Written answers

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Photo of Ruairi Ó MurchúRuairi Ó Murchú (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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1421. To ask the Minister for Health the procedures in place for workplaces having to close following an outbreak of Covid-19. [20840/20]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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I would like to draw the Deputy's attention to the “Return to Work Safely Protocol - COVID-19 Specific National Protocol for Employers and Workers” which was published on 9 May, 2020 by the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation. It provides clear guidance to employers and to workers on the measures that must be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

The Protocol is mandatory, and it applies to all workplaces right across the economy.

Specific sectors may need to introduce additional safeguards, but this document sets out the standard set of measures to provide protection against the threat of COVID-19. It is a matter for the employer to make decisions relating to actions to be taken in the event of an outbreak of Covid-19 in a workplace. This should be described in the COVID-19 Response Plan to be developed by all employers and which is a requirement of the Protocol. In addition, the relevant HSE department of public health HSE will also be available to assist and advise employers as to the appropriate steps that should be taken if such an outbreak occurs, given the particular circumstances of the site in question.

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is tasked with providing advice and support to employers and employees on what and how COVID-19 measures are applied in the workplace. Guidance on the Protocol should be sought from the HSA Helpline which can be contacted at 1890 289 389 or wcu@hsa.ie.

The Deputy may also wish to note that the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has published a range of guidance on COVID-19 documents for contractors, employers and employees. These guidance documents are available on the HPSC website at .

Public health advice in operation at a point in time is available on the Government website at 


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