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Blog  »  June 2021  »  As Easy As 1,2,3: Key Elements of Safe Return to The Workplace - Blog
Jun 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

As Easy As 1,2,3: Key Elements of Safe Return to The Workplace

Following on from our previous blog post Our Employees Are Back! – How Do I Return My Employees Safely? this blog post will detail the first 3 key elements of The Return to Work Safely Protocol:

1. Lead Worker Representative

2. Review Risk Assessment & Health & Safety Policies

3. Develop a COVID-19 Response Plan

1. Lead Worker Representative

Each workplace must appoint at least one lead worker representative, who along with management will have responsibility for ensuring that COVID-19 preventative measures are adhered to. 

The Protocol very much promotes collaboration between the employer and employees, and having a Lead Worker Representative is very much key to having everybody working off the same page. 

The HSA are currently running an online course to qualify your chosen employee as a Lead Worker Representative which we encourage you to have your chosen employee complete.

2. Review Risk Assessment & Health & Safety Policies

The next step is to review risk assessments and health & safety policies. In order to pinpoint how and where could the virus be transmitted in your workplace you must look at the hazards, evaluate the risks and put control measures in place. 

If there is a change to how work is carried out, you will need to review your Health & Safety policies. 

3. Develop a COVID-19 Response Plan

The next mandatory point is that all workplaces must develop a Covid-19 Response Plan. This is best thought of as a comprehensive catch-all document that deals with all points of relevance relating to COVID-19 and your workplace. 

The Protocol specifically sets out the information you must include in your Response Plan, this will include:

    • Stating how you will deal with a Suspected Case of Covid-19 in your workplace. You should appoint one employee with responsibility for dealing with suspected cases. You must have a designated isolation area to accommodate someone who may have contracted the virus. The idea being that you have a sterile environment where the employee can go if they are unable to go home straight away.
    • Secondly you will need to reference Cleaning & Hygiene. State how frequently your common areas and frequently touched surfaces are being cleaning. Have you provided sufficient hand washing / sanitisation facilities – all that type of thing. 
    • Reference the measures you have taken to ensure physical distancing.
    • You need to commit to keeping staff informed and up-to-date on what is happening in your workplace and also on public health advice. 
    • Employees have a responsibility here to; they must ensure that they are keeping up-to-date and abiding by the preventative measures being put in place. So it is important to include this in the Response Plan. 
    • And finally mental health. . . mental health is specifically referenced in the Protocol – you will need to reference and discuss how you are supporting employees whether it is through your EAP program or the HAS has provided helpful sources on their website which you should inform your employees are available to them.
For those of you who are using our Bright Contracts package, Bright Contracts has been updated with a template Covid-19 response plan which can be found in the 'Optional Sections' tab of the software. It covers everything referenced just now and more.
The policy has been written closely following HSA guidelines and checklists. We would certainly advise that you review the policy and adapt it to include what is relevant in your organisation, but it is a fantastic blue print to ensure you are addressing all the points you need to. 

Stay tuned for next weeks blog post to read the remainder of the key elements of 'The Return to Work Safely Protocol'.

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Posted in Bright Contracts News, Coronavirus, Customer Update