• Cyril McAree

New ‘Workplace Protection and Improvement Guide’ launched by Minister Humphreys

The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) has published a ‘Workplace Protection and Improvement Guide’ outlining preventative measures businesses can take to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. The Government, in welcoming this guidance, has reaffirmed its commitment to assisting businesses operate whilst rigorously adhering to public health measures. Launching the ‘Workplace Protection and Improvement Guide’, which was prepared by the agencies of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, the NSAI, the Health and Safety Authority, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, with support from the HSE, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys T.D., said: “Businesses across the country have already taken significant steps to safeguard against the spread of coronavirus. I would urge them to continue that work. The best way to ensure that firms can keep operating is to rigorously implement the public health guidelines on physical distancing and minimise the risk of spreading infection. Similarly, I would encourage all employees to make themselves aware of the expert advice and strictly adhere to it. Implementing best practice – particularly around physical distancing, remote and home working, cleaning and shift-work and overall hygiene measures – can help limit the impact of the virus on employees and business continuity. The NSAI guidance document will be a significant resource for firms and their employees.” The new NSAI helpline and the €2,500 consultancy supports available through Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Údarás na Gaeltachta and the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) will enable firms to the identify and implement the measures needed to ensure they can continue to operate safely to provide necessary and essential goods and services for all. The Minister highlighted a range of good practices and process changes that are being implemented by firms to protect their people, their premises and the general public so they can continue to operate safely. These include measures such as use of gloves for common equipment, cleaning between shifts, floor markings to ensure distance, use of perspex at counters, strict processes for deliveries to minimise contact, adjusting factory and office layouts to ensure distance and staggering of shifts and using remote handovers between shifts. The Minister continued: “Our absolute priority, as we battle Covid-19, is protecting the health and well-being of everyone in Ireland. We are working with business and worker representatives to achieve our public health objectives and sustain jobs. I want to reassure businesses and workers that Government and its agencies are committed to supporting businesses as best we can to rigorously implement the essential physical distancing and workplace preventative measures and to continue to operate” The Minister also said: “I welcome the close engagement of the HSE with the business sector and in providing a range of guidance notices to employers and employees over recent weeks. It is essential that businesses in all sectors do everything possible to prevent the spread of the virus and to help mitigate its impact. Businesses can pro-actively manage these risks by implementing the measures set out in this new ‘Workplace Protection and Improvement Guide’”. The Minister concluded: “We value the contribution that every firm and worker make to our economy. We are committed to doing all we can collectively to ensure that enterprises rigorously implementing the guidance on physical distancing and taking actions to minimise the risk of spreading the virus, can continue to operate.”

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