Government updates Work Safely Protocol in lead-up to Christmas

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As businesses continue to operate remotely across the country, the Government has today (20 November) announced a number of updates to the Work Safely Protocol. It builds on the previous guidelines published to facilitate a safe return to workplaces, which came out in May 2020.

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The new document contains information and practical advice on managing and controlling workplace outbreaks, which hand sanitisers to select, when masks should be worn and more. It was announced by Taoiseach Micheál Martin, TD, who said: “This protocol has been developed in close consultation with employers and trade unions through the Labour Employer Economic Forum; such cooperation is an essential part of our collective efforts to manage the pandemic.

“I am urging people to be particularly vigilant in the coming weeks, in the run up to Christmas, as certain workplaces will see an increase in activity. It’s important for employers and workers to pay renewed attention to the risks and consult the protocol to ensure a safe work environment.”

Work Safely Protocol will help prevent Christmas outbreaks

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) will continue to lead compliance with the new guidelines, alongside inspectors from Government departments and State bodies. Since the last protocol was published in May, nearly 20,000 Covid-19 inspections have been carried out and €4m funding has been allocated to the HSA. It will use the money to recruit extra staff to manage and prevent the spread of the virus in workplaces in the lead-up to Christmas.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, TD, added: “I’d like to pay tribute to the commitment and resourcefulness of both business owners and staff around the country and thank you all for the incredible effort you have put in to keep your workers and customers safe over the past few months. It has been exceptionally challenging, and you have shown true grit and leadership.

“Your efforts to date have saved lives. We are asking that you continue to keep adapting your business so that it is as safe as it possibly can be. This will be especially important as we ease restrictions in the lead up to Christmas. It is in everyone’s interest to ensure Christmas workplace outbreaks are avoided.”

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