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Returning to the Office

Health & Safety

Keeping the workplace safe as employees return to the office

As restrictions ease, and with the announcement that returning to the office can commence on a phased and staggered bases from the 20th of September, how can we keep ourselves and others safe as we return to the office?

How to plan safe return to the office for employers:

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has created an employer checklist to help employees return to the office safely. Below are some important points to keep in mind when preparing and returning to the office:

  • Documentation review and updates should take place where required. These include safety statement, risk assessments, COVID-19 response plan, guidance and information documents for employees on infection, prevention, and control.
  • Training of staff in relation to the COVID-19 response plan and any other new measures or working arrangements introduced into the workplace.  
  • Issuing and collecting of return to work forms.
  • Appointing and provide adequate training to Lead Worker Representatives.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting should be frequently carried out on touch surface such as doors, photocopiers, canteen, and WC areas – Checklist for Cleaning and Disinfection
  • Using the HSA checklist to understand the ventilation arrangements in the office.
  • Provide hygiene facilities such as sanitising stations with hand sanitisers; ensure there is warm water in taps; and provide soap, paper towels and disposal bins in WC areas.
  • Keeping log of contact to help contact tracing.
  • Maintain physical distancing as much as possible. If 2 metres cannot be achieved, then maintain at least 1 metre or as much as is reasonably practicable.
  • Placing teams in pods, staggering work breaks, no sharing of cups and pens, installation of clear Perspex screens where necessary, and minimise direct worker contact where possible.  
returning to the office

What do employees need to do?

  • Observe and follow any instructions and procedures set out by your employer.
  • Follow public health advice and guidance.
  • Complete any return-to-work forms requested by the employer.
  • Adopt good hygiene practices – frequent hand washing and sanitising, respiratory etiquette, physical distancing.
  • Don’t attend work if you are unwell and seek medical advice.
  • Let your employer know if you believe you have  symptoms of Covid-19.
  • If you have any concerns, contact your Lead Worker Representative.
  • The HSA has issued an employee checklist for more information.

Further information can be found in the Work Safely Protocol

Find out more…

Do you need help in understanding the return to the workplace obligations and to ensure you are legally compliant?  Contact us to find out more about our automated solutions to such issues in the workplace. 


HSA Covid-19 Information and Resources

Health & Safety , Health & Safety at Work , return to work , Returning to the Office , workplace safety
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