National Return to Work Safely Protocol published

9 May 2020

A national Return to Work Safely protocol has been published by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Health. This protocol is intended to be used by employers and workers to ensure safety measures are in place and are adhered to as the economy opens back up following the temporary closures in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Return to Work Safely Protocol is the result of a collaborative effort by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), the Health Service Executive (HSE), the Department of Health and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

As the COVID-19 pandemic is an ever changing and evolving situation, this is not a static document and will be subject to change and addition.

This Protocol is a general document applicable to all industry sectors. It is not designed to prohibit the introduction of further specific measures in particular sectors or workplaces, as long as they enhance the measures set out in the Protocol. In addition, further supports for employers and workers will be developed and provided where appropriate. This is a living document.

The Return to Work Safely Protocol

The protocol places emphasises that employers and employees will have a shared responsibility to implement the required measures in their place of work. At least one lead worker representative in each workplace will be charged with ensuring that COVID-19 preventative measures are being strictly adhered to.

Getting Back to Work – Steps for Employers and Workers to Reduce Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in the Workplace

This non-exhaustive document describes the steps that employers and workers shall take in order to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. These step outlined include the following:

  • Develop and/or Update the COVID-19 Response Plan
  • Develop or amend policies and procedures for prompt identification and isolation of workers who may have symptoms of COVID-19, as appropriate
  • Develop, Consult, Communicate and Implement Workplace Changes or Policies
  • Implementing the COVID-19 Prevention and Control Measures to Minimise risk to Workers
  • Hand Hygiene
  • Respiratory Hygiene
  • Physical Distancing
  • Worker Role
  • Customer Facing Roles
  • Occupational Health and Safety Measures and Recommendations
  • Reporting Requirements under Occupational Health and Safety Legislation if a worker contracts COVID-19.
  • First Aid
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Heating, Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC)
  • Legionella
  • Advice for Employers and Workers
  • Information on Public Health and Occupational Health and Safety
  • Information on Business Continuity and Supports

Download the protocol to read through each of the above steps in detail.

Download the Return to Work Safely Protocol