Workplaces cannot delay preparations for Covid-19 reopening

Workplaces cannot delay preparations for Covid-19 reopening
Along with regular cleaning, workplaces will need robust systems and training in place before their business can reopen. Pic: iStock

Offices and workplaces will have to begin controlling access to their premises in the same way manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies do and are being urged to begin work immediately ahead of the phased reopening of the various sectors.

The phased reopening plans set down strict workplace guidelines that will be enforced by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) to allow businesses to reopen.

OneLook Systems, based in Carrigtwohill in Cork creates software to provide induction training and management of site visitors for many pharmaceutical, medical technology and food companies including GSK, Nestlé, Stryker, Siemens, Google, Kerry Group and Gas Networks Ireland.

They have already begun working with customers to prepare workplaces to reopen with Covid-19 safeguards in place.

Chief Operating Officer, Brendan Griffin told the Irish Examiner that workplaces and offices that may have had a casual approach to visitors and access will now have to adopt strict measures similar to those in place for manufacturing, food, construction and pharmaceutical sites.

"Businesses are going to have to look at how people come on to their site or place of work. What entrances do they use and will have to carry out a risk assessment and update their policies and procedures."

"It is crucial that companies prepare early because every company is going to need to train staff and have a system in place to know who is on their premises at any time.

"For companies with less than 50, they could manage with paper documentation or a spreadsheet but for larger companies, they would probably need dedicated software."

OneLook has already implemented systems for Covid-19 preparedness at sites belonging to Google, Kerry Group and Diageo.

Mr Griffin said accurate and up-to-date records of people on a premises and where they worked can prove to be invaluable if a worker becomes ill as there are records of where they were and who they interacted with.

Conor Healy the Chief Executive of Cork Chamber made similar comments urging all businesses to begin preparatory work now even if their phased reopening does not take for a number of weeks or months.

"Office environments might appear straightforward but it will take time to make sure the protocol is adhered, to assess the workplace, install signage, train staff and communicate policies. We would strongly encourage businesses to ensure that such changes are not left to the last minute."

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