Covid-19 compliance officers to become commonplace in workplaces

Covid-19 Compliance Officer should be appointed in workplaces to act as a go-to person for the HSE and Gardaí and putting the necessary processes and procedures in place. Picture: Getty Images

COVID compliance officers will likely become commonplace in workplaces around the country to ensure businesses meet any instructions or rules issued by the Government in order to allow them to recommence trading.

The Association of Compliance Officers Ireland (ACOI) have said that as the Irish workforce and businesses themselves begin to contemplate what the working landscape will look like as the country tentatively emerges from lockdown, the issue of compliance and how to deal with social distancing and other COVID-related protocol, will be at the forefront of the minds of managers and business owners in every industry.

The ACOI are advising that a dedicated COVID Compliance Officer should be appointed in workplaces to act as a go-to person for the HSE and Gardaí to interact with and support in terms of putting the necessary processes and procedures in place.

The professional body, which has over 3,000 members nationwide, said this could be an existing compliance officer, or another senior employee or member of management within the company.

“While there have been rumblings that we may be edging closer to opening the country up for business again, it is widely accepted that rather than preparing for “life after COVID”, we will have to set ourselves up for “life amidst COVID” – until such time as a treatment is found," Michael Kavanagh, CEO of the ACOI said.

"This means businesses will have to adapt and change according to what the relevant authorities advise. Organisations will have to adhere to strict rules to ensure we hold our ground in the fight against the spread of the disease. 

According to the government’’s roadmap to reopen the economy, businesses that can maintain a two-metre social distance can allow workers to return in phase two on June 8. Phase 3 on June 29, allows a return to work for those with low levels of interaction

Phase four on July 20 will see employees who cannot work remotely considered first for a return to onsite working. However, measures such as shift work and staggered hours might have to be implemented. Only phase five on August 10 will allow a return to work across all sectors.