The Irish government has published updated guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. The Work Safely Protocol (the “Protocol”) is a revision of the Return to Work Safely Protocol which was published in May of this year. The revised Protocol reflects the updated public health advice which has become available over the course of the past number of months. As public health advice continues to evolve, the Protocol will also evolve as it is non-exhaustive and subject to change.
The Protocol sets out detailed advice on various measures including, hand sanitisers, face coverings, temperature testing, travel, and mental health considerations. The Protocol also provides information on available online training courses for COVID-19 appointed lead worker representatives and those returning to the workplace. Employers are advised to provide employees with various information including guidance on COVID-19 government supports and illness benefits, the COVID-19 tracker app and mental health supports.
The Protocol emphasises the need to review and revise COVID-19 Response Plans and workplace policies, including sick leave and working from home policies. As the Protocol provides that all staff should continue to work from home to the greatest extent possible, it is crucial that employers prepare and/or update working from home policies without delay.