Return to Work Safety Protocols from Government Guidelines (extract)
Everyone has to fill in a Pre-return to work form which has to be returned to three days before beginning work. (enclosed)
Everyday you have to fill in contact list form recording who you have been in contact with. This is required for contact tracing.(enclosed)
We all are to work together on tackling this issue and to do this means good communication.
You should appoint a participant as a Health & Safety representative(s).
The main symptoms of COVID19 are fever (over 38°C), cough and shortness of breath. There can be other symptoms or none.
Don’t take any risks clean hands, surfaces and handles, doors, work tops regularly.
Tea/rest rooms are closed and out of bounds.
DO NOT MEET UP, work in isolation as this is any potential physical contact could be dangerous.
Strong communication and a shared collaborative approach between employers and workers are key to protecting against the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. It is also essential to achieve success and maximum buy-in. Employers and workers will have regular engagement about COVID-19 and preventative measures in the workplace. Information and guidance should be provided by employers to workers, which should include the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, how it spreads, cleaning routines and waste disposal as well as advice on hand and respiratory hygiene, physical distancing, use of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and work equipment where relevant.
Each workplace will appoint at least one lead worker representative charged with ensuring that COVID-19 measures are strictly adhered to in their place of work. The person(s) undertaking the role must receive the necessary training and have a structured framework to follow within the organisation to be effective in preventing the spread of the virus.
Employers will provide a COVID-19 induction training for all workers.
Communication and Training
The key to a safe and continued return to work requires strong communication and a shared collaborative approach between employers and workers. Workplace controls to comply with infection prevention measures included in this protocol should be communicated and explained to all relevant workers and others (visitors, contractors) at the place of work. As noted above, an employer will appoint at least one lead worker representative whose role is to work collaboratively with the employer to assist in the implementation of measures and monitor adherence to the measures to prevent the spread of COVID -19. The number of representatives appointed will, ideally, be proportionate to the number of workers in the workplace and these key personnel will be clearly identifiable in the workplace. Every workplace will however, have at least one worker representative in place to address these COVID-19 requirements. The worker representative should, together with the COVID-19 response management team, support the implementation of the measures identified in this national protocol. Such a person or persons should be clearly identifiable in the workplace and receive the relevant and necessary training by their employer. Employers will also communicate with safety representatives selected or appointed under the Occupational Health and Safety legislation and consult with workers on safety measures to be implemented in the workplace. The employer should use the appointed occupational safety and health officer or an external competent person to ensure the effective implementation of changes to work activities and the implementation of infection prevention and control measures in the workplace at the place of work. For further information on the role of Safety Representative visit this.
Symptoms of COVID-19
Infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 can cause illness, ranging from mild to severe, and, in some cases, can be fatal. It can take anything from 2 days up to 14 days for symptoms of coronavirus to appear. They can be similar to the symptoms of cold and flu. Common symptoms of coronavirus include:
- a fever (high temperature – 38 degrees Celsius or above).
- a cough – this can be any kind of cough, not just dry.
- shortness of breath or breathing difficulties.
For the complete list of symptoms, please refer to the HSE.
Some people infected with the virus, so called asymptomatic cases, have experienced no symptoms at all. While people are most likely to pass on the infection when they have symptoms, current information suggests that some infected people spread the virus to others prior to developing or displaying symptoms themselves.
- keep a log of contact/group work to facilitate contact tracing.
- inform workers and others of the purpose of the log.
- display information on signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
- provide up to date information on the Public Health advice issued by the HSE and
- provide instruction for workers to follow if they develop signs and symptoms of COVID-19 during work.
- make themselves aware of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and monitor their own wellbeing.
- self-isolate at home and contact their GP promptly for further advice if they display any signs or symptoms.
- report to managers immediately if any symptoms develop during the shift.
- complete and return the pre-return to work form before they return to work.
- inform their employer if there are any other circumstances relating to COVID-19, not included in the form, which may need to be disclosed to allow their safe return to work.
- self-isolate at home and contact their GP promptly for further advice if they have any COVID-19 symptoms.
- stay out of work until all symptoms have cleared following self-isolation.
- participate in any induction training provided by the employer on their return to the workplace.
- complete any temperature testing as implemented by the employer and in line with Public Health advice.
Regular hand washing with soap and water is effective for the removal of COVID-19.
- ensure that appropriate hygiene facilities are in place to accommodate workers adhering to hand hygiene measures.
▪ make available advice and training on how to perform hand hygiene effectively: 11
▪ display posters on how to wash hands in appropriate locations:
▪ ensure they are familiar with and follow hand hygiene guidance and advice.
▪ wash their hands with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand rub regularly and in particular:
o after coughing and sneezing,
o before and after eating,
o before and after preparing food,
o if in contact with someone who is displaying any COVID-19 symptoms,
o before and after being on public transport (if using it),
o before and after being in a crowd,
o when arriving and leaving the workplace/other sites,
o before having a cigarette or vaping,
o when hands are dirty,
o after toilet use.
▪ avoid touching their eyes, mouth, or nose.
▪ have access to facilities to support hand hygiene (for example hand sanitiser/hand
wipes/hand washing facilities).
▪ not share objects that touch their mouth, for example, bottles or cups.
▪ use own pens for signing in.
- adopt good respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette.
▪ ensure they are familiar with and follow respiratory hygiene guidance.
Cleaning of work areas must be conducted at regular intervals.
Workers should follow the public health advice and guidance, as well as any specific direction from the employer. They should also adopt good hygiene practices, such as frequent hand washing, respiratory etiquette and physical distancing to protect themselves and their work colleagues against infection and should seek professional healthcare advice if unwell. If a worker has any symptoms of COVID-19, they should not attend work. Workers should also avoid making contact with their face and in particular their eyes, nose and mouth. Where necessary, workers should wash their hands immediately before touching their face.As noted above, the key to effective implementation of the infection prevention and control measures as well as occupational health and safety measures in the workplace is having a strong communication and shared collaborative approach between employers and workers.