News & Thinking

When returning to work consider these health and safety issues related to COVID-19

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Grant Nicholson

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Grant Nicholson

We imagine you (like the majority of our clients) will want to resume work as soon as you can, and part of doing so will be grappling with the health and safety related issues around COVID-19.

We are naturally getting quite a few queries about this, so I have asked partner Grant Nicholson and his team of health and safety specialists have provided some “top tips” that can  hopefully make life a bit easier!

They are:

  • Don’t get overly hung up on COVID-19. While it will be important to think about things like infection risks, social distancing, and cleaning, the biggest risk in your business will likely be inattention as workers get back into their work routines. As always, protecting workers from critical risks should be your first priority – and you should be especially aware of any changes you’re making to these controls.
  • Look out for all the free public support that’s available. There’s good information on the, and websites and sector specific information from many peak bodies too. Online resources provide lots of information on what to do to keep workplaces healthy and comply with the lockdown alert level rules.
  • Be conscious of invisible risks like stress and fatigue and risks arising from interactions with business partners too. Supply chain disruptions and workload pressure are going to subtly encourage a “production over safety” mentality, and that’s often when accidents happen.
  • Talk with your workers, suppliers and customers about any changes you’re planning in the business. Consulting is a legal requirement but also common sense if you want to avoid unexpected and unintended consequences. After a break like we’ve just had, your workers, in particular, are a great sanity check for whether new ideas will work or not.
  • Remember the re-start is just the beginning. As well as having a plan you need to have a feedback loop to confirm the changes you make are effective and delivering the outcomes you want. What gets measured gets done, so perhaps have a think about how to measure any key changes to the way you need people to work
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