The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has published EU guidelines for returning to work safely. These can be found on the official website of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (in English).

These guidelines are non-binding recommendations of the Agency on the measures that employers and workers can take when returning to work during the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent or reduce the spread of the virus in the workplace. The recommendations are largely identical to the SARS-CoV-2 occupational safety standard published by the German Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.

Essentially, the guidelines address the possibilities to change working environment in such a way that the recommended minimum distance between all persons can be maintained. The employer should provide a sufficient number of adequate facilities for washing and disinfecting hands. Similarly, if the minimum distance cannot be guaranteed, the employer should provide personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves for the workers. The guidelines provide assistance in the following situations:

  • measures to minimize exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace
  • resuming work after the shutdown
  • coping with high absence rates in the company
  • management of employees working from home

The guidelines go beyond the SARS-CoV-2 occupational safety standard. The OSHA guidelines clearly privilege teleworking in any form, and limit work at the workplace to essential activities. Additionally, the guidelines contain links to national occupational health and safety authorities that have published further information on individual sectors.



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