Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
The national Return to Work Safely Protocol can 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 and the Department of Health. It is operating in parallel with existing workplace health and safety statutory requirements. The Protocol sets out in very clear terms for employers and workers in all business sectors the steps that they must take both before a workplace reopens and on an ongoing basis.
The Health and Safety Authority is the lead agency in monitoring adherence to the national Return to Work Safely Protocol and has deployed its inspector resources to carry out workplace inspections. The Health and Safety Authority inspectorate is being supplemented significantly by deploying, other inspectors from across the system who already have an environmental health, agriculture or other workplace/business inspection responsibilities. These resources are being drawn from the Workplace Relations Commission, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the cohort of Environmental Health Officers and will result in an additional 500 inspectors checking compliance with the Protocol as part of their normal inspection programme.
The Health and Safety Authority has produced templates and checklists for employers, employees and worker representatives to help them adhere to the Protocol. These are available on.
Separately, the National Standards Authority of Ireland produced guidelines for the retail sector, which includes supermarkets, at an early stage in the Government’s management of the pandemic back in April. More recently, the NSAI has just produced further guidelines specifically for the reopening of shopping centres. The NSAI Covid-19 Shopping Centre Recovery and Protection Guide addresses risks to workers and the public and will help business owners implement the mandatory Return to Work Safely Protocol that applies to all workplaces across the economy. The document can also be used to help, maintain and improve a shopping centres ability to protect against, prepare for, respond to and recover from Covid-19 related disruptions. It is available from .