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Health and Safety

The Return to Work Safely (COVID-19) Protocol-What You Need to Know

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation have published an important document-the Return to Work Safely Protocol-to help employers and employees return to work safely after the Covid-19 lockdown.

The Return to Work Safely Protocol sets out the steps that businesses must take before reopening, and once the workplace is opened for resumption of normal activities.

The Return to Work Safely Protocol is the product of a joint effort of the Health and Safety Authority (HAS), the HSE, and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

Read the Return to Work Safely Protocol here.

The specific steps to be taken include

  1. Having a Covid-19 response plan which includes updating safety statements, taking into account individual risk factors such as older workers or those with underlying conditions, contingency measures regarding increased absenteeism
  2. A policy and procedure to identify employees who may have symptoms of Covid-19
  3. The development of workplace changes or policies, including a review of existing sick leave policies
  4. The implementation of prevention and control measures to minimise risk for everyone in the workplace including hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, and physical distancing, working from home, cleaning of the workplace, use of PPE equipment, where appropriate, and return to work protocols such as the completion of a return to work form
  5. The role of the worker and, in particular, those individuals in a customer facing role
  6. Occupational health and safety measures including reporting obligations if a worker contracts coronavirus, first aid, mental health and welfare, heating, ventilation and air conditioning

The document also sets out where employers and workers can get further advice and information: