28 Sept 2022

Five Covid-19 breaches found in RTÉ's Health and Safety Review of retirement gathering

RTÉ complete a Health and Safety Review of retirement gathering

RTÉ complete a Health and Safety Review of retirement gathering

RTÉ has completed a Health and Safety Review of the retirement gathering in its reception in Donnybrook, Dublin on November 12 last.

The purpose of this review was to evaluate what breaches of public health advice took place in relation to Covid-19 protocols and how best to put additional controls in place to prevent a reoccurrence. 

A garda inquiry is also under way into whether or not there were any breaches of Covid-19 regulations. This means that some issues, such as the circumstances under which the gathering took place, are outside the scope of this review and are being addressed separately.

RTÉ's Health and Safety Review has found that five breaches occurred including three breaches of Covid-19 public health advice, one breach of the Plan for Living with Covid-19 Level 5 restrictions and a breach in RTÉ's internal Covid-19 protocols:

  • Some people did not maintain social distancing during the gathering.
  • Where the two metres social distance was breached, some people were not wearing face coverings.
  • There was a breach of the requirement to avoid crowded places.
  • There was a breach of the Plan for Living with Covid-19 as there should not have been any indoor gathering, which does not form part of RTÉ’s delivery of an essential service.
  • There was a breach of internal RTÉ Covid-19 protocols for visitors to the site.

RTÉ director general Dee Forbes said: "These breaches should not have occurred and, as director general, I am sorry that this happened. What makes this all the more disappointing is that this incident is not representative of the way our staff conduct their work in general, which is to be absolutely diligent in relation to public health guidelines and Covid-19 protocols.

"A close look at any of our productions over these past months, across our television, radio and online services highlights our commitment to ensuring everyone who visits RTÉ is in a safe environment. However, on this occasion we fell short of our own standards. It is essential that we all learn from this and that none of us is complacent about the risks of Covid-19. We all have a role to play in protecting ourselves and others."

In this context, RTÉ's Health and Safety Review makes five main recommendations:

1. All present at the gathering to retake RTÉ's Covid-19 induction training.
2. Implementation of a communications plan to reinforce RTÉ's Covid-19 protocols.
3. Discussion of findings and lessons learned with RTÉ's Covid-19 representatives. 
4. Review of RTÉ's visitor access and protocols.
5. Ongoing review of RTÉ's COVID-19 protocols.

RTÉ will implement these findings in full. Read the review in full here

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