Revised guidance to help employers and employees return to work safely

The Transitional Protocol: Good Practice Guidance for Continuing to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19, has been released by the Department of Enterprise. It sets out best practices for keeping the workplace safe to assist employers and their employees in returning to work. This comes following consultation among key stakeholders on both sides of employment.

On January 21st, the Government announced the relaxation of many public health measures. This included the requirement on public health grounds to work from home unless necessary to attend the workplace in person. The phased return to the workplace is now underway and is assisted by the latest guidance.

The guidance sets out that COVID-19 infection prevention and control (IPC) measures should remain part of any workplace risk assessment. Therefore, the control measures set out in the guidance should remain a focus for employers, business managers, and employees, with many elements considered good practice. The Department document further sets out that it’s “critically important that everyone continues to play their part in limiting transmission.”

Key parts of the guidance require particular attention from employers in the following areas:

  • Keep a COVID-19 Response Plan in place.
  • Maintain policies and procedures for prompt identification and isolation of employees who may have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Maintain COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures.
  • Antigen Diagnostic Tests (ADTs) and Rapid Antigen Diagnostic Tests (RADTs).
  • Identifying the Worker Role – Workplace and Community Settings.

Other specific points addressed in the guidance document include:

  • Updating of COVID-19 Response Plan to take account of the updated public health advice. These plans should be updated in consultation with employees and communicated once finalised.
  • Facilitate the ongoing appointment and engagement of the Lead Worker Representative(s), as appropriate.
  • Review and update Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) risk assessments and safety statements as employees return to the workplace.
  • Maintain measures to deal with a suspected case of COVID-19 in the workplace.
  • Maintain any specific measures or responses for dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 (refer to HPSC general guide on management of COVID-19 outbreaks in the workplace).

Need help updating policies to align with the Transitional Protocol?

For guidance on ensuring your policies and documentation align with measures set out in the Transitional Protocol, speak to an expert consultant now on 01 886 0350 or request a callback here.

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