In line with the Return to Work Safely Protocol we have convened a Partnership in the Workplace meeting to discuss and consult on the processes we adopt before and during the return to work; the likely rotation of which offices/locations will reopen and in what order; what members of staff will return and under what conditions; return of vulnerable workers and the likelihood of shift work in a number of locations. We also discussed the issue of developing a return to work plan for our circa 400 placement workers with all of the above issues having an influence on how we plan getting back to work safely.
For your information Partnership in the Workplace (PIW) is a long-established part of our consultation process and deals with issues of a local nature. Those attending are reps from management, union reps and non-union reps and in the case of our last meeting we had two non-union; two union and four management reps.
Staff returning – Care and Repair
Under the Roadmap for Reopening Society & Business the 18th of May only refers to outdoor workers returning in Phase 1. This will involve small numbers of care a repair team members returning to work where we can maintain social distances at all times including transport from job to job. Our Health and Safety Officer will develop protocols as soon as practical and team leaders will attend training / induction and only then will a small number of placement staff be called in. This protocol will deal with hygiene, social distance, use of masks, dealing with clients and general health and well being of staff and clients.
No other placement staff will be returning to work under phase one. Please note that in returning to work placement staff will be treated the same way as all other staff. Training and induction prior to attending work will be vital to a successful return to work. Each sponsor will have to produce a full practical CV 19 Return to Work Safely set of protocols in full detail how all safety measures will be fully implemented and monitored. These protocols will include a full contact diary for each worker on a daily basis.
SDCP H&S officer will inspect the documents, the signage erected, the facilities where our workers will be based and will report back to SDCP with his findings. These finding will then be reviewed and the CEO will decide if our placement staff can return to work, on what basis and conditions they can return to work and how the workplace will be monitored. The decisions will be communicated to the relevant TUS/ CE/JI line managers and they can inform the host sponsor.
No staff may return to work without express permission of CEO via the relevant line manager and no office /location may reopen unless approved by CEO and Executive Directors.
Rotation of reopening offices.
It has been agreed at PIW that offices and locations will only reopen in accordance with the Road Map for reopening Society and Business and only when full compliance with the return to work safely protocol can be reached. 1) As HQ in Tallaght has operated through the crises it will be the first location to be fitted out with screens, sanitising stations, signage and tapes and agreed social distancing mechanisms. The indications are that this work will be completed by the End of May.
2) When this is completed the offices in Nangor Road business park will be prepared for opening. Using the learning from our endeavors at HQ Nangor Road will be fitted out with screens, sanitising station, and agreed social distancing measures and signage. All staff will be trained and inducted into the new ways of working. At the beginning the canteen will operate as a tea station only. I don’t envisage the reopening of Nangor Road till the end of May/ early June.
3 & 4. It was agreed that Brookfield LES office will be prepared next for reopening followed by the Bawnogue offices. Both of these office will be prepared for return to work only when we have guidance from DEASP which will take a few weeks before issue. At this stage I believe it will be the end of June at the earliest before these locations are open.
At present we are working to 50% of capacity in HQ due to the need to maintain social distance. When we have screens in place the capacity may increase. If this happens, staff from across the partnership thematic areas will be called into work in rotation. First will be those staff who have declared themselves available and for whom management believe that working from home is not ideal. The second office to open will be Nangor Road and we will then work out the capacity having regard to all of the impediments dictated by CV 19 and the operational protocols.
In order for this plan to be successfully executed all staff will adhere to a clear desk policy at the end of every work shift as desks may be shared depending on the needs of the business.
Staff returning from the test centre will have completed two weeks self isolation before attending our offices. This is a further protection for our staff and clients to prevent any potential spread.
Role of Board of Directors
At each stage of the above process the Executive Directors will be kept informed of all actions and asked for their opinions and advice
The above note is not an exhaustive list of the actions being undertaken to plan a safe return. The timelines are predictions not commitments as the national Roadmap may be revised depending on how successful the national effort is in eradicating the spread of CV19. Further advice and update will issue from time to time.