As of June 29th, hairdressers, barbers, nail and brow salons, beauty salons, spas, make-up application services, tanning, tattooing and piercing services can all open in Ireland.
Before returning to work, the following pre-return to work steps should be put in place and completed by both employers and workers.
Establish and issue a pre-return to work form for workers to complete at least three days in advance of the return to work. This form should seek confirmation that the worker, to the best of their knowledge, has no symptoms of COVID-19 and confirm that the worker is not self-isolating or awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test.
Include the following questions on the form. If a worker answers Yes to any of them, they are strongly advised to follow the medical advice they receive or seek medical advice before returning to work:
- Do you have symptoms of cough, fever, high temperature, sore throat, runny nose, breathlessness, or flu like symptoms now or in the past 14 days? Yes/No,
- Have you been diagnosed with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection in the last 14 days? Yes/No,
- Are you a close contact of a person who is a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days (i.e. less than 2m for more than 15 minutes accumulative in 1 day)? Yes/No,
- Have you been advised by a doctor to self-isolate at this time? Yes/No
- Have you been advised by a doctor to cocoon at this time? Yes/No
Employers must also provide an induction training for all workers. This training should at a minimum include the latest up to-date advice and guidance on public health: what a worker should do if they develop symptoms of COVID-19; details of how the workplace is organised to address the risk from COVID-19; an outline of the COVID-19 response plan; identification of points of contact from the employer and the workers; and any other sector specific advice that is relevant.
Arrange for the putting in place of the necessary controls identified in the risk assessment to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.
Implement temperature testing in line with Public Health advice.
- Complete and return the pre-return to work form before they return to work.
- Inform their employer if there are any other circumstances relating to COVID-19, not included in the form, which may need to be disclosed to allow their safe return to work.
- Self-isolate at home and contact their GP promptly for further advice if they have any COVID-19 symptoms.
- Stay out of work until all symptoms have cleared following self-isolation.
- Participate in any induction training provided by the employer on their return to the workplace.
- Complete any temperature testing as implemented by the employer and in line with Public Health advice
Hand Washing and Hygiene
Regular hand washing with soap and water is effective for the removal of COVID-19.
- Ensure that appropriate hygiene facilities are in place to accommodate workers adhering to hand hygiene measures.
- Make available advice and training on how to perform hand hygiene effectively.
- Display posters on how to wash hands in appropriate locations.
- Ensure they are familiar with and follow hand hygiene guidance and advice.
- Wash their hands with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand rub regularly, and before and after every client.
In addition to hand hygiene, good respiratory hygiene and etiquette is also necessary.
- Provide tissues as well as bins/bags for their disposal.
- Empty bins at regular intervals.
- Provide advice on good respiratory practice.
- Adopt good respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette.
- Ensure they are familiar with and follow respiratory hygiene guidance.
Physical distancing is recommended to reduce the spread of infection. The current recommended distance to be maintained between people to minimise risk of transmission is 2 metres.
- Provide for physical distancing across all work activities and this may be achieved in several ways:
- Implement a no hand shaking policy,
- Organise workers into teams who consistently work and take breaks together. The teams should be as small as is reasonably practicable in the context of the work to be done,
- Organise breaks in such a way as to facilitate maintenance of physical distancing during breaks,
- Reorganise and rearrange working and break areas. For example, placing tables and chairs far enough apart in canteens,
- Implement a queue management system with correct distance markings to avoid queues,
- Put in place use of card payment methods where practicable,
- Allocate specific times for collections, appointments, and deliverables,
- Conduct meetings as much as possible using online remote means. Where face to face meetings are necessary, the length of the meeting and the numbers attending should be kept to a minimum and participants must always maintain physical distancing,
- Provide one-way systems for access/egress routes in the workplace where practicable,
- Ensure that workers sharing collective accommodation at a place of work are grouped in fixed teams that are as small as is reasonably practicable and consist of individuals who also work together. As far as is reasonably practicable,
- Each team should where reasonably practicable be provided with their own communal facilities (washrooms, kitchens and communal rooms) in order to avoid the additional burden of shift-wise use and the necessity to clean between occupancy by different teams. If this is not possible, employers should implement phased use and an enhanced cleaning regime.
- Accommodation must be regularly cleaned and ventilated either manually (by opening windows and doors) or mechanically.
- Prevent gatherings of workers in the workplace at the beginning and end of working hours (such as at time recording terminals and in changing rooms, washrooms and showers),
- In settings where 2 metre worker separation cannot be ensured by organisational means, alternative protective measures should be put in place, for example:
- Install physical barriers, such as clear plastic sneeze guards between workers,
- Maintain at least a distance of 1 metre or as much distance as is reasonably practicable,
- Minimise any direct worker contact and provide hand washing facilities, and other hand hygiene aids, such as hand sanitisers, wipes etc. that are readily accessible so workers can perform hand hygiene as soon as the work task is complete,
- Make face masks available to the worker in line with Public Health advice.
Note: wearing of masks is not a substitute for other measures outlined above. However, if masks are worn they should be clean and they should not be shared or handled by other colleagues. Employers and workers should keep up to date with the latest Public Health advice issued in regard to masks.
Cleaning of work areas must be conducted at regular intervals.
- Implement thorough and regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces. If disinfection of an area is required it must be performed in addition to cleaning, never as a substitute for cleaning.
- Ensure contact/touch surfaces such as tabletops, work equipment, door handles and handrails are visibly clean at all times and are cleaned at least twice daily.
- Implement modified cleaning intervals for rooms and work areas. This applies especially for washroom facilities and communal spaces. Cleaning should be performed at least twice per day and whenever facilities are visibly dirty.
- Provide workers with essential cleaning materials to keep their own workspace clean (for example wipes/disinfection products, paper towels and waste bins/bags).
- Increase number of waste collection points and ensure these are emptied regularly throughout and at the end of each day modify use of hot desks to ensure that these are made available to identified staff and have appropriate cleaning materials in place for workers to clean the area before using.
Use of PPE – Personal Protective Equipment
While correctly using PPE can help prevent some exposures, it should not take the place of other preventative measures as outlined above. Examples of PPE include gloves, goggles, respiratory protection. In situations where social distancing cannot be maintained, then cloth coverings/masks/visors must be worn.
Employers must provide PPE and protective clothing to workers in accordance with identified COVID-19 exposure risks and in line with Public Health Advice.
Workers should be trained in the proper use, cleaning, storing and disposal of PPE.
Gloves are generally not required for infection prevention and control purposes. Where gloves are necessary, they must not be considered a substitute for hand hygiene and hands must be cleaned whenever gloves are removed. Gloves should not create an additional occupational hazard (such as of gloves getting caught in rotating parts).
Limitations on wearing time and workers’ individual susceptibilities (allergies, etc.) must also be taken into account.
PPE needs to be consistently and properly worn when required. In addition, it must be regularly inspected, cleaned, maintained, and replaced as necessary.
Further information on PPE is available at: https://www.hsa.ie/eng/Topics/Personal_Protective_Equipment_-_PPE/.
Customer Facing Roles
Many of the measures noted above for workers can and should equally be applied for work activity that involves direct customer or visitor contacts.
- Eliminate physical interaction between workers and customers as much as is reasonably practicable.
- Provide hand sanitisers at entry/exit points.
- Install physical barriers and clear markings to ensure that contact between workers and customers is kept to a minimum and to ensure that queues do not form between customers as they wait to be served.
- Implement a cleaning regime to ensure that contact points for workers and customers are kept visibly cleaned at all times.
- Display the advice on the COVID-19 measures in visible locations to ensure that customers are also adhering to what is required.
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
Air conditioning is not generally considered as contributing significantly to the spread of COVID-19. Switching off air conditioning is not required to manage the risk of COVID-19. For organisations without air conditioning adequate ventilation is encouraged, for example, by opening windows where feasible etc.
For some places of work such as hotels, leisure facilities, offices, dental clinics and hairdressers, the employer needs to put in place control measures to avoid the potential for Legionnaires’ disease before they reopen. Further advice on the prevention of Legionnaires’ disease after the COVID-19 Pandemic is available here.
Click here to download the Irish Hairdressers Federation Guidelines document.