HSE launches Covid-safe workplace guide for Tipperary businesses

HSE launches Covid-safe workplace guide for Tipperary businesses

A campaign has been launchedid-safe to make Tipperary workplaces Covid-safe Picture: Keith Watterson

The Department of Public Health Mid-West has launched a month-long awareness campaign to help local businesses and the public in Tipperary, Limerick and Clare to stay safe from Covid-19 as services reopen.

The #SafeWorkStopsCovid will aim to educate and inform the public through a range of online initiatives, including daily and weekly updates on Covid-19 in Mid-West workplaces on Twitter; daily themed tips on how your local business can stay safe over the coming weeks and months; the publication of an easy-read guidebook on how your staff and customers can be protected against Covid-19; weekly engagement with local media; detailed insights on workplace trends by a specialist in public health medicine; and a webinar to help local businesses on being Covid-safe.

Public Health Mid-West is managing a significant number of Covid19 situations and outbreaks in these settings, and the main causes are inconsistent mask-wearing, poor social distancing, inadequate ventilation, staff members working while infectious, and lack of robust Covid-19 workplace policies.

Currently, Public Health Mid-West is investigating 23 workplace situations in the region, involving 32 cases and an estimated 59 close contacts. A workplace situation is when Public Health Mid-West is notified of at least one Covid-19 case that is linked to a workplace, requiring further investigation and risk assessment.

Dr Marie Casey, specialist in Public Health Medicine, who leads outbreak control in workplaces in the Mid-West, said: “Our team has managed more than 5,000 Covid-19 outbreaks, hundreds of which have been linked to workplaces. Since the start of the pandemic, we have dealt with fewer than five Covid-19 cases, acquired outside of workplace, among our own public health team. None of the cases  were linked or resulted in onward transmission. Like many other businesses, our office comprises a large open plan floor, and a number of multi-occupancy and single occupancy offices.

“The measures we aim to highlight through our Safe Work Stops Covid campaign are ones we use ourselves in our own workplace; we wear face masks at all times, socially distance, wash/sanitise our hands regularly, ventilate each working space, and prioritise Covid prevention and safety for staff. Some businesses in the Mid-West are still not applying these measures consistently, which makes them vulnerable to outbreaks.

“Our first important message for businesses is to avail of free walk-in Covid19 testing, particularly in Limerick as we deal with a high incidence of infection in the region. Additionally, we encourage all businesses to facilitate staff to be vaccinated when their appointment is allocated to them, this is of utmost importance over the coming months. We acknowledge that it is both and exciting and stressful time for businesses. However, our priority is to meaningfully engage with businesses, to equip them to deal with Covid-19 situations when they arise, and to help them to stay safe and open over the coming weeks and months ahead,” Dr Casey concluded.

For more information, follow @PublicHealthMW on Twitter and follow our #SafeWorkStopsCovid hashtag for updates on COVID-19 insights and tips for workplaces in the Mid-West region.

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