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31st Jan 2022

Here are all the guidelines for returning to the workplace

Hugh Carr

returning workplace guidelines

Are you heading back to the office this week?

The Government has published guidelines to assist both employers and workers in returning to workplaces this week.

The Transitional Protocol was published by the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment on Monday morning (31 January).

Employers and employees are free to return to the office since the easing of restrictions on 21 January.

Here’s what the government is advising for employers and employees heading back to the office:

Hand hygiene

Employers should provide hand sanitiser and adequate hand washing facilities for workers, and display posters around the workplace on how to wash properly.

Respiratory hygiene

Employers should provide tissues to employees, and ensure that bins are emptied on a regular basis.

Physical distancing and masks

While the requirement for social distancing and pods of 6 has been removed by the lifting of restrictions, the Government is still advising that employers and employees continue to remain a distance from each other.

Masks are also no longer legally required in work settings outside of healthcare, public transport, taxis, public offices and retail premises. The Government is advising, however, that workers should continue to wear masks in crowded settings.

Workers who share work vehicles should wear a mask while occupying one, and workers at high risk should continue to wear a mask, a surgical or FFP2 mask if possible.

Covid case in the workplace

If an employee exhibits Covid symptoms, they should not go to work that day. However, an action plan should be put together in case an employee begins to exhibit Covid symptoms in the workplace. This includes having a designated isolation room and providing transport for the patient to leave the premises.

Working from home

Employers should continue to support workers who are anxious or apprehensive about returning to the workplace.

Antigen tests

Employers can choose to ask their workers to take regular antigen tests, but advice surrounding masks, physical distancing, and hygiene are still in place regardless if an employee chooses to take an antigen test before entering the workplace or not.

Further restrictions are set to be reduced by the end of February. Workers are being asked to continue to follow both Government and employer guidelines.

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