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People around the world can access new free online learning to develop their knowledge around preventing transmission of COVID-19 and managing the risks of returning to work and remote working.

With the aim of ‘protecting lives and livelihoods’ around the globe, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has worked with the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop a new course which has been made available on the OpenWHO online learning platform.

It is the latest development in a collaboration between IOSH and the WHO, with a plan of work being agreed between the organisations last year to support businesses, workers and safety and health professionals in managing COVID-related risks.

Bev Messinger, Chief Executive of IOSH, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the way we work, as well as the way we live. Many organisations have opted for remote working, although this has been beneficial for employers and workers, it is something which can create significant risks, not least around mental health.

“Organisations are also planning their recovery and have been doing for some time. This includes how they can allow people back into workplaces in a safe way, ensuring that the risks of COVID-19 transmission are managed. Some organisations, of course, have had to continue operating in workplaces and we have supported them too.

“We are delighted to work together with the World Health Organization to develop these short modules, which will be available globally. They will support people in organisations of all sizes, including small and medium enterprises and start-ups who might otherwise find it challenging to access such training. Across these organisations, they will enhance the way workers are protected and, as a result, protect lives and livelihoods.”

The new course has five modules, two of which were developed by IOSH: Safer Teleworking and Reopening your workplace safely. Meanwhile, IOSH peer reviewed the other modules.

With issues around isolation and work-life balance being among those reported by remote workers, the Safer Teleworking module will help organisations manage these risks, demonstrating how they can implement strategies which reduce the psychological and physical impacts they are experiencing.

Meanwhile, with workplace returns requiring a huge amount of planning and preparation, the Reopening your workplace safely module will help organisations through a step-by-step process.

The course contains interactive content and is available on OpenWHO’s online learning platform here.

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