Return to Work Safely Protocol - Patricia King statement

8 May 2020


The Irish Congress of Trade Unions views the Return to Work Safely Protocol, relating to Covid-19, as an essential weapon in the war against a dangerous and insidious virus which continues to pose a threat to the Irish people. The agreement is the result of intense discussions involving Congress, Employers, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), the Health Services Executive (HSE) and the Department of Health.

General Secretary Patricia King said “the battle against Covid 19 demands an unambiguous policy In relation to health and safety. We welcome the role which workers have been given in enforcing the protocol in the workplace”. The comprehensive protocol includes information for employers and workers relating to social distancing ,hand hygiene ,first aid, mental health, ventilation and heating, to reduce the risk of Covid-19 in the workplace.

Patricia King emphasised that the protocol was not discretionary and every employer has an absolute duty to adhere to the rules which are being put in place. She said "it is vital that the protocol is supported by an effective, enforcement regime and that every employer and worker plays their part in making our workplaces safe for all". The General Secretary added,“the price of negligence is too high. There can be no shortcuts or opt-outs when it comes to matters of life and death,Covid-19 does not discriminate and every worker in every sector is entitled to the protection of this Protocol. This pandemic has impacted severely on every part of our society and economy, and this document represents an important milestone”, said  Patricia King.

Contact: Congress Communications Office, Conor Kavanagh 086 8116607