Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Health
608. To ask the Minister for Health if a workplace which chooses to close due to concerns due to the risk of Covid-19 due to a 10% positivity rate should be forced to remain open; his views on whether is safe and in the best interest of the health and safety of those in that workplace; if there are workplaces other than schools which would be forced to open under these circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44550/20]
As with other public health infectious diseases, all COVID-19 infections are reported to the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC). You may wish to note that my Department does not receive direct notification from companies of outbreaks of Covid-19 in the workplace. The Departments of Public Health within the HSE respond to notified cases or outbreaks of Covid-19. A risk assessment of the situation is carried out and appropriate investigations are undertaken and control measures put in place. If Public Health determines there is an outbreak, an Outbreak Control Team is convened who would then advise on control measures.
The Work Safely Protocol is a revision of the Return to Work Safely Protocol published in May 2020. The revised Protocol incorporates the current advice on the Public Health measures needed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community and workplaces as issued by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), my Department and the Government.
The Protocol is a general document applicable to all sectors. It sets out the minimum measures required in every place of work to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to facilitate the reopening of workplaces following temporary closures and the ongoing safe operation of those workplace. Further information on the Protocol is available at:-