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Beyond the Masks: Rethinking Health and Safety in the Workplace

Your business is a valuable entity, and no doubt during the pandemic you have realized just what you need to do to protect it more. But now, as normality is returning in some places, you have got to retain a dynamic and flexible approach to work, but also health and safety in the work environment.

You should put your employees’ health and safety at the apex of the return to work process, so what do you need to address?

Focusing on Occupational Safety and Health

You need to ensure compliance with the appropriate legislation, and there’s a lot more being incorporated into businesses around the world with regards to operating effectively and safely after the pandemic. It’s not just about making sure that you have adequate adjustments to the supply chain, hygiene, equipment, and processes, but it’s about making sure that you are able to provide a clear message that you are focused on occupational health and safety. Simple implements like safety tape and signs will provide those constant reminders to comply, but you should also follow these up with policies and rules with how these legislative procedures are to be communicated. Occupational health is about how an individual’s health affects their work, and this means that if you want to be a forward-thinking organization, you’ve got to develop a healthy workplace culture.

Policy and Strategy

Every employer needs to understand the direction of their business and how the virus has impacted its stability, not least in the financial areas. The impact of the resources can affect the viability of the overall strategy. Therefore, many adjustments may be required within the organization, especially if services and products have changed. Employees should have a revised statement of intent with new targets and milestones that are clear to every employee. We must remember that the coronavirus is one extra risk in an organization’s portfolio and should be managed in the same way as any other occupational health risk. You don’t necessarily have to deal with it separately, especially if you take the perspective that COVID is another variation of the flu. However, while this may sound like it is trivializing the severity of the illness, it is important to note that it has to be a part of your strategy going forward because it’s unlikely this virus will go away and will become similar to the flu in the near future.

A New Approach to Risk Management

You have to adhere to legislative requirements so you can safeguard people in the workplace, and the nature of your organization will determine the potential for exposure to infection. This is all down to the organization’s culture of health and safety. And this stems from leadership. But you should also think about the other impacts, for example, the loss of loved ones and restrictions that have had an impact on employees’ mental health. Therefore, you may want to prepare to help staff who need additional support.

Health and safety in the workplace, going forward, is going to be a different environment, but it’s important to recognize that with any health and safety culture, you must focus on the fundamentals such as communication, leading by example, and being able to uphold new ways of working.

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