news17 marzo 2020

Regulatory measures to control and contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus in workplaces: a summary of the shared protocol 17 March 2020

The shared protocol has been signed on 14 March by trade unions and employers' organisations on invitation of the Prime Minister and the Ministers of Economy, Labour, Economic Development and Health.

March 14 - on invitation by the Prime Minister, the Minister of the Economy, the Minister of Labour, the Minister of Economic Development and the Minister of Health - the trade unions and employers' organisations signed the "Shared Protocol to regulate measures to combat and contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus in workplaces".

The agreement aims to ensure the protection of workers' health and the necessary safety conditions in every workplace, in compliance with the recommendations made - following the recommendation of the technical-scientific committee - by the Ministry of Health on the management of Covid-19 risks in the workplace.

Specifically, the document provides that production activities may continue only if adequate levels of protection are provided to workers. In order to favour the containment of the virus, it is possible to provide for the temporary suspension and reduction of the activity or to adopt smart working as much as possible. The agreement indicates particular measures of containment that pursue safeguards protocols against infection (interpersonal distance between workers or adoption of safety devices).

Further specific indications provided by the protocol concern:

  • Information. The Company informs, in different ways (email, leaflets, etc.) all workers and anyone entering the company about the provisions of the Authorities and the employer for the containment of contagion.
  • The methods of entry into the workplace may vary according to possible controls at the time of entry of personnel and preclusions to those who have been in contact with people found positive to COVID-19 or those coming from areas considered at risk by the WHO.
  • External suppliers must reduce contact with employees and respect interpersonal safety distances during the discharge. If possible, the supplier's driver must remain on the vehicle.
  • Daily cleaning and periodic sanitization of the company is required. In case of a COVID-19 case, a specific sanitation is required.
  • All persons on-site must take personal hygiene precautions, starting with proper hand washing.
  • The possible adoption of individual safety devices is linked to their availability on the market. If the activities carried out impose on workers a distance of less than one meter, and it is not possible to adopt different solutions (such as the distance between work stations), it is necessary to use personal protective equipment (masks and other PPE).
  • Access to common areas (canteens, changing rooms, etc.) must be restricted and the distance between people must be at least one metre.
  • The organisation must be restructured and include: the closure of non-productive departments, the remodelling of production levels, the rostering of employees dedicated to production to reduce contacts to the minimum and the use of smart working for all those activities that can be carried out at remotely. Employees can benefit paid time off and overtime hours in case of non-working. Travel and business trips are suspended.
  • The company should provide for staggered entry and exit of employees to avoid overcrowding.
  • Meetings in attendance are prohibited, if necessary the interpersonal safety distance between participants and adequate cleanliness and aeration of the rooms must be guaranteed. All events, including training events, within the company are also cancelled except those that can be held remotely.
  • In case of presence of a symptomatic person, this person must isolate him/her and inform the competent health authorities and the regional or Ministry of Health numbers activated for the COVID-19 emergency. The workplace must also cooperate with the health authorities to define contact details of the infected person.
  • Health surveillance activities must continue taking into account the COVID-19 regulatory measures. In particular, the doctor is responsible for notifying the workplace of any workers with current or past illnesses.

Employees who require time to adapt to these precautionary measures may suspend or reduce their activities for a few days, taking advantage of this time to sanitise the areas.