipulated cleanliness outcomes after cleaning operations, and to ensure that workers are sufficiently trained and provided with the necessary cleaning equipment, detergents and disinfectants.

2

Why is it important to implement the environmental sanitation regime?

The spate of gastroenteritis outbreaks in 2018 to 2019 and the recent COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the importance of maintaining high standards of hygiene and sanitation to safeguard our environmental public health.

The environmental sanitation regime will be made mandatory for various types of premises, starting with higher-risk premises with immuno-vulnerable occupants and high footfall such as eldercare, youth and social service facilities, preschools, schools, food centres and markets (FCMs) and coffeeshops. It supports the SG Clean movement by clarifying lines of accountability for maintaining clean premises, and setting clear standards and outcomes expected of premises owners. It builds on existing hygiene and sanitation measures already in place in the various sectors and premises, and goes further by moving towards a co-regulation approach where stakeholders take accountability and ownership of the environmental sanitation standards within their respective premises.

3

How did the authorities decide on the types of higher-risk premises for this new regime? Will all premises eventually be covered under the environmental sanitation regime?

In consultation with various sectoral leads, MSE/NEA will focus on higher-risk premises with high footfall and immuno-vulnerable occupants such as eldercare, youth and social service facilities, preschools, schools, food centres and markets and coffeeshops.. We will continue to review the need to include other sectors or premises and conduct the necessary consultations with key stakeholders before designating more premises under the environmental sanitation regime.

 4Are private properties covered under the environmental sanitation regime?


No, but if the property is used for businesses/activities that are classified as specified premises that cater to immuno-vulnerable users/ occupants (e.g. childcare centre in a landed property) or with high footfall, then it will be covered under the ES regime. Specified premises are designated under the Environmental Public Health Act Section 62A(2). Refer to the Environmental Public Health (Designation of Specified Premises) Order 2021 for the phased implementation timeline.

5

When will the environmental sanitation regime be implemented?

It will be implemented progressively from 30 July 2021 to higher-risk premises with immuno-vulnerable occupants. To provide sufficient time for specified premises to put in place the necessary measures for their respective environmental sanitation programmes, NEA will adopt an advisory approach for the first six months of implementation. Enforcement will take place after the six-month advisory period.

6

How does the SG Clean quality mark differ from this new environmental sanitation regime?

The SG Clean quality mark is a voluntary scheme to call to action for premises owners/occupiers to take ownership to maintain high standards of environmental hygiene. SG Clean will pave the way to the new environmental sanitation regime, which mandates Premises Managers of specified premises to implement upstream cleaning standards.

 7How much more in terms of cleaning costs can premises expect with the implementation of this new environmental sanitation regime?


NEA will work closely with sectoral leads to ensure that the new standards are calibrated to balance between cost considerations and expected outcomes. Improving cleanliness and hygiene standards upstream can minimise downstream business costs resulting from environmental lapses, such as closure of premises or impact from reputational damage. It may also potentially benefit premises through increased business due to greater consumer confidence, as consumers become increasingly aware of the importance of cleanliness arising from outbreaks such as COVID-19. 

 8How frequent must specified premises update their environmental sanitation programme (ESP)?


There is no fixed frequency in updating the ESP. Upon the first submission to NEA, there is no need to resubmit if there are no changes in (i) the PM/ECC, (ii) cleaning or pest control contractors or (iii) areas for cleaning including the cleaning and disinfection frequencies. However, the ECC of a premises should review and assess if the cleaning frequencies are sufficient to meet the outcome-based indicators. Specified premises may be required to resubmit the ESP if the Director General deems it necessary.

 9What is the duration for records (e.g. cleaning and disinfection, pest management records etc) to be kept?


All records of cleaning, disinfection and pest management works must be kept till the end of the next calendar year (e.g. records from 1 Jan 2021 to 31 Dec 2021 must be kept till 31 Dec 2022 and may be discarded on 1 Jan 2023).

 10What is the scope of the 6-monthly comprehensive pest management survey? How comprehensive is comprehensive?


PM will have to hire a licensed Vector Control Operator (VCO) to carry out the 6-monthly comprehensive pest management survey of the premises to identify any potential pest issues, flag up potential pest harbourage areas and entry points within the specified premises (including the compound), flag out the root causes of pest infestation such as identifying structural defects to be repaired promptly to remove pest entry and harbourage points. This also includes identifying any gaps in refuse management and housekeeping, mitigating measures to avoid pest infestation/re-infestation and alternative/better treatment methods. Key areas include (but not limited to) the common areas, bin centres entry/exit points, waste conveyance systems, dry riser, external perimeter and landscaping area and the loading and unloading bays, as well as false ceilings and false walls (if applicable).  For specified premises that already have regular pest management services carried out in their premises, they would need the VCO to conduct a more thorough check and put up a detailed report of the premises every 6 months.

A service report that only states no major pest issues observed and/or treatment carried out at a particular area within the specified premises will not suffice. The report should include information such as whether refuse management and housekeeping is in order or whether it should be improved, in addition to the pest control works (if any). The VCO should also flag out any damaged structure that requires repair to prevent pests from entering or harbouring etc. Please refer to the Code of Practice for ECCs for the comprehensive pest management survey template.

 11We are going to renew our contract for cleaning but the ESP is not ready. When ESP is being implemented, what will happen to our existing contract?


Outcome Based Contracting (OBC) is still recommended for specified premises as one of the ways for them to meet the ES regime requirements. However, if the current minimum cleaning frequency does not meet the sector-specific ES standards, there is still a need for PM to scope in the additional requirements, where necessary.

 12 Under manpower declaration, what is considered cleaner is properly trained (both outsourced or in-house)? 


For outsourced cleaners, as part of the Progressive Wage Model, they have to meet WSQ training requirements. As such, for outsourced cleaners, they would have received the necessary training already. However, for in-house cleaners, if the PM is unable to send them for WSQ training on cleaning, they must minimally be briefed by the ECCs on proper cleaning and disinfection of surfaces. Specified premises should keep records on when in-house cleaners were briefed. During NEA’s audit checks, we will observe cleaners and conduct random checks with cleaners to ensure that they are familiar with cleaning and disinfection works and/or protocol in handling incidents involving bodily discharges.

 13The Code of Practice for ECCs indicates that good indoor air quality practices are mandatory for youth facilities only. Why is that so? How about the other premises?


Indoor air quality affects the comfort and well-being of those who occupy indoor spaces. The occupants of youth facilities, including young children, belong to the vulnerable group and hence, it is important for premises managers and Environmental Control Coordinators (ECCs) to put in place measures to ensure good indoor air quality in these specified premises.

The Premises Managers and ECCs can take reference from the Code of Practice for Indoor Quality for Air-Conditioned Premises (SS 554: 2016), which specifies good practices in managing indoor air quality as well as standards and limits of indoor air quality parameters.

 14The Code of Practice for ECCs indicates that periodic indoor air quality audits should be conducted at least once every three years. Who will conduct these periodic indoor air quality audits?


Premises Managers will be required to get accredited labs to conduct the periodic IAQ audits (at least once every 3 years) and the audit should include measurements of the recommended IAQ parameters stipulated in the Code of Practice for Indoor Air Quality for Air-conditioned Premises (SS 554: 2016). IAQ audits after major renovations should include measurements of parameters for Formaldehyde and Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOCs). In cases where the parameters exceed the acceptable limits stated in SS554:2016, ECCs and PMs should follow up to identify the cause(s) and rectify the situation accordingly.

 15Are the mandatory indoor air quality (IAQ) practices included in the Code of Practice because of COVID-19?


NEA, together with the relevant authorities, had begun work on the environmental sanitation regime as early as 2018, following a series of gastroenteritis outbreaks which affected preschools. In 2019, NEA convened an Environmental Sanitation Technical Committee to develop national baseline standards on environmental sanitation for designated high-risk non-healthcare premises. Since 2020, we have been working with the sectoral lead agencies to include good indoor air quality practices as part of the sector specific requirements for youth facilities while the other premises will be encouraged to adopt as best practices.

 16

What are the penalties for non-compliance with the environmental sanitation regime?

For premises which do not comply with the new regulations of appointing a registered ECC and discharging its duties under the environmental sanitation regime, the Premises Manager may face a maximum fine not exceeding $5,000 for a first conviction, and a maximum fine not exceeding $10,000 for a second or subsequent conviction.

ECCs who fail to register themselves with NEA before taking on the role of an ECC may face a fine not exceeding $5,000 for a first conviction, and in the case of a second or subsequent conviction, to a maximum fine not exceeding $10,000. For failure to discharge their duties under the environmental sanitation regime, ECCs may have their registration suspended or cancelled, depending on the severity of the offence. 

 
Audit and Inspection

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Question and Answer

1

Does daily inspection include weekends?

Yes, it does for premises that are also operational on weekends. If the premises are closed on weekends (e.g. childcare centres are not open on Sundays), no inspection is required.

 2

The Code of Practice for ECCs indicates that a minimum 10% of areas in the premises needs to be visually inspected daily. How long will the daily visual inspection take, as the ECC role will likely be an added responsibility to existing staff members?

While there will be some variances due to differing premises types (with different inventory of areas to clean and disinfect) across sectors, a 10% daily visual inspection for typical premises, such as a preschool, should not exceed 30 minutes. There are sample templates available to facilitate ECCs in documenting their inspection outcomes in the Code of Practice for Environmental Control Coordinators 

 3How frequent will my premises be subjected to audit checks from NEA or the relevant authorities?

NEA aims to perform audit checks at specified premises at least once during the six-month advisory period. Thereafter, audits are conducted on a risk-based approach where poorer performing premises will be checked more frequently.


Premises Manager

S/N

Question and Answer

1

Who should be appointed as the PM?

The PM shall be a person or incorporated entity with management and control of the premises and will be held overall responsible for ensuring compliance to the environmental sanitation standards.

 2 What are the responsibilities of the PM?


The PM will be held overall responsible for ensuring compliance to the environmental sanitation standards. The PM will appoint a registered Environmental Control Coordinator (ECC). The PM will ensure that the environmental sanitation programme drawn up by the ECC meets the baseline environmental sanitation standards, and thereafter endorse and submit it to NEA. The PM will then be responsible for implementing the programme within the premises, rectify any defects identified by the ECC, ensure that the premises is clean and free from stains and litter, and abide by the mandatory sector-specific standards.

 3What happens if the ECC quits and what is the grace period allowed to find a replacement ECC?

The PM is required to appoint another ECC and notify the Director-General, via the re-submission of the ESP, within 14 days upon termination of appointment, suspension or cancellation of registration of the ECC appointed for the specified premises.

 4Who will do the inspection if the PM is unable to find a replacement ECC in time?


If the PM foresees that this is going to be an issue, then it might be good to consider having another staff to attend the ECC training if the designated ECC is away on extended leave or leaves the organisation. In the event that the specified premises is unable to appoint an ECC within the 14 days grace period, they should notify NEA accordingly.

 5What is the timeframe given to PM to submit an ESP? Who endorses the ESP?


Within 1 month from implementation of ES regime for the sector, or within 1 month from the commencement of the operations of a new specified premises. While the ECC assists the PM to develop the ESP, the PM must endorse and submit the ESP to NEA.

 6

Can a PM be appointed as an ECC?

Yes, a PM can double up as an ECC if he/she attended and passed the requisite ECC training and be registered with NEA 

 7Is there a course for PM?


PMs can attend the ECC training course if they wish to understand more about the roles and responsibilities of PM and an ECC, and the environmental sanitation regime.


Environmental Control Coordinators (ECCs)

S/N

Question and Answer

1

Who should be appointed as an ECC?

A new or existing staff with oversight of the operations of the premises may be appointed as an ECC.  As the ECC would be required to monitor the implementation of the environmental sanitation programme, there is a need for him/her to have the ground knowledge and competency to be able to discharge his/her duties effectively to ensure that requirements under the environmental sanitation programme are carried out and adhered to.

2

What are the responsibilities of the ECC?

The ECC designate must undergo the requisite training and register himself/herself as an ECC with NEA. The ECC will assist the Premises Manager (PM) to develop and review the environmental sanitation programme, monitor the implementation of the programme within the premises for effectiveness, amend the programme where necessary, identify and notify the PM of any defects in the implementation of the programme and recommend remedial measures, as well as to file and make available records of relevant service reports to the National Environment Agency or authorised officers, and attend to NEA or any authorised officers during compliance inspections.

3

How many ECC can a Premises Manager appoint?

While there should just be one main registered ECC in each premises, other staff within the premises can also assist the main ECC. The main ECC will assist the Premises Manager in developing and implementing the environmental sanitation programme, advise on appropriate remedial actions, where necessary, and maintain proper records of documents.

 4 Can there be 1 ECC overseeing a few premises?


Depending on the type of specified premises and the resources provided to the ECC to allow him/her to discharge his/her duties effectively, 1 ECC can oversee a few specified premises subject to NEA’s approval.

 5Will ECCs be penalised for lapses?


PM is the overall responsible entity/person for the implementation of the ES regime and ensuring that ES standards (as stipulated in the ESP) are adhered to; requirement under Environmental Public Health Act Section 62B(2). For ECCs who fail to register themselves with NEA before taking on the role of an ECC may face a fine not exceeding $5,000 for a first conviction, and in the case of a second or subsequent conviction, to a maximum fine not exceeding $10,000. For failure to discharge their duties under the ES regime, ECCs may have their certificates of registration suspended or cancelled, depending on the severity of the offence.

 6Can an individual who is not a staff of the specified premises be appointed as an ECC?


Yes, but the ECC should not be from the outsourced cleaning business engaged by the specified premises due to possible conflict of interest i.e. the cleaning business as the ECC may be checking his/her own cleaning operations, etc, to ensure adherence to ES standards. Similarly, the ECC should not be from a facility management (FM) company that executes cleaning and pest management works in the premises, and/or (the FM) is financially linked to the cleaning/pest management companies e.g. subsidiary or shareholders.

 7When will the training for the ECC start?


The inaugural runs of the two-day ECC had commenced in Mar 2021. Currently we have 6 training providers conducting the ECC training.  NEA is working with more training providers on providing the ECC training to ensure sufficient training runs to provide a pipeline of trained ECCs for different specified premises types. Details of the list of training providers can be found on NEA’s website (https://www.nea.gov.sg/our-services/public-cleanliness/ESR).   

8

What are the profiles of ECC? Can foreigners also register to become ECC?

An existing staff with oversight of the operations of the premises may be appointed as an ECC. 

Eligible ECC candidates shall possess the competency requirements equivalent to that of a Workplace Literacy (WPL) Level 5 in reading, listening, speaking and writing; and to pass the requisite ECC training. This is to ensure that the ECC has the competency to be able to discharge his/her duties effectively to ensure that requirements under the environmental sanitation programme are carried out and adhered to.

Foreigners can apply as an ECC as long as they fulfil the requirements. Work permit holders is only allowed to work for the employer and in the specified occupation as per work permit issued by Ministry of Manpower.

9

What is the cost of the training for ECC?

Details of the list of training providers can be found on NEA’s website (https://www.nea.gov.sg/our-services/public-cleanliness/ESR). Do note that training cost may defer amongst training providers and the course fees are listed on the respective training providers’ websites.

 
ECC Registration

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Question and Answer

1

How to check if an ECC’s certificate of registration is valid?

Registered ECCs will be issued an e-certificate of registration. PMs can request to see the copy of the certificate and/or verify with NEA on the authenticity of the certificate via NEA’s online feedback form.

 2I am appointed as ECC by our company/PM, can our company /PM be the one to register me as ECC?


Registration is to be done by the ECC as the certificate of registration is tied to the applicant. In addition, the applicant must submit supporting documents such as his/her highest educational qualification or WPL level 5 (for reading, writing, listening and speaking) for registration purposes.

 3What is the cost of registration and the validity of the Certificate of Registration (COR) for ECC under the ES regime?


The current registration fee is $120 and the fee is reviewed from time to time. The COR will be valid for a period of three years and may be renewed before its expiry.

 4How can I receive my Certificate of Registration?


The electronic Certificate of Registration will be emailed to you. Please provide a valid and updated email address, there shall be no responsibility on the part of NEA should you not receive the electronic Certificate of Registration due to wrong email address provided.

 5What documents do I need before submitting my application online?


The following documents are required:

(a)       Front and back of NRIC/Employment Pass/Work Permit (also required for renewal);

(b)       A recent coloured digitalised passport size photo (with white background) (also required for renewal);

(c)       Highest Educational Qualification (or minimally WPL level 5 in reading, writing, speaking and listening)

(d)       Environmental Control Coordinator (ES)’s Course Certificate.

 6

What are the payment modes for this Certificate of Registration?

Payment can be made via the following channels:

(a) PayPal (Credit card and PayPal wallet) in the LicenceOne Portal
(b) AXS kiosks
(c) e-Stations
(d) m-Stations

 7When can I make payment?


Payment can be made after the application has been approved

 8How do I know if my payment is successful?


You should see an acknowledgement page to show that your payment has been successful.

 9What should I do if my computer hangs while I am making payment?


If your computer hangs before reaching the acknowledgement page, your payment is considered unsuccessful. You may verify that no deduction was made from your Bank Account through Internet Banking. Thereafter, proceed to make payment again.