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COVID-19: Ten checks for a safe return to work on Tuesday

Today the Council of Trade Unions has released simplified guidance for people going back to work on-site when New Zealand enters Level 3 on Tuesday the 28th of April. President Richard Wagstaff says that the guidance has been put together to provide working people with clarity about what a safe worksite looks like at Level 3.

“By releasing this health and safety guide, we are giving working people, their unions and employers a head start on getting their businesses ready”, he said. “This guide flags key health and safety areas and is a starting point for employers and working people to engage in managing Covid-19 and other new risks at Alert Level 3. These conversations need to happen before people recommence their work duties. These guidelines won’t cover every situation but should be the starting point for a constructive conversation as soon as possible. It’s no secret that better health and safety outcomes are achieved when there is meaningful worker engagement, participation and representation.

“As of Tuesday, the number of people working in New Zealand is expected to roughly double, to one million. Preparations for opening up work sites are well underway. Employers need to be meaningfully engaging now, with the people who will be entering those sites for work on Tuesday, about how they will be keeping everyone safe from catching Covid-19 at work. Employers also need to be providing early reassurance to those who need to stay home that they will be able to make that choice safely and retain their pay.

“We are all getting used to operating in a new working environment, while also trying to understand and apply some complicated principles of infection control, public health, and meeting health and safety obligations. It is more important than ever that workplace procedures are in place for communicating with working people about their health and safety and reporting health and safety problems when they arise. This is very stressful situation for working people who are worried about their risk of exposure, and employers have a clear obligation to protect both physical and mental health in a time of crisis.” The guide can be downloaded here