How Could Coronavirus Change Health & Safety at Work?
There is no doubt that 2020 saw a huge shift in how companies need to act to keep their workers safe from harm. While most people are waiting patiently for a return to their normal lives in 2021, it is becoming clear that this crisis could lead to long-term changes in how we manage health and safety at work. What are the main areas that have emerged in this respect?
Time to Consider New Options
In normal times, companies are mainly concerned with getting on with business as usual, without spending as much effort on considering possible changes as would perhaps be prudent. Yet, the stop-start approach and the constant challenges last year have given business leaders the chance to take a step back and look at other approaches.
In the construction industry, this has led to suggestions that could help lone workers to stay in touch more effectively, while some companies have found more effective ways to carry out tasks with fewer workers needed on-site at any given time.
The area of planning resources accurately and dealing with last-minute changes has also gained greater importance lately. The UK´s construction trade association, Build UK, has pointed out the need for an occupational health system that is fit for purpose going forward.
A Greater Emphasis on Equipment and Safety Clothing
The construction industry already places more importance on safety clothing and equipment than most other types of business. Yet, the requirements of dealing with Covid-19 has placed this issue into even sharper focus than ever before.
A big challenge has been in the incorporation of new pieces of safety equipment whilst maintaining existing items. The need for hard hats and boots in the manufacturing of CE marked fabrications and other approved fabricated products, remains as high as ever before.
In addition to this, face masks are now an essential part of working life for most people. In other industries, full sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) are needed by all employees. Combining these new requirements with the existing safety needs is one of the main areas to be looked into moving forwards.
A Greater Sense of Co-operation
One of the most interesting developments in health and safety in 2020 was the greater sense of co-operation that came out of the crisis. In the construction sector, this has been seen on numerous occasions, as companies have worked together to come up with solutions that help them all to work more safely.
Hopefully, this spirit of co-operation will continue in the future, if different companies can collaborate to look for the solutions to other health and safety issues as they arise, it should be far easier to deal with them.
All of these areas point towards the pandemic possibly having a positive effect on our approach to health and safety in the future, if businesses continue to place the same level of importance on this matter.