According to the new guidelines issued by the Chief Labour Inspector in Poland, before employees return to work, employers should identify and assess workplace risks, taking into account all new hazards that have emerged as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, including mental health challenges. In this context, the Chief Labour Inspector lists physical, biological, chemical and psychosocial risk factors. In accordance with the recommendations of the World Health Organisation, particular attention should be given to psychosocial risks.
Moreover, it is suggested that whenever possible, employers should still allow employees to work remotely from home, in order to maintain safe distances. When it is not possible to offer remote work, employers should guarantee other safety and hygiene measures, such as mechanical barriers (e.g. acrylic glass or plexiglass) and distances of at least 1.5 meters between workspaces. Additionally, employees and other persons carrying out their functions in the workplace, should be informed by the employer with regards to new rules and procedures implemented to protect the health and safety of the workforce, and be trained in such matters, as needed.
The guidelines provide numerous recommendations and information to help with organising the return to work. However, the guidelines are of a general nature, and therefore employers should implement them in a way that takes into account the particulars of the workplace, in addition to the working conditions exclusive to the enterprise and the specific tasks, duties and functions of the employees.
The guidelines are not universally binding, but they will undoubtedly be helpful to employers, as they indicate the direction employers should take when making the necessary preparations to receive employees, who will return to the workplace to resume their occupational responsibilities.
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