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New rules on re-opening businesses include Covid-19 induction training for staff

A new protocol will be published tomorrow outlining rules businesses will have to adhere to when re-opening.

Image: Shutterstock/puhhha

A NEW PROTOCOL being published tomorrow will outline rules businesses must adhere to when re-opening following Covid-19 closures.

The protocol will outline the steps and processes that businesses will have to take to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 in the workplace. 

The new guidelines will be overseen by the Health and Safety Authority. 

It’s understood that under the protocol, employers will have to issue a pre-return to work form to workers that they will have to complete at least three days before returning to work. 

Before a business reopens, workers will be provided with Covid-19 induction training to ensure they are up to speed on public health advice and guidelines. 

Employers will be required to update their safety plans before reopening, in consultation with, and with the agreement of workers. 

Measures such as social distancing, the provision of hand sanitisers and clear procedures around hand washing and respiratory etiquette should be included in the plan. 

Employers will also have to keep records of any group work carried out to help facilitate contact tracing. 

Businesses will have to ensure that breaks and rest periods be organised in a way that will facilitate social distancing. 

The protocol will also outline that employers must put a response plan in place, with details of how they will deal with a suspected Covid-19 case. 

Under the new rules, if a worker begins to display any symptoms of Covid-19 during work hours, a designated manager must direct them to an isolation area, along a designated route, while maintaining a two-metre distance. They will then have to arrange for the person to stay in isolation before arranging for them to be taken home or to a medical facility, avoiding public transport. 

A risk assessment of the incident will be then carried out by the employer.

Protective measures such as the installation of physical barriers and plastic sneeze guards will also be required in settings where two metre separation isn’t possible. 

It is understood that the protocol is a living document and will change over time, in compliance with the latest public health advice. 

The protocol will be published in full tomorrow and will include further requirements for businesses. 

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