The Government's publication of the Return to work safety protocol on Saturday May 9th sets out what firms must do to re-open after being closed during the Covid-19 crisis. This development is very much welcomed by the Cork Business Association as it will give business clear guidelines on how they must operate once they re-open. Not all businesses will be opening up in Phase One which will give much needed time for these businesses to put the necessary measures in place.
In essence the Return to Work Safely Protocol is designed to support employers and workers to put measures in place that will prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace when the economy begins to slowly open up, following the temporary closure of most businesses during the worst phase of the current pandemic.
The Protocol should be used by all workplaces to adapt their workplace procedures and practices to comply fully with the COVID-19 related public health protection measures identified as necessary by the HSE.
It sets out in very clear terms for employers and workers the steps that they must take before a workplace reopens, and while it continues to operate. A high-level consultative stakeholder forum, under the aegis of the Labour Employer Economic Forum will be established.
This forum will include membership from the various bodies with responsibility for health and safety at work and for public health more generally. The forum will allow for ongoing engagement at national level on implementation issues in light of evolving public health advice and other factors.
The Return to Work Safely Protocol, is the result of a collaborative effort by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), the Health Services Executive (HSE) and the Department of Health and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.