The purpose of ‘workplace quarantine’ is to ensure that establishments can maintain the staffing levels required in order for immunised workers to provide services safely and generate economic activity.
*Please note that employers may set different standards to suit the needs of their business.
Who does this guidance apply to?
This guidance applies to all immunised workers and their corresponding work environments.
This applies to immunised persons who are required to quarantine by the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (ESU), but are authorised to engage in work by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO).
It means working at one’s place of employment as an immunised close contact, with the following conditions:
- negative covid-19 nasopharyngeal swab test received
- no symptoms
- approval received from the ESU
- appropriate use of a surgical mask and other relevant Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at all times
- practice good hand hygiene
- monitor symptoms
- only move between work and home
- avoid communal work spaces such as lunch rooms, meeting rooms, etc., and
- practice physical distancing to the greatest extent possible
*See below for more detailed workplace quarantine guidance*
Two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine plus 14 days from the second dose.
Persons who are required to quarantine by the ESU due to exposure to someone with covid-19.
Public Health (COVD-19) Regulations 2020
General Workplace Safety Precautions
The following general principles apply in all circumstances, including in relation to workplace quarantine:
- Workers should not work while sick, even if they only have mild signs or symptoms
- Workers with COVID-19 symptoms should be tested as soon as possible
- Workers who had unprotected exposure (e.g. without the appropriate PPE) to a person confirmed to have COVID-19 but remain asymptomatic, should be tested immediately following the date of exposure. They should notify their managers and the ESU (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible.
Workplace Quarantine Guidance
- Workers required to quarantine may engage in workplace quarantine if they:
- Are immunised
- Have received a negative nasopharyngeal swab test
- Have been asymptomatic for the last 14 days
- Workers on workplace quarantine must ensure:
- Approval for workplace quarantine has been granted by a contact tracer/health officer under the authority of the CMO.
- Appropriate level of PPE is maintained at all times for their workplace quarantine period. - For example, in patient facing roles a surgical mask or a higher level of protection should be worn, such as droplet precaution level PPE (mask, eye protection, gloves and gowns if there’s a risk of soiling) where clinically indicated (including all patient care episodes) for the next 14 days or until the end of their quarantine period.
- Consistent and frequent hand hygiene
- Test out of quarantine/on Day 14 (nasopharyngeal swab test)
- Avoid communal work activities and spaces, such as eating lunch in a staff room, and maintain physical distance as much as possible
- Only move between work and home – no stops anywhere else, e.g. no stops for groceries, visiting friends or family.
- Self-monitor for symptoms at least twice daily. Symptoms of COVID-19 include but are not limited to:
- Unusual tiredness
- Congestion/runny nose
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Fever of 100.4°F or higher, or a sense of having a fever
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Workplace Quarantine Safety Precautions
- Whenever possible, workers engaged in workplace quarantine should take on a role that does not involve direct patient care or person to person contact. Where required due to staffing shortages and client care needs, staff should avoid high risk patients (vulnerable patients) and ensure adherence to all other requirements with extreme vigilance.
- Workplaces are not required to authorise workplace quarantine if deemed unnecessary and if it can be established that more stringent requirements than those outlined in this guidance are necessary.
Workplace Quarantine Exceptions
- Workers with immunocompromised conditions who have been exposed should quarantine for at least 14 days. However, this period may be longer depending on the risk assessment carried out by their physician.
- If there are specific concerns regarding a variant or the integrity of the vaccine not upholding due to unique circumstances, the worker must quarantine, as required by the CMO.
- There may be additional exceptions authorised by the CMO, in order to ensure the continuity of essential care services, as well as the safety of patients and staff.
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