Guidelines and Protocols for Deconfinement and Return to Work

 

Latest update: May 26th, 2020 

 

During April, some countries, especially in Asia and Europe, began to relax lockdown and confinement measures and, in that effort, are publishing guidelines and protocols to ‘return to work’, in order to transition into a period where economic activity coexists with COVID-19. Most of the resources identified to this day and shared below are Occupational Safety and Health Guidelines to reduce the risk of contagion, and Government protocols for the gradual reopening of businesses and workplaces.

 

RECOMMENDATION: Use Google Chrome’s “Translate” tool to understand content in foreign languages. 

 

Guidelines from governments - Non OAS Member States 

 

European Union: 

On April 24th, before reopening measures began to take place in various countries of the region, the Occupational Safety and Health Agency of the European Union published general guidelines to adapt the workplace and protect workers from a possible second wave of COVID-19 contagion. The guidelines are available in 22 languages.

Australia: 

The Government outlined a three-phase plan to re-open Australia, although specific dates have not been announced. A series of resources were offered for employers to guarantee safety and health in of workers. It is specially noteworrthy the series of checklists to determine next steps to prepare work centers. 

Denmark: 

The Government of Denmark has outlined a three-phase plan for the gradual reopening of the country, which began on mid-april. To support  employers in this process, a series of guidelines were put in place with reccommendations by sector. 

Note: The website is in danish. It is reccommended to use the explorer's tranlsator. 

France: 

France established May 11th as the date to begin the reopening of some businesses. To support companies in this process, the Ministry of Labor elaborated a deconfinement protocol and an advise worksheet to help employers implement health measures against COVID-19. Both resources are available in French only.

    Germany: 

    Before the gradual reopening of workplaces, which began on April 20th, the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of Germany published the Occupational Safety and Health Standards, which establish guidelines to support employers to adapt the workplace to avoid new waves of contagion. The implementation of a tripartite advisory group which will be updating and modifying the standards as the crisis evolves is worth noting. The Standards are available in English.

    Italy: 

    Towards the re-opening of some companies and businesses from May 4th, the Government of Italy updated its protocol to fight and contain the spread of the virus in the workplace. All resources are available in Italian only.

    New Zealand: 

    New Zealand has put in place a system of Alert Levels (2, 3 and 4) that determines the kind of businesses that can operate and under which conditions, as well as general guidelines for each Alert Level. As of May 6th, the country is on Alert Level 3. The elaboration of a COVID-19 Safety Plan model that employers have to fill out to describe the measures they will be taking to reduce contagion  is noteworthy (it is not mandatory to send this plan to review by government, is for companies’ own use).

    Singapore: 

    Starting on May 2nd, Singapore established phases for businesses to begin operations gradually. The information on which business sectors are allowed to open on every phase is available online, along with the recommendations and occupational safety and health guidelines for each sector. It includes measures from the Ministries of Health, Manpower and Industry and Trade. The elaboration  of the “Guide on Business continuity Planning during COVID-19 to support employers” is noteworthy. All resources are available in English.

    Spain

    Towards the gradual re-opening of work centers which started on April 13th,  Spain  updated its  “Good Practices in the Workplace before Covid-19 “ Guide, as a tool to support employers for a safe return to work. The document was elaborated by the Ministry of Health.

    United Kingdom 

    On May 11th, as it prepared to reopen businesses, the United Kingdom Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published a set of sector-specific guidelines to “work safely” during the pandemic. The documents are directed to employees, employers and the self-employed, and include  reccommendations for construction, factories, offices, labs, restaurants, shops, among others 

     

    Guidelines from governments - OAS Member States 

     

    Argentina: 

    On May 18th, the Government from Argentina, through the Occupational Safety and Health office of the Ministry of Labor, published a Protocol to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace 

      Brazil: 

      Through the Special Secretariat for Labor of the Ministry of Economy, the Government of Brazil published sectorial occupational safety and health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as an online self-assesment platform for companies to determine if they are prepared to prevent contagion. 

        Mexico: 

        The Government of Mexico published a document with general Technical Guidelines for Health in the Workplace, and launched a site towards a "New Normality", which includes sectorial occupational safety and health guidelines and where companies must register their re-opening protocols. 

        Panama: 

        The Ministry of Labor published General Guidelines to create and operate Occupational Safety and Health Commitees that must operate in all companies towards reopening. 

          Paraguay 

          The Ministry of Labor has available on its website a General Control Guide to prevent contagion of COVID-19 in the workplace. 

          Uruguay 

          As a result of a social dialogue exercise between workers, employers and government, Uruguay published a protocol for the prevention of COVID-19 in retail and service sectors. 

           

           

          Guidelines from international institutions and workers and employers' organizations

           

          International Organization of Employers (IOE) - 

          On May 6th, the Society of Human Resource Management and the International Organization of Employers published the “Return to Work during COVID-19” Guide, which includes key questions that employers must ask themselves, as well as resources on which they can rely when taking decisions. 

          The IOE also published along with VBO-FEB a Generic Guide for combatting the spread of  COVID-19 at work. 

          ILO Bureau for Employers Activities 

          The publication aims to provide general guidance and information to employers on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, to enable workers to return to work safely while keeping the risk of contamination as low as possible. 

          International Labour Organization (ILO) 

          On May 22, the ILO issued a practical guide for governments to guarantee a safe and healthy return to work, highlighting the importance of taking reopening actions focused on human rights, and through social dialogue. The guide included a 10 point practial checklist for employers towards returning to work. 

          Inter-American Development Bank 

          On May 26, the Inter-American Development Bank published a series of strategic considerations towards reopening, including lessons learned from other countries, guidelines for managing risks and preventing contagion, and a series of measures to ensure the continuation of essential activities. 

          Spains' UGT

          To support this process, the General Workers' Union of Spain published a practical Guide for returining to work during COVID-19