25th February 2021
Niall McEvoy is a safety professional with over 20 years experience, and is currently supporting safety efforts in the oil and gas sector. Niall is guest blogging for Carbon Safety this week!
Many BC businesses have completely re-invented the way they operate, some have scaled back, others have had to close their doors completely while others are beginning the process of starting business anew. No matter what the landscape looked like pre-COVID, it will certainly look different for all businesses going forward.
While the potential of a 3rd wave of Covid-19 looms, the world is slowly emerging from the depths of the COVID 19 pandemic with optimism that we will start to see some businesses and institutions begin to get back to operating in a more traditional capacity, it’s time to assess our readiness.
With the prospect of having workers returning to office spaces, more recreation facilities opening up more spaces and more customers coming through the doors, we need to ask ourselves, are we ready and if not, what can we do? How do we manage the change in our daily operations and work expectations, when the changes themselves may be daily or weekly? How do we adapt? There are real risks for employers and employees.
When considering how and when to restart and open the doors again there are a number of considerations and challenges that lie ahead both from a regulatory and mental health perspective.
Both the provincial government and Worksafe BC (WSBC) have restrictions on operating a business during the pandemic, and WSBC is enforcing the regulatory safety requirements, but are also aware of the psychological impact on mental health that Covid-19 has had on the workplace.
WSBC are considering how psychological safety in the workplace fits into the regulatory aspect of safety.
WorkSafe BC will be speaking at the Carbon Safety Wellness in the Workplace event April 22nd and providing some insights into psychological safety in the workplace.
Workplaces should ensure they have completed a good hazard and risk assessment specific to Covid-19 in the workplace, and have adequate and appropriate controls in place.
If your workplace hasn’t already completed the WSBC Covid-19 Safety Plan this should be reviewed, and completed as soon as possible.
As we adjust to the new normal, in many cases, there are changes we need to adapt to. Perhaps seasoned, experienced staff may have been laid off and have moved on from your organization or have been away from the workforce for a significant period.
This can create a great opportunity to re-engage former staff and acquire new talent, both of which will mean extra efforts will be required in re/training staff to business operations, Covid-19 protocols and ensuring that work can be completed safely and effectively.
Considerations for those returning to work, or adjusting to new work requirements:
We must also be mindful of staff and clients/ customers that have not been in group environments for some time and may be tentative to be in those environments. Having a robust plan in place can help ease the process of returning to work.
There are many organizations that have free resources to assist in planning a return to work with tools, templates and advise, a few are below.
Niall makes some good points that many of us are aware of. There are significant considerations for businesses from a health and safety, as well as business continuity perspective, whether it’s as employers, or employees. We all need to beware of the consequence of complacency.
We need to consider what potential risks we can identify and manage, what risks we cannot, and how we can best navigate the changes that are continually in front of us as employees, and employers in the workplace.
If you’re looking for support within your workplace in relation to Covid-19 or any aspect of workplace safety and wellness please connect with us.
Posted in: Safety Blog