With some countries releasing restrictions and people returning to work the international labour organisation issued guidance which states that work places should be assessed before returning to work and that preventive measures should be implemented to ensure the safety and health of all workers amidst covid-19.
Two guidance documents for creating safe and effective return-to-work conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic have been issued by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
The Guidance Note says that return to work policies need to be informed by a human-centred approach that puts peoples’ rights at the heart of economic, social and environmental policies
The note draws on specialist ILO guidance documents and International Labour Standards, which provide a normative framework for creating a safe return to work. The document stresses that policy guidance should be embedded into national Occupational Safety and Health systems, as these create the basis for safe workplace environments.
According to the guidance documents, workers must feel safe at their workplaces, both from risks directly related to COVID-19, and indirect risks, including psychosocial issues.
In addition the guidelines say workers should have the right to remove themselves from any situation “which they have reasonable justification to believe presents an imminent and serious danger to their life or health”, and “shall be protected from any undue consequences”.
The document proposes that each specific work setting, job or group of jobs should be assessed before returning to work and that preventive measures should be implemented to ensure the safety and health of all workers.
ILO’s Deputy Director-General for Policy, Deborah Greenfield says the needs of workers at higher risk of severe illness should be taken into account; including older workers, pregnant workers, those with pre-existing medical conditions, refugees, migrants and those in the informal sector.