Irish Government Updates ‘Work Safely Protocol’
EAM Group is delighted to see that the Government of Ireland, on 20th November 2020, have updated the ‘Work Safely Protocol’: COVID-19 National Protocol for Employers and Workers.
In this latest version, v.30.11.2020, the Government has now provided new improved advice, albeit basic, with regard to ventilation in Section 5.d.
It is also interesting to note that Fáilte Ireland COVID-19 Support Hub is now providing long-awaited Operational guideline updates to prepare Irish tourism businesses to re-open safely. In summary however, they refer you back to the Work Safely Protocol.
In our opinion there are several issues here:
- Primarily the Government is not acknowledging ventilation as the primary transmission mechanism
- The Government is not providing the necessary detailed guidance
- The Government is expecting business owners, under enough pressure from day-to-day operational issues, to complete their own analysis of HPSC/WHO/ECDC/ Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Regulations 2007, S.I. No.299 of 2007 etc and derive their own Ventilation Strategy
- Older, out of date, uncontrolled versions of the Work Safely Protocol are still available online
- There is too much delay between advice from the HPSC being updated and reflected in public information
- NPHET still does not have Technical Ventilation experts to assist them in preparing guidance for the Government
The Government urgently needs to advise Businesses, Educational and Health care facilities to:
- Complete a Ventilation Strategy Assessment, preferably independent
- Prepare a comprehensive Ventilation Strategy
- Implement controls and monitoring of the Ventilation Strategy
- Nominate a competent COVID-19 Supervisor to control, co-ordinate and communicate
Finally, the Government needs to advise that
Ventilation is Key
Reopening, Keeping Safe and Staying Open
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