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Covid-19: returning safely after lockdown and employers’ obligations

Last week IOSH hosted it’s latest in its Covid-19 series: Coronavirus – returning safely after lockdown and employers’ obligations. 

The webinar which took place on the 28 May was hosted by Head of Policy and Regulatory Engagement IOSH, Richard Jones with an expert panel from L'Oreal, ENHESA, The Law Society and Osborne Clarke International Legal Practice. 

Opening the webinar Richard Jones highlighted the impact that employers’ obligations can have on their employees worldwide:

“These obligations and their delivery really matter. These can be mandatory or voluntary but can affect millions of workers their families and communities worldwide. As always today's session aims to share knowledge and experience, so as well as my introduction we will have four presentations from experts in their industries.”

Employers have obligations to comply with health and safety standards set by governments and regulators worldwide, and they must understand and discharge their duties of care to employees and others against the backdrop of the current pandemic.

Looking at employment through a global lens, this webinar explained in depth how organisations are now planning for or managing the implementation of staff returning to workplaces.

The expert panel made up by Gabriela Troncoso, Expert Services Manager, ENHESA, Malcolm Staves, Corporate Health and Safety Director, L'Oreal, David Greene, Vice-President, The Law Society, Mary Lawrence, Partner, Osborne Clarke International Legal Practice. 

Corporate Health and Safety Director, L'Oreal, Malcolm Staves spoke openly about the measures and challenges L'Oreal have faced when managing returning to work across countries operating under varying legal requirements.

“When it came to returning to work, the duty of care was essential and central, we put in place, access control on entrances and temperature taking, with thermal cameras put in place for premises over 200 employees. Protected welcome desk screens, sanitiser and masks where they were available.”

“However, in the confinement period masks were not freely available so we focussed on enforcing the distancing measures that were required by that specific country. Which created complications as some countries distancing measures required you to be one metre (apart) which aligned with world health organisation requirements, whereas others did 1.5 and others 2 metres, so this needed to change based on the requirements of the country.”

The webinar continued to address the common themes in returning to work, along with the role of competent health and safety assistance, what extra adjustments may be needed alongside psycho-social consideration including employee mental health. 

To watch Covid-19: Coronavirus – returning safely after lockdown and employers’ obligations in full including access to the Q&A click here.  

Registration for IOSHs upcoming webinar Covid-19: managing mental wellbeing when returning to work is now open. 

Taking place on 4 June 2020 12:30 pm BST, Covid-19: managing mental wellbeing when returning to work, will explore in-depth, the mental health of employers upon returning to work. 

The speakers will look at details of the psycho-social risks and workplace mental health support, explore examples and case studies, and explore the roles safety and health professionals can play in supporting colleagues during this time.

To find out more information about IOSH webinars or to access advice and guidance on returning safely please visit the IOSH Covid-19 resource page


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