Irish employers are obligated to make Covid-19 updates to their health and safety policies, says a leading health and safety consultant.
Employers are being urged to update safety measures, risk assessments and safety statements to mitigate the risks of Covid-19 as some employees prepare to return to work.
Workers will gradually start returning to work, with almost 150,000 building workers expected to return this month.
Safe Team health and safety consultant, Paul McLaughlin, says that when they do, employers will be responsible for taking steps to protect staff from the spread of coronavirus.
He says: “Employers have a general duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of all employees.
“While the risk of contracting coronavirus is not one created by work, it is clearly a risk that can be increased by normal working practices. Employers have a duty to identify and take appropriate measures to mitigate.
“To remain compliant, avoid negligence claims or reduce risk of an outbreak within the workplace, employers must be vigilant in maintaining normal health and safety procedures while undertaking Covid-19 safety precautions,” Mr McLaughlin adds.
He outlines a “number of factors” that must now be considered by employers in the workplace. To identify shortfalls in their health and safety policies, Mr McLaughlin says employers should ask themselves the following questions.
Meanwhile, employers maintain responsibility for the health and safety of their employees when they are working remotely.
Mr McLaughlin explains: “The risks to employees working remotely must be assessed with clear guidance and training. Adequate lighting and ergonomic equipment must also be provided while ensuring it is safe and without risks to health.”
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